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How have temperatures changed around the world? Recent years have been the hottest on record. While some see this as evidence of a dangerous trend that merits drastic action, others find little alarming about such fluctuations.

In this lesson, students use periodic functions to compare long-term average monthly temperatures to recorded monthly temperatures, evaluate evidence of climate change, and discuss possible consequences.

Students will

  • Model a periodic phenomena (monthly temperatures) with a trigonometric function.

Before you begin

Students will tinker wtih equation values to match the amplitutde, frequency, and midline of periodic data. It will be helpful if students are familiar with the general structure of a sinusoidal function.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices

Additional Materials

  • Transparency sheets or tracing paper.


Climate scientists