Weather & Climate P2

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Weather & Climate P2

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1) Begin class in the dark today. If possible, close blinds and turn off lights. Ask students if they know where their electricity comes from. Is it from a coal-fired power plant? Hydro-electric? Wind energy? Is the plant nearby? Have this discussion in the dark. 2) Turn on the lights and point out the ease with which the room was supplied electricity. Where does the power originate? Explain that students will investigate this today in class.

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  1. m of cli ate ch es a s ng cau ge impacts associated with building a hydro- change than burning fossil fuels because of electric plant, including hydrologic changes, its shorter carbon cycle. Fossil fuels are made water quality degradation, and blockage of from plants and animals that have been dead fish migration routes. and stored underground for many millennia, thus the name “fossil” fuel. Without human Solar energy comes from the sun. Using intervention, fossil fuels would continue to solar panels or other technologies, the sun’s store or sequester carbon, preventing it from rays are converted to electrical energy. entering our atmosphere. Plants grown for Atmospheric conditions and the solar panels’ biomass and biofuels are active components positions on the earth relative to the sun can of the carbon cycle, taking up carbon while affect the amounts of solar power collected. growing and releasing carbon when burned Wind energy generates electricity from the or decomposed. Unlike fossil fuels, biofuels wind. Wind energy reduces greenhouse gas can be re-grown quickly, providing food emissions when it offsets, or takes the place (corn, sugar) and timber and taking up CO2 of, a fossil fuel power plant. Wind energy’s negative environmental impacts can include (a major greenhouse gas). 2 Geothermal energy is heat energy collected impacts on migrating birds or bats and from beneath the earth’s surface or energy aesthetic impacts on neighbors. absorbed in the earth’s atmosphere or oceans. Biofuels/Biomass These are solids, liquids, or This naturally occurring energy is collected gases from recently dead biological materials, and used to make electrical energy. Emissions most commonly plants. Biomass refers more from the collection process are small and specifically to the solids from recently dead require no use of fossil fuel. Installing geo- biological materials. Firewood is an example thermal energy units can be rather expensive of biomass used for energy. Fuel from sugar and homeowners may have problems with crops (sugar cane) or starch crops (corn) is repairs due to the systems’ uniqueness. called ethanol; fuel from non-edible plant Energy conservation is the easiest way to limit sources like wood or grass is chemically the amount of greenhouse gases going into identical but called cellulosic ethanol. Ethanol the atmosphere. is used as a supplement to gasoline in cars. Vegetable oil can be used as a fuel, but usually just in cars with older diesel engines under specific climate conditions. While burning biomass and biofuels does produce some air pollution, it has less impact on climate Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 31
  2. activity POWER TO THE PEOPLE Part A – Power in Wisconsin Discussion Questions Students will investigate sources of power in 1) Why do you think power plants are Wisconsin and determine their efficiency. located in certain areas of Wisconsin? Availability of resources? Socio-economic situation? Population density? Procedure Transportation patterns? 1) Begin class in the dark today. If possible, 2) How efficient are these sources of energy? close blinds and turn off lights. Ask students if they know where their electricity comes 3) In what way do they affect Wisconsin’s from. Is it from a coal-fired power plant? environment? Hydro-electric? Wind energy? Is the plant 4) How are these sources of energy linked nearby? Have this discussion in the dark. to climate change? 2) Turn on the lights and point out the ease 5) What are some ways that you can with which the room was supplied electricity. conserve energy? Where does the power originate? Explain that students will investigate this today in class. 3) Divide students into groups of three and hand out Part A: Power in Wisconsin activity POWER TO THE PEOPLE Worksheet. Assign groups a power plant in your area or state to investigate. If you have Part B – Daily Energy Use not obtained printed copies of power plant Students will create a log of the information, allow students to use the energy they use in their daily lives. internet. Students will work together to research sources of Wisconsin’s electricity and electricity’s influence on climate change in Procedure Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s Office of Energy Independence, Wisconsin’s Public Service 1) Begin with the class imagining there has Commission, and US Energy Information been a major power outage in their Administration are good resources. community, which will last one week. But community residents have decided to stay 4) When groups are finished, discuss their and try to continue to live their “normal” findings. Review percentages of energy lives for this week. Have a discussion of how source use and ask students to make