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Summer SAVY 2015 (Session 4, Day 9) – Ecological Explorers (Rising 2nd/3rd)

Posted by on Thursday, July 16, 2015 in SAVY blog.

Today we investigated the question “How do different species impact the diversity and stability of an ecosystem?” We began by checking in on our aquatic ecosystems. We took observations of what had changed and how different organisms were interacting with each other and with the environment. We also tested the water chemistries and compared today’s findings to yesterday’s results. It was exciting to see students synthesize our matter cycles with their observations to explain why their oxygen levels were increasing or their nitrate levels were decreasing.

Next we continued our work with food chains and food webs and expanded our vocabulary about producers, consumers (primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary), herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, insectivore, detrivores, predators, prey, and competitors. We also explored the food webs of some of our favorite biomes: deserts, rainforests, tundras, and oceans. The students were quite skilled at tracing the flow of energy through the systems and identifying which organisms filled which role. At the end of class we answered some of the more pertinent questions posted on our “I wonder” wall, learned about Tennessee’s little brown bat, and visited our favorite investigation stations for the last time.

The students and I are excited for our open house tomorrow! We’ll start altogether with a brief presentation by each student. Then you and your student will have free time to explore many amazing things we’ve been investigating in the classroom.

Today’s Dinner Table Tidbits:

  • Talk with your student about food chains and food webs: What are some of the different roles organisms can have in an ecosystem? Where does the energy start? How can an animal like a robin be both a predator and prey?
  • Continue to ask your student about their aquatic ecosystem: What has changed since yesterday? Why do they think that happened? What were the hardness, nitrate, oxygen, and phosphorus levels?
  • Ask your student about the “I wonder wall” questions: What did they find out about the questions that they asked earlier in the week?