Measuring Temperature

We have been talking a lot about how we measure – length, distance, weight, and much more. Two days ago, we we learning about how we measure temperature. We knew that we could use thermometers to see what how cold or how hot it is. Some of us knew that you can measure temperature in Fahrenheit. WG knew that most other countries (outside the US) use Celsius to measure temperature.

We have learned about the Earth’s orbit around the sun, and we also know that the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. It’s almost winter for people in the northern hemisphere, but almost summer for the people in the southern hemisphere. We wondered what the temperatures were and decided to ask people through Twitter to complete a survey for us.

After two days, we received over 275 responses! We know that means we have a LOT of information to look through. In the meantime, we wanted to share a map of the 202 unique locations from responses. We were VERY excited to see all the different places on the map, especially from other continents!

In the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at this information to see if we can discover some patterns, and we’ll be making some graphs to help us understand the information better. After looking at the temperature data, we definitely noticed that it was a pretty warm day for most people in the United States. That was a surprise for us.

Stay tuned for more information, and we hope you enjoy our map!

 

View December 2015 Temperature Survey in a full screen map

 

 

Thank you to all the wonderful people who helped us!

A Temperature Survey

On Monday morning, January 6, we started talking about how we see patterns everywhere: weather, space, behavior, art, nature. Because we knew that most of the US was experiencing really cold weather, we started talking about different patterns in weather. We created a survey about temperatures. The questions were:

  • Where do you live?
  • What time is it?
  • What is the temperature right now?
  • What is your Twitter name (if you have one)?

Mrs. Baldwin shared the survey with her Twitter network and on Facebook. We waited until the next morning to look at the responses.

When we checked the survey on the morning of January 7, we found 171 responses! We were so excited!

This is what we found from the data:

  • 118 responses were below freezing.
  • 53 responses were above freezing.
  • We had responses from 34 different states and 6 different countries.
  • Time of day – 48 morning responses, 85 afternoon responses, 38 nighttime responses
  • The highest reported temperature was 82 degrees Fahrenheit; the lowest was -32 degrees Fahrenheit. (We didn’t include wind chill temps.)
  • The state with the highest number of responses was Missouri. The country with the highest number of responses (not including the U.S.) was Canada.

(all of this is represented in our graphs- see photos below)

 

This was a difficult learning experience. Mrs. Baldwin did not tell us exactly what she wanted us to do! When we first started looking at the data, we noticed that there were a lot of varying temperatures from a lot of different places across the U.S., and even a few from outside the U.S.! We decided that we should break into groups to look at different parts of the data: geographic locations, “freezing or below” and “above freezing,” and time of day that the temperatures were recorded. Mrs. Baldwin STILL didn’t tell us what we should do, except “look for patterns. What do you notice?”

In our groups, we were supposed to look at the information and decide what we should do with it. Some of us thought to make tally charts for our specific set of information. Some of us struggled, not really sure about what we should do. Some of us were really frustrated.

After a little while, Mrs. Baldwin asked those who were struggling and frustrated some questions that helped us decide how to look at the data. There were 171 responses, and that seemed overwhelming! After a few questions and some suggestions, we were able to figure out what to do.

We all made tally charts to group and categorize the information, and then we made graphs to show our information in a different way.

Things we didn’t realize we’d need to learn to analyze all the data:

  1. Some temperatures were recorded in Fahrenheit and some Celsius. We had to convert some of the responses in order to compare them accurately. Since we measure in Fahrenheit, it seemed like we should convert all to Fahrenheit so we would be able to compare the temperatures to what we know.
  2. When we were looking the times that responses were recorded, we noticed that the “timestamp” was from the Mountain Time Zone, but the response time was different. If respondents were from a different time zone and/or country, we had to learn what that time zone was.
  3. If we didn’t know where a location response was, we needed to look it up to decide if it was in a different state or country.

On Friday, January 10, each group shared the graph they made and explained their part of the data. When we heard from all the groups, we wrote some “learning statements” as a class:

  • The most responses were from the U.S. This is due to the facts that Mrs. Baldwin shared the survey with her learning network (on Twitter and Facebook), and most of her followers are from the U.S. Also, the survey was sent mid-morning from the Mountain Time Zone. Most of the people who were “awake” at that time were in North America.
  • The second highest response group was from Canada. This is due to the facts that the second largest group of followers in Mrs. Baldwin’s network are Canadian, and Canada is also in North America (same time zones as U.S.).
  • 118 of the 171 responses were below freezing. We know that the majority of those who responded live in the northern hemisphere and are currently experiencing winter. Also, our survey date (January 6/7) included one of the coldest days for the midwest and northeast states in the U.S.
  • Of the 53 responses that were above freezing, some were from the southern hemisphere or southern or Pacific states in the U.S.
  • More responses were submitted during the morning and afternoon times than night times. Again, this is due to the time the survey was posted and time zones.
  • Most of the freezing or below temps were recorded during the morning, early afternoon, or later night times. We know that it’s usually colder in the morning than late afternoon for most locations.

 

We also thought about all the different “areas” of learning we used for this activity: geography, math, science, social studies, critical thinking, communicating.

Overall, while we initially felt this was a really difficult activity, we learned a LOT, and we were surprised at how well we were able to communicate such a large amount of information!

 

Want to see a map of all the response locations? Look here! 

 

Our Photo Gallery from this activity: