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Maple Syrup Sap Flow

EarthLabs, TERC

This interactive shows the impact of a changing climate on maple syrup sap production. Students can explore the changes in production under two different emissions scenarios.

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Climate models are robust enough to be used for guiding decision and actions as response to climate change
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Interactive could be used as a motivating context for introducing a unit on emissions and climate change.
  • Students can collect data through interactive and create a data table that displays comparisons among all locations.
  • Have students find the temperature differences at each site given both low and high emission scenarios.
  • Very location-specific but could be made relevant elsewhere by (a) bringing prices into it, or (b) talking about local syrup production and how climate change might affect it (e.g. in upper Midwest).
  • Sap flow/run changes are one of several issues we experience with climate change, this could be useful as a starting example to promote exploration of others.
  • Instructor may want to use this to further explore economic or biological impacts of climate change on sap flow (why does this matter; how else does climate affect the tree?).

About the Science

  • An interactive that demonstrates the impacts of climate change on maple syrup sap production in the Northeast.
  • 5 different locations in the Northeast are featured.
  • Students have different scenarios to change and visualize the effects of temperature and emissions rates on the window of sap production.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Visualization encourages students to make connections between climate and the scientific research that predicts how these changes will effect our environment.
  • More Info button links to additional background context for educators.
  • Having more locations would provide a greater chance of users being able to identify with a location near them.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy and intuitive to use.
  • Graphics are are sterile but clean and sharp.
  • The link to Data Source and Credits > Temperature Maps actually leads to contextual supporting info for understanding emissions scenarios and sap flow, not just temperature maps.

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