GRADES Pre-K to 5 | 2022-2023

Challenge 3: Shade Our Schools – Leaves are Cool!

For Groups — Maximum points: 400 (1 entry per school)

YOUR CHALLENGE: Humans and other animals sweat to help keep themselves cool on hot days. Similarly, plants cool off through a process called transpiration which is controlled by tiny openings on leaves and stems known as stomata. This year, students will help scientists at the University of Miami to conduct a series of experiments to understand how stomata can affect transpiration and leaf temperatures across different plant species. Students will use standardized methods to collect scientific data and will create an illustrated field journal documenting their observations. Downloadable PDF


  • Teachers must register to attend a mandatory workshop on Saturday, December 3, 2022

  • Those teachers registered for the workshop must submit a Lease Agreement if they plan to participate in this challenge

  • Schools must submit data and journal for complete entry submission

ENTRY SUBMISSION: Monday, February 13, 2023 to Sunday, February 19, 2023

Electronically submit the following:

Delivered to Fairchild in person or via certified mail:

  • Illustrated field journal
  • Hard Copy Data Sheets
✓  Data Requirements:
 Collect temperature data for leaves with and without petroleum jelly as per Shade our Schools protocol
 Digital and Hard Copy Data sheets must include temperature measurements and leaf characteristics of AT LEAST 2 trees/shrubs/potted plants
 Digital and Hard Copy Data sheets must be filled out completely (including the “notes” section)
 Complete data set must be submitted with Field Journals
 On-time entry submission (late entries may not receive points)
✓  Journal Requirements:
 Title page of field journal must clearly indicate school name, teacher name(s), and how many students or classes were involved in the collection of data and the creation of field journal
 Field journal must include a combination of text, labeled drawings, photos and graphs summarizing the results
 Field journal must include an analysis of the results and conclusions
 Field journal must be 8.5” x 11” or less, and 12 double-sided pages or less, excluding the front and back cover pages. Pages cannot include additional attachments or be used as pockets 
 On-time entry submission (late entries may not receive points)

Registration Closed! Visit our Teacher Workshops page for more information.

Fairchild Challenge Workshop Introduction (PDF) – Updated Dec. 5, 2022
Dr. Ken Feeley, University of Miami, Presentation (PDF) – Updated Dec. 5, 2022
Olga T., University of Miami, Presentation (PDF) – Updated Dec. 5, 2022
Shade our Schools – Leaves are Cool! Research Protocol (PDF) – Updated Dec. 5, 2022

Bring your class on a virtual field trip at Fairchild. Please visit Explorer Field Trip Programs for more information.

For more information on how your submission will be evaluated, see Challenge 3 Evaluation Sheet

This Challenge meets various state standards, visit Challenge 3 Benchmarks

Project Introduction and Meet the Scientist (video) by Olga T., Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Miami
Researcher addresses effects of climate change on tropical forests (video)
Data Sheet (PDF). **Individual Google spreadsheets will be emailed to registered teachers that attended workshop. – Updated Dec. 5, 2022
Color chart

Climate Change
Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye – National Geographic (video)
Climate change from a kid’s perspective – CBC Kids News (video)
100 Kids Explain Global Warming – HiHo Kids (video)
NASA Climate Kids
AMNH Ology: What is Climate Change
NatGeo Kids Climate Change
NEEF: How Climate Change is Affecting Fall Foliage
City of Miami page on Climate Change