Warming Meadow Experiment – Instructor’s Guide

Goals of the Warming Meadow Experiment Investigation

Build student skills in:

  • asking scientific questions,
  • querying disparate data sets,
  • using descriptive statistics,
  • understanding experimental design,
  • conducting open-ended inquiries, and
  • constructing an argument from data.

Data Sets

This exercise is based on annual summary data from the control and experimental plots (aboveground carbon, soil carbon, soil temperature, soil moisture, snow melt date) provided by Dr. John Harte, UC Berkeley

Teaching Strategies

Potential Additional Pre-reading Assignments for Students

If you wish to assign some pre-lab reading, the following article from The Aspen Daily News (2007) may be of interest: Climate Change May Spur Loss of Mountain Meadows, Forest Shifts.

Suggestions for Pre-assignment Lecture Topics and Tools

Explain basic statistics (mean, minimum, maximum, range) and regression analysis (what it is, r-squared, P) and the concept of “statistical significance”.

Check out billy’s Data Visualizer, loaded with billy barr’s phenology observations and climate summaries, this tool could be useful as a demonstration during lecture or as a first step for students to become familiarized with other useful RMBL data.

To familiarize your students with the environment around RMBL, try showing Sarah Rudeen’s slides (www.youtube.com/embed/lK75xLdTRlE) of RMBL plants, animals, and landscapes.

Instructional Strategies Behind Activities

This is a very open-ended activity and was meant as a follow on piece to the Biology of Climate Change module.