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  • Science knowledge is often communicated through visual representations – graphs, diagrams and infographics. Each type of visual representation has literacy components that students may need support to understand.

    Rights: Crown copyright 2020

    Temperature anomalies

    A temperature anomaly is the difference from a baseline temperature established over the 1961–1990 reference period. The baseline temperature for each location is provided and is marked by a grey line. Blue indicates temperatures that are colder than average, while red indicates temperatures that are warmer than average. The 1961–1990 reference period is highlighted by grey shading.

    Download as a PDF.

    Infographic by Ministry for the Environment, Stats NZ and data providers and released under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

    The science capability ‘Interpret representations’ encourages students to think about how data is presented, what the representation tells us and how it gets the message across.

    Infographics provide an effective format to show a variety of things in a single figure. The article Understanding infographics provides background information on how they are constructed and why they are useful communication tools.

    In this activity, students observe and interpret infographics from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ’s Our atmosphere and climate 2020 report. The activity includes probing questions to help students understand the ways in which infographics present information. It also includes a simple framework for creating an infographic.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • develop literacy skills for interpreting the information in an infographic
    • discuss the purpose of an infographic
    • discuss how an infographic gets the message across
    • use this information to design and create a simple infographic.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    The article Our atmosphere and climate – introduction has links to resources that inform students (and the general public) about the state of New Zealand’s climate.

    Climate change resources – planning pathways provides pedagogical advice and links to the New Zealand Curriculum. It includes an interactive planner that groups Hub resources into key science and teaching concepts.

    The Department of Conservation and the Science Learning Hub have collaborated to create a series of interactives that feature many of DOC’s marine infographics.

    Related activities

    These activities also support students to create and interpret visual representations using climate change data.

    Te Kāhui o Matariki – interpreting infographics provides additional opportunities to explore the literacy components of infographics.

    Viruses and immunity – interpreting infographics uses colourful infographics to learn about viruses, the immune system and staying safe.

    Creating kōwhai infographics explains how to use infographics as a means of summarising students’ research findings.

    Useful link

    The Science Learning Hub has curated a number of infographics in our Science infographics Pinterest board.


    This resource has been produced with the support of the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ. (c) Crown Copyright.

    Rights: Crown copyright

    Our atmosphere and climate 2020

    The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ produce New Zealand’s Environmental Reporting Series. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 focuses on climate change, with an overview of what is happening to our climate and how this affects many of the things we care about.

      Published 15 October 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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