Cells and Homeostasis: Causeway Solutions

I was at a district-wide high school biology teacher meeting this morning during periods 1-3.  Below is the lesson plan my substitute shared with the students:

Yesterday we learned about how the construction of a causeway across the Great Salt Lake dramatically affected the ecosystem of the Great Salt Lake.

Entry Task: In your lab notebook, describe how the causeway resulted in the north arm of the lake appearing purple compared with the blue south arm. You have 5 minutes.

Group work: Working with your extreme environment group, your job is to solve the problem of the GSL railroad causeway.  Your team must devise a solution to undo the ecological changes of the causeway on the ecosystem of the Great Salt Lake.  Your group’s report must include the following:

  • A model of how altering the causeway will affect the populations of each of the 8 GSL organisms.
  • Application of the concepts of osmosis, diffusion, and active transport in your model.
  • Initial ideas on how GSL organisms will be immediately affected by a change in the salinity of the GSL upon changing of the causeway.  You must include a discussion of water and/or salt moving across cell membranes for full credit.
  • Research!  Slides 15-20 from yesterday’s lesson (on the class website) may be a useful starting point.  Be sure to cite any references used when making claims about GSL salinity (before and after causeway changes) and any references used to learn which organisms can survive at the salinities found in the GSL after the causeway is removed.  Please use electronic resources appropriately.
  • Your analysis should include a written discussion of the risks and benefits of altering the causeway, both to the railroad and to the organisms that live in the Lake.

Exit Ticket: Turn in group work with names of all students who actively engaged in the work for the entire class period.