California and the Biosphere

In this activity, students investigate aspects of change in the biosphere of California's Central Valley. Analyzing data over both space and time, they begin to tie together some of the causes and effects of a variable and changing climate. The valley serves as a model environment that includes riverine, wetland, rural-agricultural, and urban regimes all with high water-dependencies and susceptibility to drought.

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Annette Brickley
Challenger Center for Space Science Education

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Educator should stress the role of the Central Valley in providing the nation's food and what a drought means to the entire US (introduces systems component of the role of California in the US food production). Start lesson with a video or a graphic (e.g. which foods in local supermarket come from CA) about importance of California food production. Concept map: starts students thinking and brainstorming about the different spheres and elements that affect the spheres -- approach might be too simplistic and could be easily expanded by showing a concept map and then letting students draw their own without a template Consider doing parts 2 and 3 before part 1--the reading exercise.

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