We rolled up to Sky School in some in some swagged out jackets thanks to the Old Pueblo Rotary Club. We traveled up the mountain throughout the day collecting data. We already understood that atmospheric pressure and temperature changes with elevation, but we wondered if we would observe a similar trend using surface temperature data. We hypothesized that surface temperature would decrease with increasing elevation. We were also interested in looking for patterns in plants with increasing elevation that might relate to surface temperature, so we also measured leaf size and relative greenness. To quantify greenness of leaves, we developed a color standard and assigned numbers to various shades of gray (1= very light gray and 3=very dark grey). We used a camo hat with various shades of green as our color standards. We found in increase in leaf greenness with increasing elevation. Our surface temperature results were less straightforward, but provided us a great opportunity to discuss confounding factors and the importance of experimental design.
During our hike, we observed some soils that looked like mud, or that was very wet. We discovered that the soil was totally dry. The wet appearance likely came from the soil being “fresh to death” (recently weathered rock with a lot of mica).
We are looking forward to tacos tonight and heading up to the astronomy observatory and checking out the stars!