Today 8th graders from Blue Hill Consolidated School examined long term data from Dr. Post’s study sites near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. The data set consists of annual observed first dates of emergence and leaf opening by various plant species. This is part of an ongoing effort to monitor the timing of plant emergence and species-level variation in emergence timing in relation to observed variation in climate and weather. Observations were recorded on a daily or near-daily basis on multiple, randomly distributed, permanently marked plots. The first date of emergence or leaf opening for each species observed on each plot was recorded as the day of the year.
Eighth graders chose a study site (Bashful, Dopey or Doc) and a plant species (Betula, Calamagrostis, Campanula, Carex, Cerastium, Draba, Equisetum, Festuca, Luzula, Poa, Polygonum, Pyrola, Salix, Stellaria) for their data examination. They plotted the date of emergence or leaf opening for the species selected from the years 2003-2013. The activity sparked excellent conversations about data, graphing and observing trends and patterns. Exploring real world data from Greenland was particularly exciting!