Teaching Module: T-tests and Climate Data

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A teaching module by Wendy Van Norden, University of Wisconsin, that makes the use of T-tests to analyse dataset to study seasonal ice cover over Lake Mendota, US, to understand how climate change has impacted ice cover over 160 years.

This teaching module will have the following outcomes:

  1. Students will learn the use of Excel through a guided-inquiry process of the statistical tool (T-test) for comparing change in seasonal ice cover data over time. 
  2. Students will be introduced to statistical terms such as probability, variance, uncertainty, standard deviation, mean and T-test. 
  3. Students will understand the difference between annual variability versus long-term trends.

Additionally, students will ​​learn to use and investigate the IPCC Likelihood Scale and apply it to their statistical results.

Use this tool to help students find answers to:

  1. What is a T-test?
  2. Using T-test for the given data, calculate the probability of ‘ice off’ date being earlier than in the previous decades.

About the Tool

Tool NameProbabilities, Uncertainties and Units Used to Quantify Climate Change
DisciplineMathematics and Statistics
Topic(s) in DisciplineProbability, Variance, Uncertainty, Standard Deviation, Mean, T-test, P-value
Climate TopicClimate Variability Record; Climate and the Hydrosphere
Type of toolTeaching Module
Grade LevelHighschool
Developed byWendy Van Norden
Hosted atCLEAN Website
AccessOnline/ Offline
Computer SkillsBasic