Unit 1: Climate & Pacific Northwest Agriculture

Green Palouse wheatfields


Unit 1 is designed to be the introductory unit for a course on agronomy, applied biology, ecology, and/or plant science. It provides a broad overview of climate change and its impact on agriculture in the inland Pacific Northwest, and can be adapted for any other region with minimal changes.

Unit Placement in the Course: 

This unit introduces the concept of anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change; however, discussion of the validity of the concept is recommended only after completing this and several other units in this curriculum. The unit focuses on changes occuring in agricultural production during ongoing climate change.

Required Supplies: 

The lab activity requires large containers, thermometers, and a small heating device. To utilize the activity as outlined, each group of students (recommend groups of 4) will need:

Note: Supplies listed have been field tested, similar products may be used.

The lab activity can also be conducted as a class, or used in conjunction with the readings with one group running the experiment and all groups rotating through. This would give multiple runs of the experiment to compare results and discuss replication in scientific studies.

Materials Provided: 

  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Classroom lab activity that models the greenhouse effect
  • Teacher notes on most slides to help guide class discussion.
  • Readings on agriculture and climate change.

Estimated Teaching Time: 

  • Five 50-minute class periods.