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This collection of learning activities allows students to explore phenology, phenological changes over time, and how these changes fit into the larger context of climate change. Students explore patterns of solar radiation and seasons as well as phenological cycles and ecological affects of these patterns.

This series of 20 learning activities each take one 45 minute class period.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»


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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • This unit utilizes other CLEAN resources. Educators may want to consider which resources they will use and organize them in advance as it may get challenging to keep track of them. Links to all necessary resources are included in the unit.

About the Science

  • Phenomena related to climatic phenological changes are explored, including patterns of solar radiation, seasons, and phenological cycles to examine how seasons might be changing due to anthropogenic climate change.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Introduction to the study of phenology: how organisms respond to the changes in seasons
    - Involves field work, collecting data and modeling
    - The importance of solar insolation in driving the atmospheric and oceanic circulation
    - The physical reason behind seasonal variability on the planet
    - Students are able to detect the ways in which organisms respond to the changes in seasons
    - Detection of limiting factors of ecosystems in the field
    - Students finally apply how climate change is affecting ecosystems and agriculture

About the Pedagogy

  • Project-based field study with supporting learning activities.
  • Students collect and analyze data from their own site and compare to global data from other schools to understand phenological changes at school. Students build models and examine how seasonal changes in light and radiation affect ecological systems. Students apply their knowledge of seasons and phenology in the larger context of climate change to make predictions about the future.
  • Keeping track of phenological changes can help students see changes related to climate. Using data, students can answer questions like: Is this year different than past years? Is there a trend in seasonal changes? How might these trends affect the organisms in our environments?

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The unit description provides detailed instructions for teachers, but also allows for some flexibility in terms of the lessons used and regionally relevancy of resources.

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