"Investigating the footprint of climate change on phenology and ecological interactions in north-central North America" 13 posts Sort by created date Sort by defined ordering View as a grid View as a list

Phenology module online at Cleveland State University

Resource Type: lab description, prelab quiz, grading rubric

Classroom Type: Introductory lab for biology majors

Modifications: Because our campus was closed for one week, we implemented the phenology module online through Blackboard. Each section was a separate submodule that could be turned in separately. I included a prelab quiz from how we are implementing this lab in the classroom this fall; prelab quizzes are meant to test whether students prepared for the lab by reading the introduction and part I procedures.  An optional excel graphing assignment was for students with little to no graphing skills (the practice_data.xls file is for the optional excel exercise).



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Instructor Notes and Supplemental Critical Analysis Activity -- Gaston College

Linked is a really neat .gif graph that shows temperature change over time. It is easy to interpret and helps supplement the phenology module.

Also attached is a supplemental activity (class discussion) that helps illuminate how some entities present real data in a biased fashion to convince the reader of specific views. Students work as a group to bias real data, engage in a class discussion, and find real examples of biased data in social media/current events.


Instructor's Notes:

This TIEE module was implemented over the course of two days in a lab setting for community college students enrolled in a major's biology course. I began with the pre-workshop excel graphing activity by Calinger, had students work on the module without modifications, and ended with my critical analysis supplemental activity attached above.

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Phenology and Climate Change Module as part of a 5 week long Migratory Bird Phenology Project at St. Norbert College

I incorporated the TIEE Phenology Module as part of a 4 lab period Phenology Project in my 2nd semester Majors Introductory Biology Course. The course had 5 sections each with 20-24 students; lab duration is 2 hours per week.

In the 1st lab I introduced the topic of phenology using the three video clips below and a brief introductory reading. I also introduced my Campus Migratory Bird Phenology Project where student groups collect migratory bird data on campus for 30min a week, for 5 weeks (handout and rubrics provided). Lastly we conducted the HHMI Excel Tutorials 1-3 to learn how to use Excel and how to make bar graphs.

In the 2nd and 3rd labs we learned how to make line and scatterplot graphs and how to perform and interpret a linear regression by adding a linear trend line using the posted ppt from James Vance on the Phenology Collections site, and we completed the TIEE activity. After the 3rd lab students were given a homework assignment to graph two given data sets appropriately and to properly interpret the regression output biologically and statistically (assignment, student data and faculty data key provided).

In the 4th lab (last lab session of the semester) student groups presented a 5-7min oral summary of their 5 Week Campus Migratory Bird Phenology Project to the rest of the class (presentation rubric provided)


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Phenology and climate change for non-science majors

I slightly modified the phenology lab for a general education biology course for non-science majors, removing the anomaly plot section to make it a little shorter. The lab (in two parts) was prefaced early in the semester by a short library research assignment and, later, a video from Climate Wisconsin. These briefly introduced the topic of phenology and the value of long-term phenophase data, as well as a variety of questions related to climate change. The lab was also coupled with independent student collection of phenophase data (Project Budburst) for a spring-active species on our campus. Finally, students were shown how to access and compare other data for their species available via the National Phenology Network.

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Instructor Notes and Classroom Materials used at Del Mar College

This module was implemented in two sections of BIOL 1407 (BIOLOGICAL CONCEPTS II - EVOLUTION, DIVERSITY, STRUCTURE, FUNCTION AND ENVIRONMENT)/ Lecture & Lab at Del Mar College, an independent community college. The course is intended for biology majors but may be taken as a science course for the core curriculum requirement.


Grisé’s class was a dual credit course with high school juniors and seniors. Overath’s class was a section reserved for biology majors because it is part of Del Mar’s participation in the HHMI SEA-PHAGES program (

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Materials adapted for online, nonmajors Environmental Science class

I adapted this module to a multi-week "research project" for my online, nonmajors Environmental Science course.  It involved LOTS of scaffolding, and taking things very slowly.  Along with these assignments, there were also three graded discussions.  I have posted the guidelines for these discussions below.

Online Graded Discussion 1:

Week 12 Instructions:

1. Let's do a little research.  Using the central question given to you in our Global Climate Change and Phenology Research Project: 

"Have long-term temperatures changed, and if so, how will these temperature changes impact plant and animal phenology, ecological interactions, and, as a result, species diversity?"

find and post at least ONE credible, reliable, objective, and valid resource (scholarly scientific article or webpage from a source that satisfies those adjectives) by 11:59pm Wed night.  In your post, summarize the main points or take home messages from the source you identified.  THEN, read through the other posts and before 11:59pm Sun night, comment on at least one additional post (i.e., a different reference than you posted), with a message that makes a connection between your posted source/reference or asks a meaningful question that facilitates discussion of material presented in that source/reference.

Online Graded Discussion 2:

View the temperature data attached to the Pinned Post.  Find your group's climate division, and compare it to other climate divisions as well as the statewide temperature trends.  

