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In this video, students learn how scientific surveys of wildlife are performed at a site in Yosemite, California. These surveys, in conjunction with studies from the early 1900s, provide evidence that animal populations in Yosemite have shifted over time in response to rising temperatures.

Video length 7:42 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educator can tie in Joseph Grinnell's observation that humans impact the environment.

About the Science

  • The video contains a discussion of the original wildlife surveys done by Grinnell. The specimens collected around 1908 have provided a basis of comparison for recent re-surveys in Yosemite. These comparisons indicate that as temperatures rise, low-altitude species are shifting their habitat up in elevation or are dying out. The next effect is a loss of genetic diversity.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Provides history of wildlife surveys and shows the importance of the records
    - Shows importance of field notes and maps
    - Shows that animals have moved to higher elevations (9 species of small mammals)
    - Shows that some animals (alpine chipmunks) have not moved elevation, but rather have died off
    - Introduces natural selection and biodiversity significance

About the Pedagogy

  • The material is presented in a story-like format with historic photographs and a strong human interest element. It describes the original Grinnell survey, the development of specimen collections, and the comparison with the recent survey.
  • A good blend of how science and observations of the past are used in the context of modern science and technology.
  • Can be used to teach the nature of science because it shows how data collected in the past can be used with current studies for comparison.
  • There is a lesson plan, educator's guide, and background material on the web page for this video.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The online version of this video is not of sufficient resolution for projection in a classroom.
  • No subtitles, so may be difficult to keep track of which species the scientists are talking about.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:


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