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Phenology Data Exchange/AllGrades

Janet Kistler, 3rd Grade, Cub Run Elementary
Cub Run, Kentucky

Creating a Model to Understand Location of Partner Classrooms

My students and I enjoyed the phenology exchange. I took part for the first time last year with my third grade class. I plan to do more with it this year. We have already taken our first set of seasonal data, along with having students "adopt" a tree for the year. We want to have data for each month of the school year, and exchange information starting on the equinox.
It might be fun to exchange data with more than one school this year.

Creating the Model
Last year, I wondered how to use the data to locate our partner classroom. I used the data from our first exchange and created a model with a large globe, toothpicks, overhead projector and clay. I set up the globe so that the "sun" (overhead projector) and "earth" (globe) would be positioned correctly to represent noon in Kentucky on the autumnal equinox. Then I stuck a toothpick on Kentucky with a bit of clay. Students measured the shadow on the model, like we had measured the length of the meter stick shadow outside. Then I placed another toothpick further south on the globe, and we measured that shadow. We noticed that the shadow was shorter. I placed a third toothpick north of our location and we saw that its shadow was longer. We could tell from this model that our partner classroom was north of us, because their meter stick shadow was longer. We confirmed this with temperature data.
An older classroom that works with ratios may be able to determine roughly how much farther north or south the partner classroom is located using a model like this.
We also made line graphs of the shadow and daylength data at the end of the year. They show a beautiful symmetry.
Janet Kistler

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