Modelling climate changes


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  • number
  • algebra
  • measurement
  • geometry
  • statistics


  • understanding
  • problem solving
  • reasoning

Our weather, including extreme weather events such as floods and heatwaves, has a big economic, environmental and social impact on Australia. The scientists at the Climate Science Centre create model simulations of the various climate elements and how they interact with each other, in order to make predictions of future climate.

Teacher notes

The teacher notes contain: an overview of each of the activities; curriculum links and suggested year levels; background information; prompting questions and key mathematical points; practical suggestions for running the activity; a list of resources needed; and further ideas.


Activity 1: How do you measure rain?

Years 6 to 9

Students estimate a square metre then find some objects that have a volume of approximately one cubic metre to assist them in discovering how a millimetre of rain is measured. Students draw shapes and find real objects to help them better understand the relationship between area and volume, related to squares and cubes. They change metric units.

There is an opportunity to make a rain gauge to further their understanding of a millimetre of rain.


Activity 2: Two hundred kilometres away

Years 7 to 9

Students make predictions and use calculations to understand the rainfall patterns in their local area compared to places 200 kilometres away. The differences help students appreciate the difficulties of making measurements over the whole surface of the earth, and how averaging can affect those measurements.

They explore modelling techniques by dividing Australia into 200 km squares using a variety of methods to examine the variability in the climate.


Activity 3: What might happen if…?

Years 6, 7 and 9Students research the kind of agricultural activities that exist in their area (food crops, livestock etc) and the type of climate necessary to support that activity. They build a picture of the climate of their local area using information from reliable sources such as the Bureau of Meteorology, with an option for investigating Indigenous seasons.

Students investigate the effects of relatively small changes in temperature and rainfall upon their local climate, and therefore agriculture. They have the option of investigating the effects of larger changes.


All modelling climate changes files (combined zip excluding movie)

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