Photo of a person next to their car and taking a photo of a large tornado. Text, "Statistics" (All Images)


CCSS: 6.SP.B.5, 7.SP.A.2, MP1, MP3, MP5

TEKS: 6.12C, 6.12D, 7.6G, 7.12B

Record-Setting Weather

The summer of 2020 was a hot one for Death Valley, California. So hot, in fact, one weather station registered a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s only 4 degrees less than the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth!

But was the reading accurate—or just a glitch? It’s Randy Cerveny’s job to find out. Cerveny is a geographer at Arizona State University. He also heads a project for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to verify weather records around the world. When extreme conditions occur, like very high temperatures or powerful hurricanes, it’s up to him to investigate.

First, Cerveny asks local weather scientists to collect detailed information about the event, which includes pictures and past weather records from the area. Then he assembles a team of international experts in that type of weather. The team studies the weather “clues” to determine whether the record is valid. These investigations can take more than six months to complete.

For the Death Valley case, a team tested the machine that recorded the record high in a lab to make sure it was working properly. It was! To Cerveny, climate change makes his work even more important. “In order to understand how our world is changing,” he says, “we need to be able to monitor it precisely.”

Answer the following questions using the information in the article and the infographics and graphs above. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

In which season do the most tornadoes occur in the U.S.?

A. winter

B. spring

C. summer

D. fall

Of the billion-dollar disasters between 1980 and 2021, about how much did drought cost in total?

A. $100 billion

B. $150 billion

C. $275 billion

D. $310 billion

On which continent was the highest recorded temperature 128 degrees Fahrenheit?

A. Antarctica

B. Asia

C. Australia

D. Europe

About how many tornadoes hit  the U.S. on average in the summer?

A. 188

B. 327

C. 439

D. 464

About how many times more did billion-dollar severe storms cost than billion-dollar wildfires from 1980 to 2021?

A. 3

B. 7

C. 8

D. 10

Which continent had the highest ever recorded temperature?

A. North America

B. South America

C. Australia

D. Africa

Of the billion-dollar disasters since 1980, tropical cyclones averaged $20.5 billion per storm. About how many billion-dollar tropical cyclones were there?

What is the range of hottest temperatures recorded?

What other type of graph could you use to display the data in “U.S. Tornadoes by Season”? Make your graph on a separate sheet of paper.

Poll your class on which place with the hottest temperature they would visit. Submit your votes at to compare with students nationwide!

What does your class think?

Which place with the hottest recorded temperature would you like to visit?

Please enter a valid number of votes for one class to proceed.

Which place with the hottest recorded temperature would you like to visit?

Please select an answer to vote.

Which place with the hottest recorded temperature would you like to visit?

Total Votes: 0
Thank you for voting!
Sorry, an error occurred and your vote could not be processed. Please try again later.
Skills Sheets (2)
Skills Sheets (2)
Article (1)