administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Middle Investigation Test - Earth System 1
Task with Student Directions

Earth Systems Investigation Tests


The growing season for a native crop is the amount of time necessary at suitable air temperature and soil moisture levels for growing to occur. In an effort to increase the food supply in overpopulated areas, a group of scientists have proposed trying to plant a crop in several places in the world that have similar environmental and climactic conditions as the area where the crops are native. As a preliminary study, the scientists have been looking for areas that have similar air temperature and soil moisture conditions. Using the graphs and data above and assuming all other conditions are equal,

a) answer all of the following questions

b) write a short report (about 1 page) that discusses the possibility of planting the new crop in any of the regions - Heath, Barron, or Kinninmont. Make sure you support your conclusions.

1) (Plan Investigations: Pose relevant questions) Look at the graph for the native site above. Think of two questions you might ask regarding the data that are related to finding other sites that have similar conditions. A sample question might be "At what point during the year does it look like spring is beginning?" Make sure you also say why you think the answer to your two questions might be helpful to you.




2) (Interpret GLOBE Data: Infer patterns, trends) One of the students in your investigation group, Samantha, suggested that finding trends in graphs is sometimes helpful for analysis. Looking at the bar graph for the native site, what happens to the air temperature between January and December?




What happens to the soil moisture between January and December?



3) (Interpret GLOBE Data: Explain data & relationships) Looking again at the bar graph for the native site, mark where you think each of the four seasons begins and ends. For example, mark "S" for the beginning of spring, "Su" for the beginning of summer, "F" for the beginning of fall, and "W" for the beginning of winter. Make sure you label each of your marks. What information helped you decide where to put the marks for each season?




4) (Take GLOBE Measurements: Detect errors; Use quality assurance procedures) The air temperature and soil moisture data shown in each of the graphs are monthly averages. To find the monthly averages, data was collected by students taking measurements on each day of the month and then calculated then calculated at the end of each month. Since it is always important to show accurate data in your graphs, what are two possible sources of error you can think of in the above method?




How would you make sure that these errors did not occur if you were taking the measurements and calculating the averages?




5) (Interpret GLOBE Data: Explain data & relationships) Another student in your investigation group, James, mentioned that finding relationships between different variables can be a very useful part of analysis. Looking at all four of the graphs on the first page, what can you say about the temperature at the beginning of the growing season for each of the regions? In other words, when the growing season is just beginning in each region, what is happening to the temperature?



6) (Interpret GLOBE Data: Infer patterns, trends; Explain data & relationships) Looking at the graphs for each region, fill in the chart below that compares each region's beginning and ending temperature and soil measurements to that of the native site. Use "+" if the measurement is more than the native site, "-" if the measurement is less than the native site, and "." if the measurement is similar to the native site.

7) (Analyze & Compare GLOBE Data: Identify similarities and differences) Using the table you just created, which of the three possible sites (Heath, Barron, and Kinninmont) looks like it has a growing season most similar to the native site? Why did you choose the site that you did?




8) (Plan Investigations: Specify measurements to investigate) Looking again at how you determined which site was most similar to the native site, list an additional type of data from the GLOBE archives that would be helpful in determining the beginning and ending of each season:



9) (Communicate: Compose reports to explain or persuade) Using the data analysis you have done, write a short report (about 1 page) that summarizes your findings and explains the pros and cons of each site (Heath, Barron, and Kinninmont) based on its similarity to the growing season of the native site. Make sure you discuss additional information that you would need to make a more accurate judgement on each of the sites. Also, be sure to support your conclusions with the data in the graphs and the analyses you have done while answering the questions.





©1997-2005 SRI International. All rights reserved. Terms of Use