Summer SAVY Session 2, Day 2 – Ecological Expedition
Day 2: “Lions & tigers & bears, oh my!” What happens when an ecosystem is not balanced? Oh my! Today we focused on ecosystems’ interactions and how to keep them balanced through science-based games, videos, and simulations.
The first half of the day consisted of us finishing up yesterday’s activities as we continued to learn about interactions within art! We studied the works of the famous George Seurat and examined what aspects of his life led him to become such a successful painter! While we studied his art to learn about pointillism, we spent most of our time evaluating “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte!” What a marvelous piece! Students went on a scavenger hunt around the room looking for elements of the painting and placing them correctly on the Visual Analysis Wheel. Finally, students created their own masterpieces based on nature!
After ORA, we moved on to food chains and food webs to understand how living and non-living interactions affect the environment. To demonstrate the flow of energy within a food chain as well as the relationship between producers, consumers, and decomposers, students became human dice! Each scholar was assigned a biotic or abiotic factor as well as a producer, consumer, or decomposer. We “shook” the dice, and students formed groups of three to discuss the interactions and food chains within their assigned parts. Next, students were given real-life scenarios to consider the implications of possible unfortunate situations (increase or increase of any factor or part of the food chain). Students loved learning about food chains so much they started to write a play about it!
In the afternoon, students created a model using a computer simulation to analyze the relationships between the flow of energy and the number of organisms at each level of the food web within an ecosystem. There are four simulations on PBS Kids, so students can also practice this game at home. Students concluded that while all the parts of the ecosystem were important, there needed to be a surplus of producers for a thriving ecosystem. We ended the day creating tweets about their conclusions #everythingisneeded 🙂
To extend your child’s learning at home, have them identify different food chains in the area where they live! Tomorrow students will write a proposal using the science analysis wheel, research invasive species, and even have a special visitor from the zoo!