Spring SAVY 2023: Oh Deer! Wildlife Ecology for Grades 5 & 6
Day 3: Saturday, February 11
What an amazing final session! Continuing our wildlife ecology studies, students showcased their white-tailed deer expertise with our Oh Deer trivia game! Students worked in teams to answer questions related to white-tailed deer anatomy and fun facts.
After the game, students learned about homeostasis, carrying capacity, and limited factors. After watching the video ‘How the Wolves Changed the Rivers,” students participated in open discussions about how different populations can cause fluctuations in the balance or homeostasis of ecosystems. Students were able to experience carrying capacity by playing the carrying capacity game. This game featured real-life occurrences where situations like drought, diseases, new birth, and death can change species populations.
Before lunch, we looked closer into the data from our Oh Deer! game simulation. Students learned the fundamentals of how to graph scientific data. Through data analysis, students recognized deer population trends and made inferences based on the data gathered from the Oh Deer! simulation game. In teams, students created amazing line graphs that highlighted fluctuations in deer/predator populations as a result of the availability of the three essential factors (food, shelter, and water). After lunch, with a short time frame, students worked in teams to create trifold presentations that highlighted major concepts we studied for three weeks by relating the Oh Deer simulation game to Wildlife ecological trends in nature!
It was a pleasure meeting all of you! I was thoroughly impressed with each team’s product, given that they worked on the trifold for an hour. As students presented, I saw the passion they expressed regarding the environment and different animals. I hope that your young ecologists continue to explore Wildlife Ecology! Don’t forget to keep watching the white-tailed deer populations that are featured via live cam at the Brownville Food Pantry. Until next time…OH DEER!
Best wishes to all,
Day 2: Saturday, February 4
What a fun-filled Saturday! This weekend, we continued our quest to better understand Wildlife Ecology and the importance of wildlife conservation. We started the day by reviewing trophic levels, energy pyramids, food chains, and food webs. Then, students worked together in teams to connect food chains from organisms they researched last Saturday. Each team shared a fun fact related to one of their organisms and identified biomes where these organisms are found habitat. A review of ecological vocabulary followed. I was thoroughly impressed with how students made connections with vocabulary and ecology content!
For our next activity, students worked in teams to compose skeletons from owl pellets. By completing this activity, our young ecologists demonstrated a better understanding of the energy pyramid and how it relates to trophic levels in organisms. Later, students worked in smaller teams to hypothesize “Whose Scat is This”! From scat, ecologists can determine what organisms eat, migration patterns, and the health of organisms. Before we ended for the day, our class explored population dynamics by playing the Oh Deer! simulation game. Students explored the importance of essential factors (food, water, and shelter) and how organisms like the white-tailed deer compete for resources. Next Saturday, we will graph and analyze the population data collected.
Throughout the day, we observed white-tailed deer in their natural habitat at the Deer Food Pantry in Brownville, Maine. Feel free to observe deer at your leisure:
During the week, I challenge all my young achievers to complete Module B and learn as much as they can about white-tailed deer populations. Also, researching limiting factors and carrying capacity will give your young ecologists a head start for next Saturday. Teams will compete in our 1st annual White-tailed deer Trivia Game! I encourage students to return their modules neatly and completed.
In addition, next Saturday, we will host an Open House. Students will present their research, data, and data analysis on tri-folds. If students have pictures or any information they would like to put on their trifold, please bring them in a folder to class on Saturday. Activities that your young ecologists completed over the last few weeks will be on display as well. I look forward to meeting you all!
Until next Saturday, happy deer exploring!!!!
Day 1: Saturday, January 28
What an AMAZING EARTH-TASTIC Saturday! Students started the day with team-building activities used scientific investigation tactics to discover students who shared their same interests. Once we learned more about each other, we began to explore principles of ecology. Through notetaking and discussion, students learned key ecological terms such as organism, population, community, and ecosystems. Once students were familiar with the levels of organization within an ecosystem, they examined abiotic and biotic factors in different ecosystems and how interactions among organisms can affect population sustainability.
Before lunch, students applied the information learned by playing the “Food Chain Game.” With this simulation game students represented different trophic levels that exist in food chains//food webs (producers, consumers, primary consumers, etc.). As we played the game, students made connections of how ecosystems can become unbalanced when energy transfer is disrupted. Also, this started several discussions regarding resource availability that will lead us into the lessons for next Saturday.
Our day ended with our “Food Chain Dinner Plate” research activity where students were given different organisms to research. On each plate, students included the biome where their organisms can be found, types of foods the organism eats, and a fun fact about the organism. Next Saturday, students will make food chains from the organisms that were randomly selected by collaborating with other students to determine what food chains can be created. Students will link their plates to ultimately create food chains that are representative of biological interactions that exist in nature.
Parents, you may have noticed that your young achiever received the Module A: Intro to Ecology packet for our course. There are resources, notes, and worksheets. I encourage for students to review the module and bring completed and in good condition. Next Saturday we will analyze population dynamics by exploring white-tailed deer populations. Please make sure that your young ecologist wears comfortable clothing and has running shoes because we will be playing the Oh DEER! simulation game! To get a head start on understanding limited and carrying capacity in deer populations, your ecologist can start researching white-tail deer populations in Tennessee. I look forward to seeing you all next Saturday! Happy Exploring!