this will impact their lives. What activities will hypotheses regarding the breakdown of use. they not be able to do while the power is Do the energy production resources need to out? What will be some of the consequences be nearby? of the power being out? 5) When each group is finished, ask them to 2) Discuss the link between climate change draw the location of the power plant they and energy production (see background studied on a map of Wisconsin (either on a material). Explain the first step in reducing paper map or overhead transparency). When our energy use, and thus our personal all groups are finished, use the completed contributions to greenhouse gases and other map to show the locations of all power plants pollutants, is to be aware of the way we in Wisconsin. currently use energy. Then, we can look for ways to reduce needless energy use. 6) Discuss how power plants affect climate change in Wisconsin. 3) Working in small groups, have students make lists of all the ways they can think of 7) Turn off the lights again. Ask students to that they and their households use electricity think about worldwide energy usage and the in a typical week. Remind them to include climate change impacts of that energy use. things like charging their cell phones, iPods, When you turn them back on and, if time and computer batteries. If they are on a allows, have a brief discussion. 32 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  3. m of cli ate ch es a s n ng cau e private well, they’d need to include the kilowatts, they will have to calculate the pump that delivers water from the well to kilowatt-hours using the following formula: the house. Even a gas stove, oven, or furnace Watts x (1 kilowatt/1000 watts) x hours used has electric lighters and controls. To motivate per day = daily kilowatt-hours (kWhr)/day the groups, award one point for every item they identify and two for any original item Students can then multiply this by days per thought of by only one group. Recognize the year to calculate the annual use. group with the most points. Some appliances, like refrigerators, may have 4) Have students pick 10 items from the list listed their ratings in kWh per year already. for which they will calculate energy use and evaluate how they can reduce that energy 7) Now, using the cost per kWh from their use. For each item, they should track the home electric bill, students can calculate number of hours it is used for the next week. annual energy costs at current rate of use. For some appliances, e.g. a refrigerator, the use should be assumed to be 100% of the 8) Students should look at their list and look for ways they can reduce their energy use, 2 time. For others, e.g. televisions, students e.g. by using more efficient appliances or should actually measure how many hours the light bulbs or by reducing the number of device is turned on. hours they use an item. Additional work 5) Next, students need to investigate the could include calculating energy savings energy use of each item and fill out Part B: and resulting emissions savings. Energy in Our Daily Lives Worksheet. Some of their household items will have the energy Going Beyond use printed on them (e.g. light bulbs) or possibly in owner manuals (e.g. refrigerators 1) Have students review and complete the or air conditioners). For those they cannot Wisconsin DNR’s Green and Healthy Schools track down, the e-Appendix lists some assessment on Energy in the School. references for average energy use. Students 2) Have students combine the two parts can try an internet search on to find their own resources, or power, the energy plant’s emissions, and they could visit an appliance or electronics how many emissions their own use store to investigate the range of energy used contributes. by different items. 3) Students can track and graph their energy 6) Once students have the energy data, they use over the school year. Prizes or recogni- can calculate their annual energy use for tions can be given for those using the least those items. If the rating is in watts or energy or for “most improved.” Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 33
  4. im of cl ate ch es a s activity Part A – Power in Wisconsin ng cau ge POWER TO THE PEOPLE NAMES ____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________ TEACHER ___________________________________________ 1) What is the name of the power plant you are researching? 2) Where is the power plant located in Wisconsin? List town/city and two nearby towns/cities. 3) What kind of energy source does your power plant use? (coal, water, nuclear, renewable, etc.) Where is the source of the power plant’s fuel? 4) What types of emissions come from this power plant and how do they affect climate change? 5) Does the power company offer renewable energy? If yes, what types? worksheet 6) What three energy-saving actions are you most likely to take? 34 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  5. im of cl ate ch es a activity s Part B – Energy Use in Our Daily Lives n ng cau e e POWER TO THE PEOPLE NAME _______________________________________________ CLASS _________________________________ TEACHER _____________________________________________ DATE __________________________________ ENERGY USE LOG Power in Hours item Annual Annual Ideas for how to Appliance Daily energy kilowatts used each energy use energy cost reduce energy use or Item use2 (kW-hr) (kW)1 day (hr) (kW-hr/yr)3 ($/yr)4 from this item 2 worksheet 1 Power conversion formulas: watts ÷ 1000 = kilowatts; horsepower (hp) x 0.746 kW/hp = kilowatts; amps x volts ÷ 1000 = kilowatts 2 Daily energy use formula: Power (kW) x Hours used per day = Daily energy use (kW-hr/day) 3 Energy use/year formula: Daily energy use (kW-hr/day) x 365 days/yr = Annual energy use (kW-hr/yr) 4 Energy cost per year formula: Annual energy use (kW-hr/yr) x Energy cost from bill ($/kW-hr) = Annual energy cost ($/yr) Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 35
