Last weekend we did a project inspired by this incredible data visualization project from John Shonder:

In an effort to visualize climate change in the US, John Shonder utilized the #Wolfram Language to analyze #NOAA data of monthly average temperatures for every county in the 48 contiguous states from 1895 to the present. Read more about his procedure here: https://t.co/K2ANY5mnDhpic.twitter.com/UFJMMPODTz

At the end of last week’s project I asked the boys to think of some follow up projects. My younger son thought it would be interesting to see the percent change in temperature rather than the absolute difference. We did that project today.

The boys have been hiking in the White Mountains for about a week and just got home last night. So, to start today’s project we took a quick look at last week’s project and talked about what changes we’d need to make to implement my younger son’s idea:

Off camera the boys looked up how to convert Fahrenheit to Kelvin so that we could talk about percent change. We started the second part of today’s project by looking at the code where Shonder takes the difference between 10 year averages and changing that code to compute the percent increase.

It is great that Shonder’s code is so accessible that we can make this simple change and spend time talking about math that is easily accessible to a 7th grader.

To finish, we took a careful look at the new visualization. For clarity, below the video are the pictures from last week and this week. I should have prepared both of these for the boys to see in the video, but even though I didn’t, their thoughts on the change are really interesting:

Here’s last week’s visual:

And here’s this week’s – you have to look pretty carefully to see the differences, but I still think today’s project was worthwhile:

2 thoughts on “Follow up #1 to John Shonder’s US temperature change visualization”

Hi,
I also modified Shonder’s code and couldn’t miss your use of First[ma]. Shonder had ma[[-100]] for a 100 year gap. His data included years 1909-1918 for the 10 year ma. The data starts in 1895. What was the First year and span for your chart?

I made the gap 80 years for an interesting comparison and made the color chart blue for lower temperatures. He had shades of red for all temperatures which I found misleading.

Hi,

I also modified Shonder’s code and couldn’t miss your use of First[ma]. Shonder had ma[[-100]] for a 100 year gap. His data included years 1909-1918 for the 10 year ma. The data starts in 1895. What was the First year and span for your chart?

I made the gap 80 years for an interesting comparison and made the color chart blue for lower temperatures. He had shades of red for all temperatures which I found misleading.

I’m on my cell so I’ll keep it short – I couldn’t get the -100 to work, but instead hard coded 100 years of data and used first and last