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What's the Weather Like?

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Why do this problem?

This task involves data from Shawbury, Eastbourne and Nairn weather stations, intended to be used for statistical projects that require the use of spreadsheets. The data sets are ideally suited to testing hypotheses that make comparisons over time or between different places.

It might be a good task to undertake collaboratively with Geography, Science or ICT.

Possible approach

This problem is based on some resources created by Don Steward.

Students will need access to the weather data spreadsheet, containing weather data taken from the Met Office website.

Don's PowerPoint presentation shows the Handling Data cycle and suggests some possible lines of inquiry together with prompts for each stage of the cycle, so could be used to introduce this activity.

Students will need some basic familiarity with working in Excel or an equivalent spreadsheet program. Don has produced some help sheets that you may wish to make available to your students:
Bar Chart Help
Averages Help
Averages, Quartiles and Spread Help
Scatter Diagrams and Correlation Help


Possible support

Here is some data on average temperature for various cities. This could be used to practice drawing and then comparing bar charts. It is interesting to see how much warmer the UK is than other places of similar longitude - this is where collaboration with Geography and Science departments might be fruitful.

Here are some extra slides including some graphs and examples of analysis.

Possible extension

Students should aim to use the most sophisticated data handling techniques that they can. The worksheet above on Averages, Quartiles and Spread includes some brief discussion of the standard deviation, which students could research further. By using insights from the Geography and Science lessons, students could suggest reasons for some of their findings.


Many more of Don Steward's MEDIAN resources are available here