Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will consolidate learning from the previous two ClimateWatch lessons by taking on the role of a data analyst and communicator. Students consider phenological data samples of the Australian magpie and temperature data to make inferences and predictions. After summarising the data and drawing conclusions, students will work in groups to create a digital report of their findings for an audience of their peers. 

This lesson is the third in a series of three lessons that will enable students to analyse, visualise and effectively communicate data. The entire unit of work can be downloaded from the following link, Citizen Science – Mathematics – Years 7 & 8.


The lessons in this unit have been developed in partnership with Earthwatch. Earthwatch developed the ClimateWatch program with the Bureau of Meteorology and The University of Melbourne to understand how changes in temperature and rainfall are affecting the seasonal behaviour of Australia’s plants and animals. 

Learning intentions:

  • Students are able to analyse raw data to make it more understandable
  • Students are able to make predictions based on their analysed data
  • Students are able to offer suggestions based on their predictions
  • Students are able to explain what their data shows in their own words

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 Mathematics:

  • Identify and investigate issues involving numerical data collected from primary and secondary sources (ACMSP169)
  • Construct and compare a range of data displays including stem-and-leaf plots and dot plots (ACMSP170)

Year 8 Mathematics:

  • Investigate techniques for collecting data, including census, sampling and observation (ACMSP284)
  • Explore the practicalities and implications of obtaining data through sampling using a variety of investigative processes (ACMSP206)

Syllabus outcomes: MA4-1WM, MA4-3WM, MA4-19SP.

General capabilities: Literacy, Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking 

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards: Students construct stem-and-leaf plots and dot-plots.

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards: Students choose appropriate language to describe events and experiments. They explain issues related to the collection of data and the effect of outliers on means and medians in that data.

Topics: Biodiversity, climate change, sustainability

Unit of work: ClimateWatch: Citizen Science – Mathematics – Years 7 & 8

Time required: 120 min.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – teachers will facilitate class discussions, independent research and digital media creation

Resources required: Device capable of presenting a clip to the class. Enough computers or laptops with Excel installed to enable student to work in pairs or small groups. Magpie Data Set and Temperature Phenology Graphs loaded onto students’ computers or laptops. Student Worksheets – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Access to various technology for creation of digital resources (to be negotiated with students based on what is available in your school).

Keywords: Earthwatch, ClimateWatch, Data, citizen science, climate change, phenology, biodiversity, communications.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students are able to analyse raw data to make it more understandable
  • Students are able to make predictions based on their analysed data
  • Students are able to offer suggestions based on their predictions
  • Students are able to communicate their findings

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • ... use summary statistics to turn data into meaningful evidence
  • ... recognise that samples chosen may result in differences between their respective summary statistics
  • ... choose which statistical measures can be applied to the Australian magpie dataset
  • ... make predictions based on conclusions relating to phenology data


Teacher content information: If we want to better understand the world around us, we need data – lots of it. Many industries are using data collection, analysis and communication to measure and predict a range of outcomes. From analysis of weather data used by airports to create flight paths, to banks, hospitals and min

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” – Daniel Keys Moran, American computer programmer and science fiction writer

The following brief will help you make sense of why, what and how to make your digital presentation:

Phenological data needs to be collected over long periods of time before scientists can prove trends. For phenological research linked to climate change, a data set of at least 20 years is preferable. So that this data continues to be collected, a big part of ClimateWatch's work is creating the next generation of citizen scientists. Your challenge is to use mathematical data to help in this process and convince other young people to engage in citizen science. 

ClimateWatch have given you their magpie data and the Bureau of  Meteorology's temperature data as a case study. Use this data to create a digital presentation that will inform and engage other people your age in citizen science.Your task is to make

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