• Views 151
  • Favorites
Photo by Rachel via Pexels


Gulf of Maine Research Institute


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Biology, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 11 to 15 class periods
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Presentation Slides
  • Videos
  • Assessments
  • Worksheets
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire


Google Docs, Google Slides, YouTube Video

Maple Sugaring in a Warming Climate

Ask a Question

  • In this collection of 6 lessons, students will learn about why trees make sugar, how people harvest that sugar, and the impacts of climate change on Maine's maple syrup producers.
  • Students will create a diagram illustrating the process of syrup-making, analyze data for Portland, Bangor, and Quebec City temperatures to decide the time to start tapping, play a game to model syrup production in Jackman, analyze maps, graphs, and interviews, adapt the game to account for temperature variability, and create a maple business proposal using Passamaquoddy Maple as an example.
Teaching Tips


  • The modeling game will keep students engaged and help them understand the syrup production process.
  • The "Wabanaki Studies Dos and Don'ts" document is a starting resource for teachers to ensure they are not doing any cultural harm.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The link for "A Kid’s Guide to Maple Tapping" by Julie Fryer is broken.
  • Students should understand how climate change may affect temperature variability and changes in seasonal norms.
  • The interviewee uses the word "damn" in the "Suckers for Sap" video in Lesson 6 Maple Business Planning Resources.


  • In the data analysis activity, some students may be overwhelmed by the amount of data on the page. For these students, it may help to give them only some of the data points at a time.
  • If available, teachers can have a speaker from the Passamaquoddy Tribe to talk to students. Alternatively, teachers can find reputable videos of Passamaquoddy speakers.
  • Economics teachers can extend the modeling game or business proposal activity to cover costs and benefits, business, and supply and demand.
Scientist Notes
In this lesson, students will learn about maple sugaring and how the industry and practice will be affected by climate change. The resource includes an introduction to global warming and how we know it is happening. The lesson includes links to many good resources, additional information, and notes about what data can and cannot be used to conclude climate and climate change. There is also information about the practices and beliefs of the Wabanaki communities. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
      • MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • MS-LS1-7 Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.6.6-8 Explain how changes in supply and demand cause changes in prices and quantities of goods and services, labor, credit, and foreign currencies.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability (6-8)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.1 Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers. For example, "How old am I?" is not a statistical question, but "How old are the students in my school?" is a statistical question because one anticipates variability in students' ages.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.SP.B.4 Use measures of center and measures of variability for numerical data from random samples to draw informal comparative inferences about two populations. For example, decide whether the words in a chapter of a seventh-grade science book are generally longer than the words in a chapter of a fourth-grade science book.
  • Related Resources


    Login to leave a review