For your first post (by 11:59pm Wed night):

Describe how your group's assigned climate division compares to the other 9 climate divisions AND the statewide temperature data.  What conclusions would you come to based on your group's climate division data alone about temperature change in Ohio?  What conclusions do you come to when you consider all 10 climate divisions and the statewide averages?  

For your second post/reply (by 11:59pm Sun night): Reply to at least one classmate who posted about a DIFFERENT climate division than your group worked with.  Compare and contrast your temperature trends, and consider both their post, as well as your group's climate division, in the context of the statewide averages.  What value do we get by sharing, compiling, and collaborating to answer questions of climate change using more and more data from different areas?

Online Graded Discussion 3:

It's time to wrap up our research project!  

1. For your first post (by 11:59pm Wed night), please post a message describing:

a. one new thing that you learned about or learned to appreciate at a deeper level regarding climate change (and its impact on ecosystems).

b. one thing that you learned or skill you gained about scientific research (data analysis? graphing? working in a group? interpreting data?  something else?).

**You must post your initial message before you will be able to read and respond to other messages in the Discussion Topic.**

2. For your second post/reply (by 11:59pm Sun night):

Read through your classmates' posts and respond to at least ONE of your classmates' posts to extend/deepen the discussion on either the point regarding climate change/phenology OR conducting scientific research and data analysis.  Your comments should include your experiences/thoughts and discuss WHY it is important to understand these concepts and the scientific process in evaluating stories that are presented on the news, radio, newspapers, or online sources (including social media).





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Modified lab

I completed this module in the 3 hour laboratory section of my 2nd term biology for majors course; which focuses on ecology and evolution.

I've attached the modified version of the module that I used for my students, which excludes the temperature anomaly sections. We completed this module during a 3 hour lab towards the end of the quarter. Students worked in pairs.

Students already had experience using Microsoft Excel to make figures from previous labs. To facilitate the activities, I introduced the term phenology, and asked students to discuss why we should care about changes in phenology. Next, I reviewed independent and dependent variables, line graphs versus scatter plots (why we use different types of graphs for different types of data, and what the slope of a line actually tells us (an indicator of rate). I did this review informally as an interactive “chalk talk” on the white board; drawing figures on the board and asking students questions (and asking them to sketch out figures on the board) instead of doing a formal powerpoint talk.

I was happy with the shortened version of the lab, and I think it would have been too much for students to complete the entire, unabbreviated lab within a 3 hour period.

Students submitted their figures online, and turned in the lab handout the following week at the beginning of lab.

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Phenology in the Majors Introductory Biology Lab

This TIEE Phenology module was used in a majors introductory biology lecture/laboratory course.  Before implementing this module, students had done a lab earlier in the semester introducing them to quantitative analyses and so should have at least been familiar with the use of EXCEL and basic statistics.  I slightly modified the student handout part of the module to include student learning objectives, hyperlinks to the data and a section on the use of EXCEL.  Before lab, students printed out and read the lab activity. During lab, I briefly introduced phenology and shared two videos highlighting the topic.  Then students worked in pairs and as groups to complete the activity.  At the end of the 3-hour lab, students handed in their completed labs for assessment.

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Phenology Introduction

This module was implemented in a 1st year course (lab) designed for majors, but is also an option for non-majors to fulfill general education requirements. Before we started the lab, a PPT on linear regression and basic statistical analyses in Excel was presented (that PPT is available in this Collection). I then gave this brief PPT on phenology and I introduced the module. The entire module fit in a single 4 hour lab period with most students taking 3.5 hours to finish.

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Instructor notes from an introductory biology course

This module was used in the majors introductory non-lab biology course at the end of the semester as a culminating experience to track their Excel and data interpretation skills. The purpose of this course is to introduce potential biology majors to the process of science and to understand that all the science information they read in their textbooks comes from people doing work and analyzing information. The class meets for 90 minutes twice a week. The module was done in class with class discussions of the results interspersed throughout the module. 

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Adaptation to: Investigating the footprint of climate change on phenology and ecological interactions in north-central North America

I used this module for group work in an introductory Biology course for majors that ran for 7 weeks and had no laboratory component. In this posting I have included Instructor Notes that describe how I modified and supplemented the module to create 6 assignments that students worked on in a group of 4-5 students. In addition, I’ve added assignment instructions and rubrics that are supplemental to the module.

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Linear Regression PowerPoint Presentation

This is a PowerPoint presentation that I put together to get our freshman Biological Diversity Lab students up to speed for the phenology lab.  It includes an introduction to graphing, rates of change, total change, lines, and simple linear regression.  This is a 30 minute presentation to be used in the 1 hour of lecture and 3 hours of lab (4 hours total) course that a biologist and I (mathematician) co-taught.  We have about 15 students in each of two lab sections.  Feel free to modify in any way to suit your needs.    

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Example Post

This is an example post. In this description I could include the following:

“This is a modified activity from the TIEE materials. I had my students use data from Wisconsin to ask their own questions about phenology that was turned in as a lab report (rubric included). This was in a 3-hour lab of 30 senior level undergraduates. I also had my students read the information on this website as a pre-lab exercise (”

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