What a week! We took advantage of the summer-like weather early in the week with a survey of our local school ecosystem. We then transitioned to a deep-dive reading of matter and energy cycling in an ecosystem, and wrapped up with Lesson 6, where students shared their learning with their group members to construct two models of matter and energy cycling. Students received a graphic organizer to help them compare and contrast the cycling of carbon, water, and nitrogen (CHON) as well as energy on two very different ecological scales. For the large scale, we evaluated matter and energy cycling of a more generic ecosystem like the Puget Sound region. For the smaller scale, we focused on our school campus. Students realized that some, but not all, aspects of matter and energy cycling are present on our school campus in contrast to what is found in the larger Puget Sound region. Next week they will craft and deliver presentations to the class explaining the ecological implications of, and possible solutions to, separating a school campus from the native local ecosystem.
This week, students are collecting data about the ecosystem of the Tyee Campus. There are a number of bunnies on our school campus, with coloration that suggests they may be recent descendants of pets released into the wild. I presented students with a scenario and a mission: Find the bunnies! Students spent most of the first class period canvassing the campus looking for bunnies and taking pictures of the habitat.
The next day, students were introduced to CHON (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen) and discussed sources of CHON in an ecosystem. Students began working in groups to consider how to integrate their basic understanding of CHON into their understanding of the local campus ecosystem. Some groups began creating PowerPoint presentations, while others devised strategies to create a central repository of pictures in DropBox. If needed, students continued their field work, taking pictures of the local ecosystem to support their presentations.
For the third day of Lesson 5, we reviewed CHON and students began to conceptualize how to create a presentation with the Tyee bunnies as the central player. Students received a worksheet with a list of readings to help further their understanding of CHON and energy cycling in an ecosystem. All students must read one core section, while the additional reading sections are to be read by at least one student in the group and shared with the rest of the group using the jigsaw reading strategy.