COOL Classroom 2.1

Discover Color Scale ~ Check It EVERY Time

Do you like ice cream?

Have you ever noticed that the amount of ice cream you get on your cone varies depending on where you buy the ice cream? For example, a small at one store looks like this:

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but a small at another store looks like the one on the right.

Does it look like they have the same amount of ice cream? No. But they are both called the small ice cream size. Why is that? Well, each business decides the amount of ice cream to include in a small, so the amount varies depending on where you are.
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Similarly, when scientists create maps of data the scale (or amount of data in each category) varies depending on the question of the experiment and the range of the data. What does this mean for us as readers of these maps? We have to ALWAYS look at the scale bar to see what the colors actually mean in each map. For example, see if you can find the differences in the two maps below:


January 30, 2012


July 31, 2012

What did you find?

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The yellow color represents 62°F (17°C) in the map on the left (winter) but represents 75°F (24° C) in the map on the right (summer). If we had not looked at the scale we would have the wrong idea about the temperature of the water in summer. Kind of like, if you do not look at the small size sample, you may be disappointed when you get your ice cream cone. So whenever you look at a map, check the scale EVERY time!