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Photo by Roman Synkevych via Unsplash




9th, 10th, 11th, 12th




70 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Precipitation Data: What Does It Show?

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 24, 2024
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In this lesson, students use New Jersey precipitation data to create graphs and discuss climate change.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss initial observations about a New Jersey precipitation data chart showing monthly and annual averages.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students explain the relationship of precipitation over time by graphing, finding the line of best fit, and finding the equation of the line.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students choose an independent activity, complete a short reading, and then apply their learning to a discussion about the relationship between precipitation and climate change.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson can be used independently to practice application of math and reasoning skills or as ang point for longer research into data displays.

  • Students can use graph paper or any digital platform schools and teachers are already familiar with.

  • Students are given voice and choice in this lesson.

  • Students learn to apply math skills to current situations to explore and explain relationships in nature.

  • Students defend their chosen quantities and levels of accuracy in displaying data.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some basic understanding of graphing, plotting points, and the relationship between x & y-axes.

  • Students should have a basic idea of an equation of a line, line of best fit, and slope.

  • Students should have a basic understanding of other types and purposes of graphs and charts.


  • Teachers can adjust the degree of difficulty based on the math level of each class.

  • If using a digital graphing platform, teachers and students can manipulate data to explore related questions.

  • Teachers can explore deeper the purpose of different kinds of graphs in highlighting different parts of the same data set.

  • Teachers can bring in a variety of graphs from scientific journals or magazines, such as National Geographic, as instructional tools.

  • Teachers can extend this project to have students or classes graph the relationship between precipitation and time for all 50 states. Students can then display their graphs and conclusions. Teachers can moderate discussions comparing and contrasting various states and regions or make a conclusion as a whole.

  • Using the same website resources, students can explore the average maximum and minimum temperature table. They can explore the relationship between temperature and precipitation using various graphs. Teachers can then use this to discuss causation and/or correlation.

  • Teachers can use the lesson to introduce causation and correlation, asking students if there is a correlation between precipitation and climate change.

Scientist Notes

This lesson has students working on their data analysis skills through the use of graphs which help students to interpret New Jersey’s precipitation data and how it relates to climate change. A class discussion encourages students to think critically about the raw data. Students then work independently to graph the precipitation over time, finding a line of best fit and the equation for the line. This is followed by a discussion of the relationship between time and precipitation. Data forecasting is touched upon when students are asked to think about what data they would need next and what is predictable about the data. Students then choose one of two choices that allow them to compare and contrast visually represented data. This is a well-rounded lesson that relays the information of climate change through graphing and data analysis and is recommended for teaching.


Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to New Jersey standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on the New Jersey Climate Education Hub.
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