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Our Changing World

Class Details

3 Hours

4th Grade to Adult


How does a change in temperature affect changes in nature?

To understand why energy conservation matters we need to understand the connection between energy consumption, atmosphere, climate and ecology. Using observation, theatrics, and representative models the class explores how earth’s changing atmosphere affects earth’s climate, and the effects of climate change on the ecology of the earth. Ecological change is the major focus of this class. Photography, drawing, and writing provide a means for students to document the plants and animals that call Wolf Ridge home. Students also look for phenology (calendar of natural events such as flowering). A changing climate affects both the presence or absence of species and their phenology. Students construct an ecological time stamp. This ecological stamp provides a means to examine ecological change over time. Scientists worry that if the climate changes too fast ecological systems could face major extinctions if the ecology can’t ADAPT or humans can’t STOP climate change. Learn some ways scientists think we can help people and other life adapt to this quickly changing climate.

Lesson Plan


  1. Changes in nature are affected by changes in Earth’s climate and atmosphere created by CO2 emissions from human energy behavior.
  2. Documenting ecological conditions at a given point in time provides an opportunity to track and verify change over time.
  3. Collecting data and making observations are processes of knowing in science.
  4. Humans have a great ability to alter natural systems, and a responsibility to consider the effects of their actions.
  5. Life on Earth has adapted to change over time; life cannot survive abrupt and fast changes.


  • Describe the relationship between humans and climate change.
  • Define climate change, ecology, phenology, and adapt.
  • Examine phenology events to understand how climate change can affect earth’s ecology.
  • Construct a digital ecology snapshot to capture presence/absence data and current phenology.
  • Understand cause and effect relationships through scientific data.