  6. m of cli ate ch es a s n ng cau e How Green Are You? Students will: • Understand how their personal choices can affect learning climate change. objectives • Make choices to reduce the amount of resources they consume over time. • Educate others on ways to reduce their impact on climate change. subjects Environmental Education WISCONSIN MODEL ACADEMIC STANDARDS ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION B.8.15, C.8.3, D.8.1, Background D.8.3, D.8.5, D.12.2 An ecological footprint is a tool to measure how much land and materials water a human population requires to produce the How Green Are You? Worksheet resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes. By measuring the ecological footprint of a population (an individual, a city, a nation, or all of humanity) we can find out how we’re activity HOW GREEN ARE YOU? impacting the planet. Measuring ecological footprints gives people information to help Ecological Footprint them take personal and collective action to Students will complete the worksheet live within the means of our planet. This and discuss how their daily actions affect activity flips the traditional notion of an the planet. ecological footprint on its side: it eliminates the negative connotation of how many resources we use and replaces it with Procedure positive reinforcement for the “green” 1) Have your students list the choices they actions we take. made this morning before school. List them Each day we make choices. Most days we on the chalk board. Ask them to think about make at least 10 choices before we eat whether their choices may have impacted breakfast. Those choices have an effect on climate change. Here are some examples: our environment, positive or negative. We • Did they have the TV and the radio on each have the responsibility to look at the at the same time this morning? choices we make and decide if they are the right ones for us and whether there is room for improvement. 36 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  7. m of cli ate ch es a s n ng cau e e • Did they run the water while they were Discussion Questions brushing their teeth or did they turn the faucet on only when they needed it? 1) What new habits can the students put into their daily routine to become more Earth- • Did they leave the house with the lights friendly? Do they think these would be hard still on in their room? changes to make? • Did they carpool or take the bus to school, or did they drive by themselves in a car? 2) Discuss ways of going “overboard” and expecting too much of yourself versus taking • Did they pack a lunch with locally grown small steps to improvement. For example, foods, which require less transportation? stopping driving all together might be too difficult but perhaps you could cut out two 2) Discuss with students how we all have the unnecessary trips per week. Or rather than responsibility to make good decisions. Ask proposing to eliminate all fossil-fueled forms students to decide how they might have of transportation, decide to car-pool to made better choices this morning for the planet. How could changing their choices school, ride your bike, or take public transportation when available. 2 affect climate change? 3) Encourage students to come up with new 3) Remind students that life is all about questions to add to the worksheet. Remind choices. The choices they make affect the students that when something seems too planet in a number of different ways. difficult to achieve, many people will be 4) Have students fill out the worksheet. turned off and refuse to even try so they should pick tasks that will make a difference 5) Discuss students’ answers on the in the environment but not be unobtainable. worksheet. Remind students that there are no right or wrong answers. Where do they think they could improve? Where do they Going Beyond think they are doing well? Help raise awareness at home! Ask students to take the worksheet home and have their parents or siblings fill it out. What differences or similarities were among their answers? Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 37
