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Atlas of Change

PINEMAP Project, University of Florida, Project Learning Tree

In this activity, students explore the web-based U.S. Forest Service Climate Change Atlas to learn about projected climate changes in their state and how suitable habitat for tree and bird species is projected to change by 2100.

Activity length: Three 45-minute class periods
Students need to use a computer either alone or in pairs.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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 draws on the US Forest Service Climate Change Atlas in which several different climate models are used to project how tree and bird species may fare under different scenarios as their current habitats change.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    Overall extremely impressed with the Southeastern Forests and Climate Change Activities 1-3
    - Great introductory to how models work
    - Use of Atlas and creating informative posters
    - Comparing projected changes to suitable habitat for southeastern forest ecosystems or bird populations that result from using different climate models and scenarios

About the Pedagogy

  • Effectively summarizes the nature of modeling in climate science.
  • Students use the online Climate Change Atlas, from the United States Forest Service, to explore the effects of climate change on the future distributions of suitable habitats for forest types, tree species, and bird species in the eastern United States.
  • A slide presentation called "Atlas Guide" is used by students to understand how to use the USDA Forest Service Climate Change Atlas (both tree and bird sections).
  • Student sheets provide step-by-step guidance for use of the Atlas. The pedagogy of the worksheets is somewhat "cookbook" style, but the jigsaw discussion and poster-making aspects of the activities will help develop higher order thinking skills.
  • Alternative teaching instructions are given to simplify content and the length of the lesson for students of varying abilities.
  • A concise and useful introduction to modeling and how models are used in climate projections is supplied (PPT). Activity also offers a tutorial on climate modeling, presented by a University of Florida faculty member.
  • On the home page, http://sfrc.ufl.edu/extension/ee/climate/section1/activity3/, there are three important teacher tools: A video "Tour of the Activity" that lays out objectives and tell instructors exactly what students will be doing and identifies videos or other media teachers should review, a Check Your Knowledge--Interactive Quiz for educators, and Systems Exercises that can be incorporated.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Free registration is required to access the materials. The login process is a bit circuitous but allows access to a large suite of materials used in this activity.
  • Teacher notes are provided for both slide sets.
  • Excellent background reading for teachers is a big plus.
  • All materials and resources are included in either PDF form or are online.
  • Modifications, enrichment, and systems thinking extensions provided.
  • The Tree Atlas and Bird Atlas can be accessed outside the activity and without creating an account.
    Climate Change Tree Atlas https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/atlas/tree/
    Climate Change Bird Atlas https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/atlas/bird/

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

This activity is part of a larger curriculum, Southeastern Forests and Climate Change, which contains 5 sections and a rich collection of learning activities.
There is an alternate URL for this same resource: https://www.plt.org/curriculum/southeastern-forests-climate-change/
An account is required, but it's free.
Entered the Collection: June 2018 Last Reviewed: April 2017

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