Data Lessons

Moose Power

Moose Power

Appropriate for advanced high school ecology and environmental science classes. This four-part lesson asks students to 1) investigate moose nutrition and energy requirements, 2) mimic moose browsing behavior in the forest, 3) examine data to investigate the impact of browsing on shrub structure, and 4) examine impact of shrub structure on bird nest siting.

Learning Lichens Curriculum

Lichens can be good indicators of air quality as well as examples of the complexity of symbiosis: organisms living intimately together in a mutually beneficial way.  Sarah Thorne developed a science lesson involving students surveying of lichens in her school woods during a contract with the Forest Service in the White Mountain National Forest and can be accessed on the Forest Service web site.

Plasticine Caterpillar Experiment

Plasticine Caterpillar Experiment allows students to create life-like caterpillars from plasticine to investigate predation by birds, small mammals, and invertebrates. After developing their own questions and experimental design, students make and then glue their caterpillars to vegetation for short time periods. The fake caterpillars retain identifiable marks (beak, teeth, mandible imprints) following predator attack and so serve as an engaging tool to assess relative predation rates by birds, small mammals, and invertebrates.

Bye Bye Birdie Data Nugget

Bye Bye Birdie is a Data Nugget made with long-term bird abundance data from the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, one of the longest bird studies ever conducted! Developed in partnership between teachers and Michigan State University scientists, Data Nuggets are free classroom activities that give students practice interpreting quantitative information and making claims based on evidence. They are created from cutting-edge scientific research and include real, messy, scientific data. The goal of Data Nuggets is to engage students in the practices of science through an innovative approach that combines scientific content from authentic research with key concepts in quantitative reasoning.

Colder Soils in a Warmer World

Climate scientists predict that in the future there will be less snowfall on average, and a later onset of the winter snowpack. Knowing that snow is a natural insulator, scientists have been researching how less snow might affect life on the forest floor. Students graph and analyze snow depth and soil frost data to explore how a decrease in snowpack might affect forest floor dynamics.

Snowpack Studies

Students distinguish between snow depth, density, and water equivalent of snow and then examine snow depth data from Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest to determine long term trends. Students then develop and execute methods to collect data on snow depth, density, and water equivalent of snow in the school yard.

Sugar Babies

Students develop science process skills as they work with data from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest to answer the question, “What influences the survival of sugar maple seedlings?” Sugar maples are an important component of the forests in Northeastern and North Central United States. They are valued by people for their foliage, beauty, and sweet sap. At Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, scientists are gathering data to find out what influences the survival of sugar maple seedlings.

Go With the Flow

Does more water flow out of a watershed when trees are removed? By graphing and analyzing data to answer this question, students will think about the role that trees and transpiration play in the water cycle. Go With the Flow is a multi-part lesson, and all or parts of it may be used.