  8. im of cl ate ch es a s activity n ng Ecological Footprint cau e e HOW GREEN ARE YOU? NAME _______________________________________________ CLASS _________________________________ TEACHER _____________________________________________ DATE __________________________________ Complete this worksheet by answering all of TRANSPORTATION SCORE ____________ the questions and awarding yourself points. “Yes” answers receive all of the points listed, 9) Do you carpool, take the bus, walk, or bike to “sometimes/maybe” answers receive half of the school? (6) points, and “no” answers receive zero points. YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 10) Do you trip-chain? (e.g. combine trips by going to the store on your way home from school HOME SCORE __________________________ instead of going home and then back to the store and then home again.) (10) 1) Do you turn off the TV and computer when you are done with them (4) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 11) Do you turn your ignition off when you are parked or stopped for more than thirty 2) Do you turn lights off when leaving a room? seconds? (10) (4) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 12) If you are going to a friend’s house just a mile 3) Do you reheat leftovers in the microwave or two away, do you leave the car at home and instead of the oven? (8) bike or walk there? (10) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 4) Do you choose to open the windows on 13) Do you reduce driving on Air Quality Watch a nice day instead of turning on the air days? (12) conditioner? (10) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO ENERGY SCORE ________________________ RECYCLING SCORE ____________________ 14) Do you have compact fluorescent light bulbs 5) Do you recycle all paper, glass, and plastic at installed in your home? (one point for each home? (20) light bulb) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO worksheet 6) Do you recycle when at school? (10) 15) Do you use rechargeable batteries and/or YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO recycle your batteries after use? (6) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 7) If there is no recycling bin available when you are away from home, do you hold onto your 16) Do you unplug your cell phone and I-pod trash until there is a bin available (i.e. bring chargers after they are done charging to reduce your soda bottles and paper home to recycle)? “phantom energy” loss? (4) (20) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 17) Do you turn the thermostat down in the winter 8) Do you use both sides of a piece of paper and wear a sweater, and up in the summer and before tossing it into the recycling bin? (4) wear shorts? (6) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 38 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ✺ CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  9. im of cl ate ch es a activity s n ng Ecological Footprint cau (continued) e e HOW GREEN ARE YOU? WATER SCORE __________________________ 25) Do you carry reusable bags into the grocery store with you instead of taking new paper 18) Do you turn the water off while brushing your or plastic bags? (10) teeth? (6) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 26) Do you use refillable water bottles instead 19) Are your showers less than 5 minutes? (10) of one-time use plastic bottles? (4) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO 20) Do you wait to wash your favorite pair of jeans 27) Do you check out books from the library or other items until there is a full load of wash instead of purchasing new ones? (4) to be done? (4) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO ADDITIONAL STEPS SCORE ___________ 2 21) When able, do you choose organic foods? (20) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO List up to four other environment-friendly steps you take (points indicated for each measure). 22) Do you use a reusable lunch bag and containers to carry food with you instead of 28) _______________________________________ disposable? (12) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO _____________________________________(4) 23) When possible, do you buy locally-grown food instead of food shipped from elsewhere? (20) 29) _______________________________________ YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO _____________________________________(6) REDUCE & REUSE SCORE ______________ 30) _______________________________________ 24) Do you say “no thank you” to bags for items _____________________________________(8) you buy at a store where you purchase only one or two things and can carry them without 31) _______________________________________ a bag? (16) YES SOMETIMES/MAYBE NO ____________________________________(10) HOME _______________ 0–50 You are a Green Newbie worksheet Jump on in and learn more about the RECYCLING ____________ environment and what you can do to help TRANSPORTATION _______________ fight climate change! Try some of the tips on this worksheet to become greener. ENERGY ____________ WATER ____________ 51–125 Greenie-In-Training You have really put an effort into becoming How Green REDUCE & REUSE ____________ green, but there is SO much more to do! Are You? Keep going strong! ADDITIONAL STEPS ____________ Count up your 126–200 As a Green Machine, you GRAND TOTAL ____________ points in each really know what you’re doing when it category and comes to protecting the planet! Keep up Keep up the good things you are doing to then total fight global climate change, and try some the good work. them to find new tips too. Remember, no one can do it out which all, but you can choose to step lightly on 200+ You are the Green Guru! You are category you Earth by picking sustainable ways of life treading very lightly on Earth! Way to go! fit into. and sticking to them. Try teaching others about protecting the environment without pressuring them. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 39
