Using the Project EDDIE Climate Drivers of Phenology module in Biology I

Anna Grinath, Idaho State University

About this Course

Biology I

Lecture Course

Introductory Undergraduate

Majors and Non-Majors

students in the course

EDDIE Module(s) Adopted and/or Adapted

Climate Drivers of Phenology

My course is an introductory biology lecture course for science majors, although some non-science majors enroll for general education credit. Most of the 75 students this semester were not biology majors, but were majoring in a science discipline. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I taught this course much differently than I would in a typical semester. Students had the option of attending virtually, which about half of them did for any given class. Therefore, our class time was used primarily for direct instruction (I taught from a stage in a ballroom, very physically distanced from any interaction with the students) and students completed assignments outside of class to work with the material.

Jump to: Course Context | Teaching Details | How It Went | Future Use

Relationship of EDDIE Module(s) to my Course

I implemented this module in the last week of the semester. This is the first introductory biology course in the two-course series and typically ends with microevolution and may or may not touch on ecology. Therefore, I squeezed this module in at the very end of the semester. Many students were excited to focus on questions at an organismal/population/ecosystem level which was a change from our main focus on the molecular and cellular level of biology.

Teaching Details

I used our 75 minutes of lecture time to introduce the ideas of phenology, phenological mismatch, correlation/regression, and how to work with a dataset from the National Phenology Network in CODAP. I used guidance from the pre-module materials to organize this component and students answered some of the pre-module questions via an interactive form while in class. I assigned a modified version of Part A and Part B as the last assignment of the semester for students to complete at home. Part C was optional if students were curious to keep exploring. I felt I had to make these modifications because phenology really does not fit into this course and I was squeezing it in at the very end and would not have a chance to unpack the assignment with the students after they completed it. I did all of this on Tuesday, and then prompted the students to go over the assignment and we would use our Thursday class (the last class meeting of the semester) to answer questions about the assignment. Students did not bring up any questions during our last Thursday class session. Because we did not work with any graphing program earlier in the semester, I had students use CODAP ( to explore the data set and make scatterplots for their assignment.

Adaption Materials

Premodule Slides (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 22.6MB May12 21)

Student Assignment Instructions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 29kB May12 21)

How did the activity go?

I think it went fine for the way I had to do it in the last week of the semester, in a pandemic, with no opportunity to revisit these ideas and this assignment with my students. In students' written reflections at the end of the semester (and as part of the assignment), many commented that they were not aware of the topic of phenology previously and, while they had noticed these patterns in nature, found it really interesting to think about describing them and also the implications of how patterns could change in different ways over time.

Overall, students were able to name and describe the phenomena of phenology and phenological mismatch. It was a good time in the semester to do this module because trees had just started leafing out and insects were starting to emerge on campus. Some students did struggle with interpreting regressions and making scatterlots. This is not an emphasis in the typical sequence of this course and I did my best to lay the groundwork, but we needed more time together in class (and more opportunities to work with these ideas interactively, which was not an option this semester.)

Future Use

This instructor story and adaption materials were developed during a Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network in partnership with QUBES in the Spring of 2021.



Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network logo

I do hope to use this module again because students seemed really interested in phenology and I think it was a good concept to end the semester on and send them on their way to the second course in the intro sequence. The next time I teach this course, I hope it will be a more typical semester and we can do Part A and Part B in class as groups, and then students can do Part C individually as an out of class assignment. I hope to have time that students can then share their methods and conclusions for Part C in class and discuss their varied approaches with other students. I thought CODAP worked really well as a platform to explore the dataset and would use it again.