Phenology and Biology of Climate Change Investigation

This exercise is based on:

Goals of the Biology of Climate Change Investigation

Build student skills in:

The Biology of Climate Change module consists of four pages: http://rmbl.info/rockymountainbiolab/con/con_bcc.html

Biology of Climate Change Module Evaluations

After your students complete this module, please have them fill out this online student survey specific to this module and fill out the online instructor survey. We appreciate your feedback and collaboration!

Teaching Strategies

Potential additional pre-reading assignments for students:

If you wish to assign some pre-lab reading, the following articles from The Rocky Mountain News may be of interest.

Suggestions for pre-assignment lecture topics and tools:

Explain basic statistics (mean, minimum, maximum, range) and regression analysis (what it is, r-squared, P) and the concept of ‘statistical significance’.

Check out the data visualization tool on the Data page - we’ve loaded it with all of billy barr’s first sightings observations as well as climate summaries, this tool could be useful as a demonstration during lecture or as a first step for students to become familiarized with the data.

Students have told us that the snow pack video was very interesting and gave them an improved sense of just how much snow really falls in this area!

If you decide to play the audio interview from Colorado Public Radio during class, you may wish to project a slideshow for a visual component. Try Sarah Rudeen’s slides (below) of RMBL plants, animals, and landscapes.




Instructional strategies behind activities:

1) This step is intended to get students familiar with Excel, seeing patterns in data, and using metadata. We recommend that you place students in small groups (2-3 students) because many introductory students are not proficient with Excel and may benefit from working with a partner. Also, working in small groups can help boost confidence in analyzing data and presenting to the class.

2) This step forces students to analyze data and link data to the natural world. We recommend having the small groups report their findings to the class, which encourages students to take ownership of some part of the data. If students are assigned a written report, you could consider having each student evaluate and summarize the interpretations of all groups.

3) Before students get started on more open-ended inquiry, the instructor might lead the students in thinking about some answerable questions (Socratic questioning). For example, do all migrating birds arrive at the RMBL at same time? Will all rodents show the same relationship with snow melt date? Do they all hibernate? The data visualization tool on the Data page could help students generate their own questions.

Again, for students with less experience in data analysis, students could work in small groups, presenting their graph(s), accompanying statistics, and interpretations to the class. Groups will benefit from assistance in interpreting their data and forming a sound scientific argument based on evidence.


One Instructor’s Experience:

Day 1: Students read Inouye et al., 2000 as homework.

Day 2:

Day 3: Students turned in their assignment, the instructor led a discussion about the activity, and students and instructor filled out the activity evaluation surveys.