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This is a computer-based activity in which students retrieve data from websites maintained by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Weather Service (NWS), and then use that data to test different hypotheses regarding streamflow and precipitation. Students import data from web sites into a spreadsheet program where they can construct scatter plots and perform simple statistical tests. The activity has two components, the first focusing on relations between streamflow and drainage basin characteristics (drainage area, slope, precipitation), the second focusing on trends in annual precipitation at two locations in the USA: Burlington, VT, and Boulder, CO. As part of the second component, students conduct a statistical test to determine if the long-term trends in precipitation are significant.
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