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Programs & Collections


Aerosols and their impact on climate
This activity introduces students to global dimming. They should have an understand- ing of the atmosphere, solar radiation, and global warming (greenhouse gases).    View Details »

Key Concepts: climate, aerosol


Colony Collapse: What Makes Bees Sick?
In this lesson, students will learn about bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) by watching a recorded talk by MSU graduate student Alex McMenamin and following along with a hands-on colony collapse activity. Students will use critical thinking skills...    View Details »

Key Concepts: bee, virus, climate change, honeybee, hive, colony, Teen Science Cafe


Exploring Ecosystems: Biodiversity in My Backyard (full curriculum)
Explore the ecosystems of Montana alongside researchers from the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and enhance your students's understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This unit parallels research that is being done in...    View Details »

Key Concepts: ecology, ecosystems, climate change, climate, biodiversity, wildlife, data


Exploring Ecosystems: Lesson 1, Explore the Ecosystem
In Lesson 1 of the Exploring Ecosystems: Biodiversity in My Backyard curriculum, you'll learn about ecosystems and how an ecosystems's species are interconnected through games and diagrams. Explore how species' survival depends on the health of the...    View Details »

Key Concepts: climate change, environmental science


Exploring Ecosystems: Lesson 2, Become a Wildlife Ecologist
In Lesson 2 of the Exploring Ecosystems: Biodiversity in My Backyard curriculum, students will explore how scientists gather data on wildlife and the techniques they use in the field. Investigate signs of life and search for evidence of life in...    View Details »

Key Concepts: ecosystems, wildlife, ecology, citizen science, biodiversity


Exploring Ecosystems: Lesson 3, Biodiversity Basics
In Lesson 3 of the Exploring Ecosystems: Biodiversity in My Backyard curriculum, students will understand how biodiversity is calculated by using a model of a Rocky Mountain forest. Students will research species that live in the ecosystem and play...    View Details »

Key Concepts: ecosystems, biodiversity, wildlife, math, statistics


Exploring Ecosystems: Lesson 4, Climate Change and Endangered Species
In Lesson 4 of the Exploring Ecosystems: Biodiversity in My Backyard curriculum, students will study various climates around the world by exploring global data and comparing different cities. Identify how your actions contribute to climate change...    View Details »

Key Concepts: ecosystems, biodiversity, wildlife, climate change, endangered species, geography


Exploring Ecosystems: Lesson 5, Schoolyard biodiversity study
In Lesson 5 of Exploring Ecosystems: Biodiversity in My Backyard, students will become adventure scientists, by exploring the biodiversity of their schoolyard. Use a field journal to plan and prepare for your adventure, collect data in the field,...    View Details »

Key Concepts: biodiversity, ecology, ecosystems, wildlife, plants, data, research


It's Raining, It's Snowing, but Where is it all Going?
As a headwaters state, Montana's rivers flow to three oceans. So when rain or snow falls in Montana, where it ends up is of local, national, and global consequence. But the ultimate destination of our snowflakes and raindrops is influenced by many...    View Details »

Key Concepts: climate change, water, precipitation, rain, snow, soil


Montana's Climate (one-page fact sheet)
The climate in Montana is as diverse as the mountains and plains that define its landscapes and regions. It is also incredibly complex. This is a one-page handout with some key concepts.    View Details »

Key Concepts: climate change


Scat, Transects, and Changing of Seasons
In this lesson, students will learn about the relationship between phenology and elk migration, practice field methods used by scientists to study elk movement, and have an opportunity to discuss how climate change might affect elk migration....    View Details »

Key Concepts: phenology, climate change, environmental science, citizen science


Sharing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem lesson plan/activity
Part of the Climate In My Backyard (CLiMB) series, this lesson plan includes an active strategy game through which students will experience the frustrations of trying to balance the needs of wildlife conservation, ranchers, home developers, and...    View Details »

Key Concepts: land use, natural resources, yellowstone, agriculture, wildlife, climate


The Chirp of a Pine Beetle
Turn up your volume and you will hear the soft click of a male pine beetle. A male pine beetle chirps, but the female does not, which is one way that scientists can tell the sex of an individual beetle. This audio recording was made with an iPhone...    View Details »

Key Concepts: climate change, global warming, pine beetle, beetle, forest, forestry


What is an Ecosystem?
An ecosystem, simply defined, is a community of all the living and non-living things in a specific geographic area. An ecosystem can be very small or extremely large. Learn about some of the systems used to identify the boundaries of an ecosystem,...    View Details »

Key Concepts: ecosystem, biodiversity, wildlife, plants, micro-organisms, microbes


What's Underfoot in Montana?
Soils are complex mixtures of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and countless organisms--the decaying remains of once-living things. There are different types of soil, each with its own set of characteristics. Dig down deep into any soil, and...    View Details »

Key Concepts: soil, dirt, microbe, microorganism,