Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 1, Day 3) – Ecological Explorers
Today we wrapped up our investigation of terrestrial ecosystems. We began by matching animals and their adaptations to appropriate biomes and by synthesizing everything students had learned about how plants function in different ecosystems. Because of the rain we couldn’t visit our normal terrestrial study site. However, we did explore a new section of the Vanderbilt grounds. Each group had to find an area in this new section that was similar to the community that they had found in our original study site.
We also began planning our study of aquatic ecosystems. The students split up into new study groups to design their aquarium models. Each group had a budget of $20 they could use to design their ecosystem. The groups used this budget to select different items to include in the aquarium: sand, gravel, potting soil, elodea (plant), cabomba (plant), rotella (plant), duckweed, algae, guppy, small snail, large snail, ghost shrimp, and crayfish. The cost to include each item varied from $1 (for sand, algae, or guppies) to $10 (for a crayfish). Group members debated how to effectively use their limited resources to build a stable aquatic ecosystem. Students selected items based on the cost, on their interest in observing them, and on how the items would function together in an ecosystem.
Of course, we also spent time at our investigation stations. These seem to be the favorite part of the day for many students. As they rotate back to stations they have visited once before, students are able to build on what they had observed previously and notice new things about the biofacts, aquariums, or terrariums that they had not seen before. It’s exciting to see how their scientific knowledge and practice is increasing! We made new observations about how crayfish move and how crickets burrow into the soil. This week is flying by so fast. I can’t wait to see what new ideas we uncover next.
Today’s Dinner Table Tidbits:
- Ask about how your student picked a location that was similar to their first hula-hoop terrestrial site.
- Talk about what your student picked to include in their aquarium model
- Continue to talk with your student about what they did and what they saw at their investigation stations.