  10. 3 Ecosystem Impacts of Climate Change in Wisconsin Look at the methods of phenological ecosystem observation, why climate change matters in Wisconsin, and how it might change the Earth. This activity 42 Ecosystem Phenology introduces observation e 43 Part A– Ecosystem Journal as a method ee Create a journal from for measuring real observations how climate can s tem impa affect species. sys ct co e s This activity 46 Ecosystem Relationships encourages thinking about ee 47 Part A– Ecosystem Diagrams 3 ecosystem s Hypothesize how climate changes relationships and might affect a particular ecosystem the impacts of ss 48 Part B– Measuring Ecosystems climate change. Measure variables in the ecosystem studied in Part A 49 Part C– Unique Ecosystems Predict how climate change may impact a unique area in Wisconsin e WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES 41
  11. tem impa sys ct co e s Ecosystem Phenology Students will: • Understand the methods of phenological data collection. learning • Interpret and apply phenological objectives data to make hypotheses about climate change in Wisconsin. • Use a database to record phenological data. subjects English–Language Arts Environmental Education Science WISCONSIN MODEL ACADEMIC STANDARDS “If you want an adventure, ENGLISH–LANGUAGE ARTS take the same walk that C.8.3, E.8.1, F.8.1, F.12.1 you took yesterday, and ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION do so again tomorrow.” A.8.1, A.8.2, A.8.4, A.8.5, A.12.1 – John Burroughs SCIENCE A.12.1, C.8.2, C.8.3, C.8.8, C.12.1, E.8.3, E.8.5, F.12.8 materials Background Writing journals Phenology is the branch of ecology that Because many biological events are triggered Worksheet included explores the seasonal timing of life cycle by or timed to climatic conditions, pheno- in this activity events. It often crosses multiple scientific logical observations of plants and animals disciplines by relating biological processes can be an indicator of climate changes. to weather conditions. Phenology includes They can also foretell the ecosystem impacts the study of many events such as the and disruptions caused by climate changes. migration of birds, the blooming of flowers and woody plants, animal reproduction, and Phenology researchers record the timing of the emergence of insects and other critters. various biological events from year to year in a specific geographical location. If such Just as there are regional differences in observations are recorded over many temperatures and other weather patterns, years, using comparable techniques, the there are regional differences in biological phenological data can paint a picture of the events. Factors such as latitude, longitude, climatic conditions in that place over those topography and the buffering of tempera- years. Aldo Leopold, a notable Wisconsin ture changes by large bodies of water such ecologist and environmental writer, recorded as the Great Lakes contribute to these years of phenology data. His observations regional differences. supported his land ethic, harmony between 42 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  12. tem impa sys ct co e s humans and ecosystems, a belief that made spring, flowering of a species of plant, him one of the first stewards of conservation ripening of strawberries in the garden, in the United States. the first sound of spring peepers). In order to effectively understand changes 4) Discuss in detail how exactly the in the climate using phenology, day-to-day observations will be made so subsequent observations of animals, plants, weather, or classes can record data in a similar way. other natural phenomenon are necessary Discuss the importance of agreeing on over many years. specific procedures for observing and recording events if data are to be compared from year to year. activity ECOSYSTEM PHENOLOGY 5) Have the students use the Ecosystem Phenology Worksheet to record their phenological data events. Students Ecosystem Journal may then use a spreadsheet program Students make simple observations and (e.g. Excel) to enter the data. create a journal so they can explore the links between the weather and the timing 6) Discuss the concept of creating a long- of events in the natural world. term school journal that can be used from year to year — like a biological time capsule. With students, develop a phenological list to use for each season of plant and animal Procedure behaviors and events. Have the class set up 1) Begin the class by brainstorming what a system for having their journals carried students think would be an easy way to on in the future. How many years will it be observe and record climate change. Ask before today’s kindergarteners would be students, “Do you need expensive scientific equipment or an ecosystem biologist to help entering their observations? 3 to record climate change?” Discuss with Discussion Questions students how they can easily observe climate change from their own backyards by simply 1) How do you think phenological data using their observational skills. will help us further understand climate change in Wisconsin? 2) Have students discuss the concept of phenology. How is it defined and how is it 2) What might be some ecosystem and recorded? Discuss some cyclical events that species-survival challenges if some parts of occur in the natural world. If any students an ecosystem change the timing of their have lived or visited elsewhere, you can biological events, but others do not? discuss regional differences, e.g. between Hint, think about an insect that emerges on northern and southern Wisconsin, closer the same date every spring and pollinates or further from one of the Great Lakes, in a particular type of blooming plant. What different parts of the country, etc. happens if the plant blooms earlier, but the insect doesn’t change the date it emerges? 