Students learn to read and interpret increasing and decreasing line graphs. They apply what they learn by "creating stories" for a variety of curved shapes. This activity is motivated by a CYBERCHASE episode in which the CyberSquad figures out why Sensible Flats is running out of water, and fixes the problem.
Part I: Learning Activity
1. Distribute Handout 1: "Water Level Data" .
2. Ask the students "What is happening, over time, to the level of the water in the reservoir?"
3. Ask them if they can make a visual representation that shows the way in which the water level is changing as time passes.
4. Share their representations with the class.
5. Read the following: "When they return to Sensible Flats, the CyberSquad learn from Sheriff Judy, Judge Trudy, and Cowboy Rudy that it hasn't rained, and Sensible Flats is running out of water. Cowboy Rudy provided the data table in Handout 1."
6. Tell the students that they will watch a video clip in which the CyberSquad tries to explain what is happening to the Sensible Flats water supply.
7. Ask the students to be ready, after watching the video clip, to explain how the graph the CyberSquad makes actually "tells a story."
8. Show the Decreasing Water Levels QuickTime Video .
9. Discuss their representations and compare them to the line graph. Then ask them to answer "how the graph the CyberSquad made tells a story."
10. Read the following: "The CyberSquad and Digit realize that Hacker has been stealing water that comes from Lost Lake up on the mountain and they channel it back to Sensible Flats. But now, a huge thunderstorm presents a new problem. How does a line graph help them predict how much time they have, and what to do?"
11. Tell the students that they will watch a video clip that shows what the CyberSquad does during the thunderstorm.
12. Show the A Flooding Threat QuickTime Video .
13. Form students into groups of three.
14. Distribute Handout 2: "Curve Shape Stories" .
15. Either: 1) have each group take one curve shape, or 2) have each group do multiple curve shapes, depending on the time available.
16. Ask students to "write a story" using water level and time for each curve shape.
17. Ask students to share their stories with the class, and discuss.
Part II: Assessment
Assessment: Level A (proficiency): Students are asked to read a graph of water height vs. days, identify features of the graph, and describe several events in the history of water level displayed by the graph.
Assessment: Level B (above proficiency): Students are asked to consider two reservoirs of equal size, one filling and one emptying. Graphs of the water level are scaled differently. Students are asked to identify when the two reservoirs have the same water level.