This teacher guide will provide you with a better understanding as to how the tools of the TrEnCh-Ed program are organized and how they can be potentially used in your classroom. These tools can be used in teaching the high school Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science course, and introductory climate science and ecology college courses. The tools are also designed to align with the AAAS Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education.
The worksheets contain additional background and questions to facilitate inquiry-based learning. We additionally include a folder with resources for teaching the basics of climate science as background for the TrEnCh-Ed activities. Fill out this request form with information about your educational role to access the answer keys.
Educators interested in helping us better these resources are encouraged to fill out this feedback form of TrEnCh-Ed. As well, we have created a folder to collect any edits you make to the materials we provide to help us continue to improve TrEnCh-Ed.
- Acclimation: An individual level (generally non-genetic) physiological or behavioral response to a change in the environment that enables the individual to cope with this change (e.g. a plant growing deeper roots (to access moisture deeper in the soil) in response to a drought). See also: “Plasticity”.
- Adaptation: A change in the genetic makeup of a population as a result of natural selection in which a beneficial trait becomes more common (e.g. male birds developing colorful feathers because this increases their success in mating).
- Allele: A specific version of a gene.
- Amplitude: The degree of difference from an average (e.g. the extent of variability in temperature from the mean)
- Biomimetic: Something that mimics or is inspired by a biological process.
- Climatic Gradient: A directional change in climate (e.g. temperature, precipitation) along a geographic axis (e.g. a fall in temperature with increasing elevation on a mountain, an increase in precipitation with decreasing latitude).
- Critical Thermal Minimum/Maximum: The minimum and maximum temperatures at which an organism can function.
- Diapause: A period during which an organism is dormant and development is paused, usually seen in invertebrates.
- Dispersal: The movement of an individual or a propagule (seed, spore) across space, leading to gene flow.
- Distribution Range: The geographic area in which a species or population can be found.
- Ectotherm: An organism whose body temperature is dependent on external heat sources rather than internal physiology.
- Elevational Transect: A series of sites located along an elevational gradient, at which scientific observations are made.
- Fitness: The number of offspring an individual or population produces which go on to successfully breed themselves.
- Fitness Constraint: Any factor that limits the fitness of an individual or population (e.g. a limited number of mates; limited food resources; environmental stress).
- Frequency: The rate at which something occurs or is repeated.
- Gene: A sequence of nucleotides in a fixed location on a chromosome that encodes (contains instructions to make) a protein that performs a particular function.
- Gene Flow: The movement of alleles between populations.
- Genotype: The genetic makeup of an individual.
- Instar: A phase in the development of an invertebrate.
- Local Adaptation: The process by which a population becomes more genetically well-suited to the specific environmental conditions where it is found, as a result of limited gene flow.
- Metabolism: The chemical processes taking place inside an organism that maintain life.
- Morphology: The physical form and structure of a living thing.
- Natural Selection: The process by which alleles encoding for traits that increase fitness become more common and alleles encoding for traits that decrease fitness become less common.
- Phenology: The timing of important events in the life of an organism.
- Phenotype: The set of observable traits belonging to an individual.
- Physiology: The physical and chemical functions and activity of living things.
- Plasticity: The ability of an individual to change its phenotype in response to the environment without changing its genotype. See also: “Acclimation”.
- Range Shift: A change in the geographic area in which a species of population can be found.
- Sedentary: Of an animal, meaning that it lives in the same place throughout its life. For example, a mussel attached to a rock.
- Space-For-Time Substitution: An ecological technique by which sites that are separated in space are used as analogues for sites that are separated in time.
- Thermal Generalist/Specialist: An organism that is capable of functioning at a wide range of temperatures vs. one that can only function within a narrow temperature window.
- Thermoregulation: The process by which an organism maintains its preferred body temperature, either through internal physiological processes or behavioral changes.
- Trait: Any characteristic of an organism (e.g. coat color); a functional trait is one that is important in determining an organism’s ecology or evolution.