3) Have students start and keep a journal to record phenologic events in their own 3) If students create a journal in which each neighborhood or outside their school. Let subsequent class will record data, how many them choose which events they would like years of data do they think will be needed to to record (examples include: date in autumn judge whether there is a pattern of change? when leaves on a specific tree start to turn How would they know what may have color, the first observation of a robin in contributed to any changes? Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 43
  13. Going Beyond 1) Have students develop a Phenology happening later or earlier than they do Calendar focused on natural events in now? Do they believe the climate is the schoolyard. Some annual events changing based on their own observations might include sounds of the first robin, of the natural world? first maple tree budding or showing color in the fall, first emergence of 3) There is a national phenology network worms on the school grounds, etc. about plants called Project BudBurst. The network asks citizens to contribute to their 2) Have students interview a family member, database. More classroom phenology neighbor, or friend who could have activities for students of all ages can be observed natural events 40-60 years found on their website. ago. Do they remember natural events 44 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  14. tem impa sys ct co activity e s Student Journal ECOSYSTEM PHENOLOGY NAME _________________________________________________ CLASS ___________________________________ TEACHER _______________________________________________ DATE____________________________________ SPECIES DATE WEATHER BEHAVIOR/ACTIVITY OBSERVED OTHER OBSERVATIONS SPECIES DATE WEATHER BEHAVIOR/ACTIVITY OBSERVED 3 OTHER OBSERVATIONS SPECIES DATE WEATHER BEHAVIOR/ACTIVITY OBSERVED worksheet OTHER OBSERVATIONS SPECIES DATE WEATHER BEHAVIOR/ACTIVITY OBSERVED OTHER OBSERVATIONS Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 45
  15. tem impa sys ct co e s Ecosystem Relationships Students will: • Understand that the living and non-living components learning of an ecosystem intricately objectives rely on each other. • Understand how global warming will result in changes to Wisconsin’s climate and weather patterns. • Predict the effects of climate changes on an ecosystem and species. subjects • Understand that an ecosystem Environmental Education responding to global warming is more complex than “when it warms, Science plants and animals move north to Social Studies adjust to changing conditions.” WISCONSIN MODEL ACADEMIC STANDARDS ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Background A.8.2, A.8.5, A.8.6, B.8.5, B.12.3, B.12.6, Trying to predict specific long-term climate Knowing this, we can postulate that eco- C.8.2 systems with small or narrow ranges and/or change impacts on ecosystems, places where SCIENCE biotic (living) organisms interact with abiotic those dependent on unique, fixed geologic A.12.1, C.8.2, E.8.1, features may be most susceptible to impacts E.8.3, F.8.8, F.8.9, F.12.8 (non-living) factors of the environment, remains difficult. However, the sensitivity of from global warming. As temperatures and SOCIAL STUDIES various ecosystems can be predicted from precipitation patterns change, such eco- A.8.11 studying the existing impacts of change on systems may be ill equipped to persist in specific organisms. some of their former locations or unable to materials “move.” Warmer temperatures may shift Every organism needs certain conditions to further north, but the plants that grow in Blank paper thrive. For example, abiotic variables that are them may not be adapted to the different Worksheet included important for determining where individual bedrock and soil features of northern in this activity terrestrial plant species survive include pH; Wisconsin. Furthermore, other community Thermometer soil texture; soil moisture; soil depth; members necessary for the survival of the Optional: nutrient availability; air temperature; plants may not shift to the same location. Sling psychrometer humidity; precipitation; sunlight; space; Some plants have evolved to require specific landscape features; and disturbances like animals to pollinate them or disperse their Trowel wind, fire, and flooding. Important biotic seed. On the flip side, some animals require Species identification variables include competitors for resources, guides certain plants for food or cover. The loss of herbivores, pollinators, seed dispersers, and one of these species may result in the direct pH kit fungal associates. Species with small and loss of the other. For example, larvae, or Secchi disks isolated ranges and quite specific biotic or caterpillars, of the northern blue butterfly Measuring tape abiotic needs are often the most susceptible (Plebejus idas nobokovi) eat only dwarf bilberry Soil nutrient test kit to decline, disappearing locally or extirpa- (Vaccinium caespitosum). These endangered Soil survey map tion, and even extinction when faced with species