Week 14

Monday, December 2, 2019 (HS-LS2-4): We will begin class with a reminder that we are collecting student-researched data contained within the Survival and Reproductive Strategies of (insert selected species here) in Yellowstone National Park project students worked on last week.  Select data will be entered into the Yellowstone Biomass Survey  Students were instructed to complete this work before the beginning of class today, but with insufficient data collected thus far, the deadline will be extended to the end of class today.  Students will instead work through the Food Chain Gizmo to ensure sufficient access to learning about that concept.

If all students contribute the required animal and plant biomass data to the Yellowstone Biomass Survey by the end of class today, we will move forward tomorrow constructing and analyzing a trophic pyramid of Yellowstone Park.

Note: The Yellowstone Virtual Road Trip will be graded this weekend.  Refer to the checklist provided on November 26 to ensure all work is completed.  Ask Mr. Swart if you are unsure about any required pieces of work.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019 (HS-LS2-4): We will begin class with some interactive class notes. Students will revisit the vocabulary of producers and consumers from yesterday’s Gizmo, and we will add the vocabulary terms of primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers, as well as decomposers.  We will review the movement of energy in a food web, and discuss how organisms use (and lose) energy.  Finally, we will discuss the concept of biomass and apply the 90% rule to the trophic levels as introduced in yesterday’s Gizmo.  After completing our notes, students will work through the Forest Ecosystem Gizmo.

Notes from class:


Wednesday, December 4, 2019 (HS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-5): Now that students better understand the predator-prey relationships (energy cycling), students will work in small groups to create posters representing biogeochemical cycling.  For the project, students will create a poster to model the water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur cycles on a poster of Yellowstone National Park.  For our work today, students will have time to complete the Food Web and Ecosystem Gizmos from Monday and Tuesday, and then they will receive the Nutrient Cycling POGIL worksheet packet that will provide them with additional information about the process of carbon (C), water (H and O), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycling.

Due Friday:

  • Yellowstone Virtual Road Trip (refer to checklist) – share Google Doc with Mr. Swart (david.swart@g.highlineschools.org)
  • Food Web Gizmo 
  • Ecosystem Gizmo
  • Nutrient Cycling POGIL (individual assignments)

Due next Thursday: Biogeochemical Cycling Poster (group project)


Thursday, December 5, 2019 (HS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-5): Students will work in groups of 3-4 to create the biogeochemical cycling poster project.  Instructions:

  1. Create a large poster by taping together printer paper to the desired size
  2. Draw an accurate and scaled map of Yellowstone National Park
  3. Sketch and label the major must-see attractions and geographically distinct regions of the park
  4. Draw and label the carbon (C), water (H and O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sulfur (S) cycles within the park

The poster should be nicely organized, easy to understand, and colorful!  Due date: next Thursday (December 12) by the end of class.

Note 1: While not included in the POGIL, sulfur is often included as a component of the biogeochemical cycle, frequently abbreviated as the CHNOPS cycle.  Including the sulfur cycle will earn group members bonus points.

Note 2: As with the Unit 1 Ocean Acidification project, students are expected to work productively and equally within their groups.  On Tuesday, students will fill out the Individual Contribution Multiplier worksheet to to explain how each team member contributed.  The multiplier will affect individual student grades on the team project, so students must communicate early and often regarding expectations for each other.

Helpful Resources:

One Strange Rock: Nitrogen Cycle

Crash Course: Carbon and Water Cycles

Crash Course: Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycles

Bozeman Science: Biogeochemical Cycles (includes the Sulfur Cycle)

The Carbon Cycle – a NASA Earth Observatory website with data about global carbon cycling in the land, air, and sea with actual numbers that need to be added to the student posters.

Water Cycle – USGS website providing a robust review of hydrologic (water) cycle vocabulary, a presentation of the cycle itself, and data students will need to add the actual amount of water stored in various locations on Earth.

Texas A&M University has a website with pages devoted to explaining the Nitrogen Cycle.  Additional in-depth information about the Nitrogen Cycle is available on the Nature Education Knowledge Project website.

Phosphorus Cycle – information about the cycle and a nice graphic from the Shmoop University website.

Sulfur Cycle – a presentation provided by The Environmental Literacy Council

Example poster


Friday, December 6, 2019 (HS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-5): Continue with Biogeochemical Cycling Project Poster.

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