Classroom Activity: Climate Change and Phenology in Plants (Flowering)

A classroom/ laboratory activity to learn about phenology and phenological events, and to understand the potential impacts of climate change on periodic life-cycle events in plants, specifically, on the bloom date of North American lilac shrubs.

Students will use phenology data on flowering patterns to create graphs, and will then interpret and discuss their findings.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Name some phenological events in plants and animals.
  2. What are the possible impacts of climate change on the flowering of plants?
Tool Name Why fly south? How climate change alters the phenology of plants and animals
Discipline Biological Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline Phenology, Phenological Events, Plant and Animal Life Cycle Events, Flowering of Plants, Migration of Birds
Climate Topic Climate and the Biosphere
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level High School
Location North America
Language English
Developed by GK-12 Fellows Liz Schultheis and Dustin Kincaid
Hosted at W. K. Biological Station, Michigan State University
Access Online, Offline
Computer Skills Intermediate

Lilac Flowers(Image credit: Royal Botanical Gardens Lilac Celebration Image at Wikipedia)

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