This page is an example of an NGSS-aligned unit using CLEAN resources. The downloadable unit is ready for classroom use.

Phenology: A Place-Based Study to Understand Climate Change Unit

Create Your Own Unit Return to the Overview


When the seasons change, we notice changes in the length of the day, the air temperature, and the plants and animals. Keeping track of these changes can help us see other changes related to climate. Using data, we can answer questions like: Is this year different from past years? Is there a trend in seasonal changes? How might these trends affect the organisms in our environments?

Download the Phenology Unit (Acrobat (PDF) 234kB Dec9 21)

Context for Use

Grade Level: Middle School

Class: Integrated Earth and Life Science

Instructional Time: 4-week unit that can be an ongoing year-long investigation

Instructional Strategy: Project-Based Field Study

Learning Objectives

Students will ...

  1. Collect and analyze data from local weather stations to observe atmospheric variables and changes in length of day during seasonal changes and use hands-on and computer models to understand why seasonal variation occurs. (MS-ESS1-1)
  2. Conduct field studies to examine the changes in plants and animals during seasonal change. (MS-LS2-4)
  3. Analyze previous years' atmospheric and seasonal onset data to determine if/how the timing of seasonal onset is changing; identify the causes of those changes; and debate the costs and benefits of those changes. (MS-ESS3-5)

CLEAN Resources Used in this Unit

Explore Other Examples of CLEAN-NGSS Unit Plans

History of Oceans and Atmosphere UnitDebating the Grid Unit