Instructional Strategy: Identify-Interpret Patterns

Identify-Interpret Patterns (I2) data stories provide students with visualizations that contain a variety of patterns. Students are prompted to describe one pattern they notice, and then interpret what it may mean in the context of the story.

Goal: Students identify and focus on one pattern at a time, first by describing the pattern, and then by reasoning about what it could mean in the context of a question or situation. 


Example 1: Tuva Data Story What do Ice Cores Say?

An introduction explains that the graph shows changes in atmospheric CO2 and relative temperature over time, as gleaned from an ice core.



  • Looking at the blue line, here is how I would describe the relative temperature changes over the past 160 thousand years: _____.
  • An interesting pattern I notice is _______.
  • The pattern suggests that ____________.


Example 2: Tuva Data Story Will Plants Grow More as CO2 Increases?

Background information explains an experiment that measured CO2 uptake in plants from warm and cold ecosystems. Students interpret patterns in the graph prompted by questions.


  • Describe a pattern that you see in this graph.
  • I interpret the pattern to mean ____.
  • One implication of this graph for today’s ecosystems is ____.


Implementation ideas: Students can use the annotations tool to highlight the pattern they are interpreting with arrows, rectangles, or text labels. They can save their graph to share, or as a basis for developing and supporting a claim. 

Related resources

BSCS e-Learn, 2012. I Can Use the Identify/Interpret (I2) Strategy.

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