Graphing Your Own Data

Date Minimum Temp (°F) Maximum Temp (°F) Rainfall Total (inches)
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7


In this activity you will collect your own Mesonet weather data for a week and create a graph showing how the minimum and maximum temperatures and daily rainfall total varied during that week. You can choose any weather station you like. Maybe you want to choose one that is close to where you live or close to your school. You can make your own table using a notepad or you can download a pre-formatted table from here and print it out. Once per day you will fill in your table for the previous day. The previous day has to be used, because you cannot know what the minimum and maximum daily temperatures are, until the day is completely over! The same applies for the daily rainfall total. So once a day you will go to our "Yesterday’s Mesonet Extremes" weather display and write yesterday’s minimum and maximum temperatures and rainfall total in your table. Make sure you write yesterday's date on your table too.

Once your table is complete, you will use our interactive graphing tool on the left to make your graph. Click in the blank date box and then select the starting date (We will fill in the other dates for you). Next, enter all of the maximum temperature, minimum temperature and rainfall values for each day. When you have finished, click in the area below your data. What do you see? Hopefully the minimum temperature is always less than the maximum temperature! Otherwise there is a mistake somewhere and you might want to try the exercise again. If you make a mistake, just correct the value in the table and then click anywhere on the chart. The chart will then be redrawn. Notice that if you hover the mouse over the dot on the graph or on a bar, you will see the value for that day. Sometimes you can relate the changes in temperature and rainfall to weather systems that came through your area that week. For example, if a front came through, you will see a drop in the temperatures and some rainfall may have fallen. A tropical storm will also bring rain, but the temperatures usually don't change much.

The maximum temperature usually occurs during the day, while the minimum temperature usually occurs at night or very early in the morning before the sun comes up. Therefore, the maximum temperature can be interpreted as the daytime temperature and the minimum temperature as the nighttime temperature. If the skies were mostly blue and clear during your week of data collection, you should see warmer temperatures during the day and colder temperatures at night, especially in the winter and during calm conditions. In other words, there will be a big difference between your minimum and maximum temperature each day. Cloudy days will bring more evenly distributed temperatures, so your minimum and maximum temperatures on a given day will not differ as much. As you know, during our hot Gulf Coast summers, we experience very warm nights, so in the summer months you will not see as a big a difference between minimum and maximum temperatures either. You can check to see how true this is by doing the exercise for a week in the winter and a week in the summer and then comparing the differences.

Click here after you have entered all of the data