Welcome to Climate Change and Michigan Forests!

On this site you can access our 10-day middle school life science unit and a summary of our climate change education research project results, including links to peer-reviewed publications.

What is Climate Change and Michigan Forests (CCMF)?

  • CCMF is a 10-day middle school life science unit based on climate science research conducted at the University of Michigan.

  • The curriculum was created as part of a collaborative research project between the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability and Ann Arbor Public Schools in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  • The entire 10-day unit, including lesson plans, supplementary teaching materials, and scientific modeling web-based tool, are available for free on this website.

Why use Climate Change and Michigan Forests?

This curriculum includes hands-on data collection, technology in the classroom, exploratory learning, and a field trip. Each of these components was designed to engage students, improve their knowledge of forest ecology and climate science research techniques, and make learning about these topics fun.

  • Students investigate how Michigan's forests will be altered by climate change by utilizing data from on-going research conducted at the University of Michigan.

  • The unit includes a field trip to a local forest during which students collect scientific data on tree growth patterns using research equipment.

  • All lesson were designed to meet Michigan's Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE's) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Visit our Standards page for more information.

  • To date, the unit has been improved based on pilot-tests by 9 teachers and approximately 1,000 students.

What do teachers who have used Climate Change and Michigan Forests think? 

My students loved the field trip and being out in the woods, and looking at the trees with new understanding fresh in their minds.” - Jean Wilson, Scarlett Middle School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

"My students found value in using a real life application to modeling with the equation of a line, it made what they learned in Math useful.  They really enjoyed being out in the woods using tools for measuring trees like foresters do."  - Sue Baker, Tappan Middle School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

"This program is a perfect first exposure to climate change from a multi-discipline viewpoint that includes Mathematics, Language Arts and Technology!" - Margaret Caird, Forsythe Middle School, Ann Arbor, Michigan

"Investigating how different tree species respond to climate change was interesting and fun for my students. They especially liked learning about the methods scientists use to determine what's going on with forest ecosystems. In addition, the use of basic algebraic models to describe tree growth reinforced math lessons and provided a great example of how to apply their math understanding to biological principles." - Aina Bernier, A2 Open School, Ann Arbor, Michigan

What do we know about this program's effectiveness?

  • Through ongoing research, this project is investigating the factors that influence student interest in forests and climate change. Visit our Research Page for more information.

  • In 2014, all students who experienced the curriculum increased in their knowledge of climate change, forests, and related topics as measured through pre- and post-tests and compared to a control group.