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About our world: Climate extremes

About our world: Climate extremes

Students investigate maximum and minimum temperatures, and maximum daily rainfall within Australia, using statistics from the Bureau of Meteorology. They observe the effect of latitude.

The Bureau of Meteorology website has data on climate extremes.

Begin with a classroom discussion about weather extremes. What is the hottest place on earth? How hot can it get? What is the coldest place on earth? How cold can it get? What is the wettest place on earth? How wet can it get?

Ask students to estimate maximum and minimum temperatures and maximum daily rainfall in the local area.

Students use the data provided on the Climate extremes: Student worksheet to explore and answer some questions. Working in pairs or small groups would assist in discussion.

Ugh! It is really hot this afternoon!

For comparison, you will want to know both the temperature in your classroom when you are teaching this, and the hottest temperature for your own area. You will also need to explain latitude and how it is measured. A negative latitude means south of the equator.

Brr! It was really cold this morning!

You will want to know the coldest temperature for your own area.

That was a cloudburst! There is so much rain!

To put the data into a realistic context, you could ask: Imagine if you had 907 mm of rain on your roof area. How much water could you collect in a tank?


The class may wish to look at the most recent data for comparison to the extremes. The climate data for 2012 is available for all capital cities and for states and territories.

You can download the Climate extremes: Teacher notes.

Australian Curriculum links

Year 5

Describe and interpret different data sets in context (ACMSP120)

Year 6

Interpret secondary data presented in digital media and elsewhere (ACMSP148)