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Data Puzzle: The Tipping Point

Jonathan Griffith, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences - Education and Outreach

In this activity, students analyze and interpret data on the reproduction of moss campion plants to explore how increasing temperatures could impact these specialized tundra plants.

This learning activity takes two 60 minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Consider displaying the annotated sketch models in a classroom walkthrough so all students can see how their peers visualize the investigative question.
  • Consider bringing this lesson to life for students by doing a plant survey on school grounds. Dandelions on the school field is one example. Teachers would need to gather supplies, such as transects and other tools for plan study, but could serve as a fun research project. Another option would be to use the GLOBE projects phenology tracking aps around the school- https://www.globe.gov/web/phenology-and-climate.

About the Content

  • This simulated scientific analysis uses videos and a scientific dataset to understand plant reproductive patterns. Students will analyze and interpret patterns of plant reproduction data for moss campion in North America and use evidence to explain how climate change will impact these plants in the future. Students will learn concepts like tipping points and the significance of long-term studies.
  • This unit effectively shows the process of a field biologist. It encourages students to think through experimental design, results, and presentation in order to answer a question.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The provided teacher's guide, slide deck, and student worksheet are comprehensive and complementary to one another. An answer key is linked in the materials section of the teacher guide.
  • Embedded videos are useful to orient students to the alpine tundra environment. The use of videos, discussion questions, and worksheets may appeal to a variety of learning styles.
  • This unit takes a deep dive into field biology and climate connections. While it's helpful to go through the videos, worksheets, and other resources provided, it may help bring the activities to life a little more if teachers thoroughly introduce the profession before the lesson.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • All guides/slides are available through Google Docs.
  • The activity is divided into four parts but can fit into two days for longer class periods or four 30 minute class periods.
Entered the Collection: September 2023 Last Reviewed: June 2023

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