coexist as rare inhabitants of land use changes or other stresses. openings on sandy soils in Wisconsin. Internet 46 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  16. tem impa sys ct co e s If environmental conditions change and activity ECOSYSTEM RELATIONSHIPS certain locations become unsuitable for dwarf bilberry, the northern blue butterfly Part A – Ecosystem Diagrams will also disappear from those sites. Students will reflect on a particular ecosystem and hypothesize what might Climate change will likely affect the balance happen as climate change influences it. between biotic and abiotic relationships in some of Wisconsin’s ecosystems. Depending on how each variable responds, ecosystems Procedure may shift locations but some special habitats and species may be lost. 1) Ecological communities develop because groups of organisms require similar environ- Note: As the specific climate changes and mental conditions. Key characteristics allow impacts remain sketchy, especially at a plants and animals to live in a certain habitat. local level, this activity is not about teaching Have students make a list of the factors that students exactly what will happen to affect which organisms survive and where. Wisconsin’s ecosystems. The purpose of Possible answers are listed in the second this activity is for students to understand paragraph of this activity’s background. the complexities and interconnectedness of ecosystems and then to think critically 2) Choose a habitat type such as a prairie, about what might happen to plants, coniferous forest, wetland, or lake. Have animals, and ecosystems with changing students diagram the main abiotic and climate. The students reasoning and biotic components of the ecosystem and discussion is the focus not specific draw connections between directly related conclusions. parts (e.g. decomposers feed plants, plants use precipitation and sunlight, etc.). 3 Sample Ecosystem Diagram — Coldwater Stream AQUATIC SUN INSECTS & VEGETATION INVERTEBRATES SHORELINE PLANTS TROUT ZOOPLANKTON PHYTOPLANKTON COLD, CLEAN, STEADY, FLOWING WATER ROCKS & FROGS GRAVEL ROCKS & GRAVEL ANGLER MINNOWS HERON SHORELINE & SMALL FISH PLANTS Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 47
  17. 3) Ask students what they know about • abundance, number, or identification climate change. Why is it happening? of forbs, grass-like plants, shrubs, trees, How will the global climate be affected? animals, and fungi (for terrestrial systems) What changes are predicted for Wisconsin? • water temperature, clarity, depth, width, Have students research some predictions pH, flow; stream water and sediment scientists are making for changes to inputs; and the abundance, number, or Wisconsin’s climate and weather patterns. identification of aquatic plants (for an 4) Based on the students’ knowledge of aquatic system) climate change, how do they think it will Some variables may be better determined in affect the abiotic and biotic components of the classroom but most require field work. the ecosystem? What types of chain reaction effects might occur (e.g. changes in rain and 2) Divide students into small groups and evaporation rates decreasing soil moisture assign them each one or several ecosystem leading to less plant growth leading to variables. If your students do not already less food for herbivores and carnivores)? know how to use the equipment you are Refer back to your ecosystem diagram. assigning them, you may want to teach the class as a whole about each piece of equipment in the classroom or field prior activity ECOSYSTEM RELATIONSHIPS to letting them work independently. Alternative: With younger or more inexperi- Part B – Measuring Ecosystems enced students, or very technical equipment, you may decide to keep the class together Students will measure variables in a specific and do more of a demonstration in the field ecosystem and hypothesize what might rather than the small group activity. happen as climate change influences it. We suggest conducting Part B the day after 3) Ask students to complete the Measuring doing Part A. You may need two days to Ecosystems Worksheet. Students should complete Part B—using the first class period record as many observations as they can for steps 1 to 3. about the variables they are studying and take measurements if equipment is available (i.e. use a sling psychrometer to measure Procedure relative humidity, a thermometer to measure 1) Choose a natural area of the habitat type temperature, a tree guide to determine discussed in Part A. Based on equipment species present, etc.). availability, the students’ skill and knowledge, 4) Based on the students’ knowledge of and the amount of time available, decide the climate change gained during the Part A desirable level of detail for characterizing this classroom discussion, how do they think ecosystem. Possible variables will depend on climate change will affect the study the study area but may include: variables? For example, will soil moisture • amount and pH of precipitation (from be higher or lower or more variable? actual measurements or weather records) Will the amount or composition of prairie • air temperature and humidity (from plants change? Will water clarity be better actual measurements or weather records) or worse or more variable? Ask students • soil texture, moisture, depth, nutrients, to do internet research to help with their temperature, and/or type (refer to soil predictions as homework or if time allows. survey map) 5) Back in the classroom using the Part A • adjacent land use and land cover ecosystem diagram, have students present (e.g. residential area with impervious their observations and predictions about surface and lawns or agricultural fields) their variables to the class and indicate • abundance, number, or identification of them on the ecosystem diagram (e.g. draw herbivores, carnivores, or insects above more rain if precipitation levels are expected and/or below ground or in the water to increase, cross off pine trees if they are (for aquatic systems) expected to decline). After everyone has presented, discuss how predicted changes 48 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
