GLOBE Earth as a System- Exploring Single Images

Students will observe satellite images individually, looking for available information (data displayed, unit of measure, range of values, etc.) then for any patterns noticeable within the image.


  • Students will learn to identify and interpret information presented on a map
  • Students will learn about different variables that affect the Earth
  • Students will identify data and statistical information provided


NOTE: The small poster is a color version (340 KB) of the GLOBE Earth System Poster which can be printed on an office copier (using ~11x17" paper). The large poster is a full-size color version (51.9 MB) of the GLOBE Earth System Poster which can be downloaded for printing. The lowres version of the poster is the same size as the large one, but at a lower resolution and smaller file size (2.4 MB).


  1. Arrange students into six groups (preferably no more than six students per group).
  2. Provide each student with one global image corresponding to the variable labels
  3. Ask students to study and interpret their images for available information.
  4. Have groups designate a spokesperson, to report observations from the members of the group.
  5. Ask the six groups, one at a time, to share with the entire class the information provided on their images.

Framework & Standards

Enduring Understandings

NGSS: Student Performance Expectation (SPE): 

  • 2-ESS-3: Earth’s Systems, 5-ESS2 Earth’s Systems
  • MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Processes
  • MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
  • HS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • HS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • HS-ESS2 Earth’s Systems
  • HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

Essential Questions

  • Use the following guiding questions:
  • What variable did you examine and what is the range of values shown on the scale bars?
  • Where in the world do you find the highest and lowest values (the extremes) of the data in your images?
  • Why do these locations experience the extremes and not other locations?
  • Are any patterns in the data noticeable? Are patterns different on different continents? Different over water than over land? Explain these patterns.



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