Using Blooming Dates to Study Climate Change
This video takes students to the Tulip Time Festival in Pella, Iowa. It is designed to get students thinking about how annual blooming dates for flowers and trees can be tracked using festivals and then used to study regional climate change.
Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions
- Define phenology and give 2 examples of other biological events that could be used to show evidence of climate change.
- Do you think it is a big deal if trees and flowers bloom/sprout earlier in the spring? Why?
- The lessons provided in the resources take about three 50-minutes class sessions to get through. I would recommend having students divide the climate and blooming dates data since there are 85 data points. Additionally, the data only goes through 2017 so the students could research the more recent temperature and Tulip Time Festival dates to extend their graph. I would not recommend dropping the earlier data since it shows a clear progression of earlier blooming dates and warmer temperatures in central Iowa. The article provided in the resources gives a clear explanation about why plants blooming earlier is not a good thing, and helps to clear up a few misconceptions that students may have. Finally, if you would like to extend this learning about phenology into other biological events such as reproduction, hibernation, migration, etc., the PowerPoint in the resources is a great template to help students structure their research. A couple of successful animal examples that have worked well in my classroom are the leatherback sea turtles’ reproduction (gender assignment) and the monarch butterfly’s migration schedule. There are many, many more examples as well!
- Blooming Thermometers Activity: Tulip Time, Pella, Iowa: This is a graphing activity that coordinates temperature data and tulip blooming dates over 85 years. Students are able to see the connection between the temperature increase and the dates that the tulips are blooming.
- Shorter winters are stunting the growth of plants: This is an article about the benefits and drawbacks of having plants bloom and leaf out too early.
- Phenology: Biological Events and Climate Change: Using this PowerPoint template, you and your partner need to research a biological event (ex. - migration, hibernation, reproduction, or blooming dates) that is being affected by climate change. It can be an event for plants or animals.
Iowa Core Alignment
Phenomena submitted by Courtney Giesel