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Learning area: Mathematics
Year level: Year 9
Country: Japan
General capability: Intercultural understanding

This learning sequence focuses on developing student familiarity with data representation and interpretation. It supports the Australian Curriculum for Mathematics: Statistics and probability.

Students are provided with opportunities to apply their knowledge and understanding of data representation to construct and interpret climate graphs for cities in the Asia region. Students are asked to identify patterns within subsets of graphs and relate the climate graphs of these cities to factors such as latitude, longitude, altitude and distance from oceans.

Tokyo graphTokyo climate graph

Related resources

Activity 1: Creating climate graphs

In this activity, you will create a climate graph for Tokyo using a spreadsheet software programme. The illustrative diagrams used in this activity are from Microsoft Excel 2010.

Creating a climate graph for Tokyo

  1. Look at the climate information for Tokyo below.
  2. Tokyo, Japan 35 41N/139 46E 5m
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Av Max Temp (C) 9.5 9.7 12.7 18.3 22.8 25.2 28.8 30.9 26.7 21.2 16.6 12.1
    Av Min Temp (C) 1.2 1.7 4.4 10.0 14.8 18.6 22.3 24.0 20.2 14.2 8.9 3.9
    Av Rainfall (mm) 45.1 60.4 99.5 125.0 138.0 185.2 126.1 147.5 179.8 164.1 89.1 45.7

  3. Enter the data into a new spreadsheet. Before creating your graph, make sure that the data you have entered is correct.
  4. Look at the menu bar of your spreadsheet software and write instructions explaining how you insert a chart. At this point you might like to experiment with different forms of charts.
  5. Experiment with your software and create a two-axis line chart using the selected data. Record the process you used to do this.
  6. You will now need to convert the line chart representing the rainfall data into a column chart, label each of the axes and create a title for your chart. Record how you completed each of these steps.
  7. Your chart may currently appear on the spreadsheet page and can be repositioned and enlarged or reduced by selecting it and 'dragging' on the tags on the corners and sides of the chart border. The chart can be copied and pasted to a Microsoft Word document using the normal Microsoft Word Copy and Paste commands.

Your chart should now look like the example on the right. The completed charts are also called climate graphs. This is the term that will be used in the following activities.

Activity 2: Graphing climate

In this activity, you will use spreadsheet software packages to develop climate graphs.

Graphing climate

  1. You will choose or be allocated a city in Asia to investigate.
  2. Look at the World Climate Index to collect data on the average maximum temperature, minimum temperature and rainfall of your city.
  3. Create a climate chart for your allocated city using a different spreadsheet software package, if possible.

Some factors affecting climate

  1. Use an internet search engine to investigate and record the altitude, latitude and longitude, and distance from the sea (to the nearest 100 km) for your city. This information will be used in Activity 4.
  2. Add this information to your graph.
  3. Print and display a copy of your climate graph in the classroom so that comparisons can be made easily.

Activity 3: Interpreting graphs

In this activity, you will compare the graphs created in Activity 2: Graphing climate, to develop a sense of pattern. Keep a record of your observations for whole-class discussion.

Task 1: Compare and contrast

  1. In groups of four, compare and contrast the graphs of each of the cities from the Asian region.
  2. Discuss the following questions:
    • Which cities have an even distribution of rainfall throughout the year?
    • Which cities have pronounced wet and dry seasons?
    • Which cities have very little temperature variation?
    • Which cities have a large temperature variation?

Task 2: Identifying patterns in the graph

Refer to the graphs displayed in the classroom to complete the following tasks.

  1. Some cities have four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Identify these cities and answer the following questions for each one:

    • Which are the hot months?
    • Which are the wet months?
    • Which are the dry months?
    • Which are the cool months?
  2. Some cities have just two distinct seasons: wet and dry. Identify these cities and answer the following questions for each one:
    • Which are the hot months?
    • Which are the wet months?
    • Which are the dry months?
    • Which are the cool months?


Image: Cozumel Tropical Storm by Serge Melki (CC BY 2.0)

Activity 4: Making groups

In this activity, you will use your prior learning about climate graphs to create a series of graphs of cities showing similar climatic characteristics and analyse the impact of geographical location and features on climate.

Task 1: Making groups

Referring to the class climate graphs of cities in Asia, complete the following activities.

  1. Create between 6–8 groups of cities showing similar climatic characteristics. For example your grouping may be based on temperature, rainfall, seasons, altitude or distance from the sea.
  2. You may place a particular city in more than one group.
  3. Give a summary statement explaining the factors or elements of the graphs that are the basis of your grouping.

Task 2: Factors affecting climate

  1. Compare the climate graph of your city in Asia with the information supplied about Tokyo in Activity 1.
  2. Identify any similarities and/or differences between the two cities. Write one or two paragraphs to explain how factors such as altitude, latitude and longitude, and distance from the sea affect climate.

This learning sequence is designed to assist students to see the benefits of visual representations of data and to recognise that patterns in data are more easily discernible in graphs than in tables. Students use secondary sources of data to construct graphs using both manual and computer-based methods. Instructions are included to help students use spreadsheet software.

For most students the opportunity to construct graphs using a spreadsheet software package will be a skills application activity. All mathematics students at this level should be given opportunities to reinforce information and communication technology skills to investigate, create and communicate ideas focusing on key mathematical concepts.

These activities focus on climate data; specifically temperature and rainfall tables for a range of cities found in the Asia region. The data has been accessed from the World Climate Index.

Most mathematics students at this year level will have developed competence in using spreadsheet software packages such as Microsoft Excel. However, some students may need teacher scaffolding during these activities.

The activities provide opportunities to interpret data and to recognise patterns. They can also be used to explore Geography concepts relating to climate.

Teachers should note that the terms altitude and elevation are both used in the information provided for these activities. When talking about factors influencing climate, the term used by geographers is altitude, and when providing data about a place, elevation or height above sea level are the more appropriate terms.

Teachers should display examples of climate graphs in the classroom.

Activity 1: Creating climate graphs

Students will practise using a spreadsheet software package to create a climate graph for Tokyo.

Activity 2: Graphing climate

Students will develop their confidence in using other spreadsheet software packages by creating a climate graph for a chosen city in Asia. Students will access data from the World Climate Index. Ensure that cities apart from Tokyo are used.

Activity 3: Interpreting graphs

By comparing the graphs created in Activity 2, students will develop a sense of pattern. Students should keep a record of their observations for whole-class discussion.

Activity 4: Making groups

These activities demand a more sophisticated level of student thinking and could require greater scaffolding from the teacher.

This activity will place greater demands on students' prior knowledge and understanding of rainfall and temperature as well as their ability to identify similarities, differences and patterns. This provides an opportunity for students to use their prior learning about climate from the Geography learning area in new applications. They will use the graphs created in Activity 2.

Useful websites

  • World Climate Index – climate data for 149 countries, arranged alphabetically by continent
  • Climate – Wikipedia page with general information about climate and weather.

It is recommended that teachers preview websites to ensure they are suitable for their students prior to use in class. Content accessed via these links is not owned or controlled by Asia Education Foundation and is subject to the terms of use of the associated website.

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