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Analyzing the data; "It's time to tell the story" about Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming

Lise LeTellier, Harvard Forest Schoolyard LTER

In this activity, students explore how the timing of color change and leaf drop of New England's deciduous trees is changing.

Activity takes two 45-minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
Other materials addressing:
E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:A) Organisms, populations, and communities
Other materials addressing:
A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
Other materials addressing:
C) Systems and connections.

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

About the Content

  • Activity has students access and analyze selected phenology data from the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project, to study changes in the growing season of deciduous trees in New England.
  • The two-year length of the graphing component is not long enough to discern trends. The Harvard Forest database does contain some longer records that would allow for a few more years of data. Even so, none of these records are long enough to suggest a robust trend. Caution students about forming a conclusion based on a short record.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Very good type of activity to show relationship of vegetation phenology to climate and climate change. It's unclear if the scientific link among vegetation phenology, growing season, and climate change is discussed. This seems mostly an exercise in learning how to graph data - the primary objective is stated as such.

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity is carefully and thoughtfully written with explicit teacher notes and student directions, background information, and screenshots to guide access to and use of the data; assessment rubric is provided with sample assessments representing honors and IEP-accommodation students.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Educator is integral to initial explanations of this lesson. Once students understand the database and what is expected, they should become more independent.
  • Students will need computers with Internet access, Excel or or other spreadsheet software, and a printer.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Entered the Collection: February 2017 Last Reviewed: September 2016

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