  18. tem impa sys ct co e s in one variable (e.g. soil moisture) will affect 2) Have students, individually or in groups, other variables (e.g. decomposition) and pick a specific place to research. You may indicate potential increases or decreases in want to encourage them to pick nearby related factors on the ecosystem diagram. areas and even to visit the sites, if possible. Remind students that local species have evolved over thousands of years to be well 3) Have the students postulate if and how suited to our climate and other members of climate change may impact that special place the ecological community. If your students and explain why they think those changes studied particular species, ask them to may occur. consider relationships between the species. 4) Students should either write a report or By the time you finish with the diagram, it make a presentation on their investigations. will likely be very complicated and difficult to understand, just like ecosystems being impacted by climate change. Going Beyond 6) Ask students—as climate change affects 1) Have the students focus on a particular this ecosystem, how will the overall land- species of animal or plant, perhaps one that scape look different? (e.g. If the climate is endangered in the state. How might this warms, will all of the species head north? organism’s population change with the Why? What barriers might inhibit species change of Wisconsin’s climate? migration—soil type, presence or absence 2) Explain to students that the vegetation of surface water, impervious surface, roads, types in northern and southern Wisconsin vary etc.)? Discuss ways Wisconsin ecosystems greatly. Northern Wisconsin is dominated by and natural resources may change in the coniferous forest while southern Wisconsin is future due to climate change. Is it possible a mix of deciduous forest and prairies. Where for a plant or animal to become more these vegetation types mesh, near the middle plentiful? If so, which ones would students of the state, there is a unique combination of predict to become more plentiful? or less species. Ask students why they think these plentiful? Impress on students that these predictions are hypotheses, which is ok, vegetation types are located in different parts 3 of the state and how climate change might because it is difficult to know for certain the affect them. exact effect climate change will have on Wisconsin. The critical concept is for students 3) Have students develop a long-term research to be aware of and understand that climate project to observe and record changes in the change will affect where they live too! local ecosystem. Ask them to develop some hypotheses that project what they think might happen over a longer period of time. activity ECOSYSTEM RELATIONSHIPS Part C – Unique Ecosystems Students look for unique areas in Wisconsin and predict how climate change may impact them. Part C should be preceded by Part B or an in-depth lesson on ecosystem ecology so that students understand the types of variables they should consider. Procedure 1) Provide students with resources to To request a free copy of the Wisconsin Land Legacy Report, investigate specific Wisconsin natural email the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: features. The Wisconsin Land Legacy Report Also, refer to the Alphabetical published by the Department of Natural Listing of Wisconsin State Natural Areas (see e-Appendix for link). Resources is an excellent resource for this. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12 49
  19. tem impa sys ct co activity e s Part B – Measuring Ecosystems ECOSYSTEM PHENOLOGY NAMES _________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________ TEACHER ________________________________________ 1) What is the definition of ecosystem? 2) List the variable(s) you have been assigned and the data you collected. 3) How do you think the variable(s) might change 100 years from now? How might climate change play a role? 4) How will climate changes and shifts in your variable(s) affect other components of the ecosystem? 5) How will this location change? Do you expect that similar local locations will change in the same way? Will the same ecosystem even exist here? If not, what might replace it? How could these worksheet changes affect local citizens’ jobs or hobbies? 6) How will the changes you described in question 5 affect you personally? How might your life or lifestyle or activities change? 50 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • CLIMATE CHANGE: A Wisconsin Activity Guide, Grades 7-12
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