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TERC, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Articles and Websites
  • Interactive Media
  • Presentation Slides
  • Assessments
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables
  • Videos, 2 minutes, 56 seconds

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast


PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint

Climate, Weather, and Trees Lab

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  • This 4-part lab begins with students taking a walk outside to observe and reflect on nature, then students identify some local plants, describe clouds, and make connections between weather, climate, and the environment.
  • Students will also use their math skills to graph climate data, think critically about how weather and climate affect living organisms, and have the opportunity to focus on the climate in their local area.
  • This is the first lab in the Climate and the Biosphere unit.
Teaching Tips


  • The "Lab Overview" section includes lists of the materials the teacher will need to complete each activity and there are numerous extension ideas and links to additional resources.
  • Each section is outlined in the educator's section.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students do not need access to a computer for this lab.
  • Teachers must sign in to access the assessments.


  • Economics classes could discuss the importance of native species, such as the sugar maple, to the economy in parts of New England. Students could discuss what would happen to the businesses and people working for those businesses if the climate became too warm for sugar maples to grow in New England. 
  • Students can use their artistic skills to draw the clouds and trees they observe in this lab.
  • This could be a great way to introduce the connections between climate and society, while integrating math, science, and language skills.
  • Other resources on this topic include this lesson on the biosphere, this video on the differences between climate and weather, and this video on extreme weather and climate change. 
Scientist Notes
This resource provides a deeper understanding of the impact of climate variability on maple syrup production. Students would also learn how to analyze weather data and show trends in different spatial scales. The resource is properly sourced and is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process
      • HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • Related Resources


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