27 April Science 7 Student feedback; interpreting data from ecology simulations

Student Feedback Survey.

We did this in December and discussed the results as a way to begin Semester 2 in January.

Ecology is the science of interactions in the environment. The word comes from ecos = “house” and logy = “study of.” By whom and when was the word coined (invented)? Why do you think the root word for “house” was used?

The studies of evolution and ecology are inseparable. Why might that be?

See the data from the eco-simulations from periods 6 & 8 below and answer the questions fully. Be generous in your thinking. Check your ideas with the basic ideas we have been discussing. (More offspring are produced than survive; variation exists in a population; when a variable characteristic confers a survival/reproductive advantage, the frequency of that characteristic can increase in a population)

  1. Offer your interpretation of the results for each situation (Bat-Moth periods 6 and 8) (Oh Deer periods 6 and 8)
  2. Discuss any variation that might correspond to characteristics that could affect survival and reproduction.
  3. Make a line graph showing the “year to year” variation in the deer population for periods 6 and 8. One line will be for period 6 and one for period 8. Plot years on the horizontal axis and number of deer on the vertical axis.
  4. How do the two lines compare? How do you account for the similarities and how do you account for differences?
  5. We did not identify individuals who survived the longest as deer. If we had, what characteristics and what circumstances would you credit with their longevity? Explain.
  6. We did identify bats and moths. What characteristics and what circumstances would you credit with the time it took to capture (bat) and to be captured (moth)?
  7. What roles might the things you identify in your answers to #5 and #6 play in natural selection?
  8. How do the games/simulations correspond to reality? Where to the games “break” with reality?
  9. What are some modifications you can think of that would make the games more “real?” Explain your thinking.

ecogamedata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 April Science 8 Feedback survey; How do we know?–an essential question for your topic; Activity and Discussion planning

Student Feedback Survey.

We did this in December and discussed the results as a way to begin Semester 2 in January.

Be sure to look at any new resources (some have been added–your topics are “in the news” on a regular basis): http://rfrazier.msblogs.aes.ac.in/human-impact-on-the-earth-resources/

This is a useful source for articles on the environment: http://e360.yale.edu/

Fascinating article on climate change and politics in the USA: http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/katharine-hayhoe-lubbock-climate-change-evangelist/

Consider these questions when developing your own knowledge of and fluency with the topic–How do we know? What is the evidence and what are the arguments? What solutions are being proposed?

  • *CO2–greenhouse effect–global warming–global climate change
  • How did scientists find out about the greenhouse effect and the role of CO2? What are the different lines of evidence? What has led climate scientists to predict global warming and global climate change? How do simulations of climate and weather work?
  • *Invasive species in India—loss of native habitat and biodiversity
  •  Many invasive species were considered useful introductions at one time. What led scientists to change the opinion? What controversies continue over the value of introduced species? How do scientists distinguish between non-native and invasive?
  • *Elements in an Ipad-Laptop-Cell phone–Rare earths and conflict minerals—environmental costs of technology
  • How did scientists and engineers arrive at the use of various elements in Ipads, Laptops, Cell phones, Smart phones? What do the various elements do—why are they needed?
  • *Air quality in Delhi 
  • How do scientists know what substances pollute the air in Delhi? How do sensors work? How do doctors and medical researchers know the effects of pollution on health? How is the research conducted?
  • *The Anthropocene and the 6th great extinction
  • Who first used the term “Anthropocene?” Who first used the term “biosphere?” Who first used the term “noosphere?” See these excerpts from a Russian scientist: http://larouchepub.com/other/2005/site_packages/vernadsky/3207bios_and_noos.html
  • How do scientists study extinctions? How are dates established for fossils and for events in the distant past? How do simulations of climate and weather work?
  • *Mining-industrial, economic development, urban sprawl and conservation of nature / habitat / biodiversity in India
  • What materials are mined and quarried in India? What are these materials used for? How do scientists evaluate habitat and species diversity in India? (See the latest discussion in the news about the number of tigers in India.) What impact does mining have on a wild habitat? What is the rate of urban development in Delhi? How can such changes be monitored and measured?
  • *Agriculture-pesticides-fertilizer-nutrition and health in India
  • How are pesticides developed? How are they tested for safety? How do pesticides work? What kinds of organism are considered pests? How are safe limits established? How are consequences monitored and measured–effect on other species?
  • *The concept of ecosystem services—re-evaluating economic policy and theory in light of the environment—other ways to assess the value of the environment—international examples—Indian example
  • Who first proposed the idea of valuing ecosystem services? How have policy and law makers, planners, developers, economists, etc. responded to the idea? What are actual monetary values assigned to various services?

Planning and Practicing:

Your activity

Your discussion

 

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25 April Science 7 Environment, Resources, Population, Prey, Predator–Simulations

Earlier we played a game originally called the “Prisoner’s Dilemma.” We suggested that scientists who study living things have used the game to gain insight into how organisms compete and “cooperate” while operating in their own self-interest.

You were asked to think of instances in which you think the game might apply.

Because natural selection and evolution of some organisms take time to occur, time much longer than our own lives and history, games and simulations are used by scientists to “speed up” the processes. They want see if some of the relationships thought to be crucial in natural selection and evolution can be reproduced.

We will try a couple of games/simulations today. We want to gather data and see if we can interpret the data in light of interactions in the environment that would be relevant to:

  1. More offspring are produced than survive.
  2. Variation of characteristics essential to survival and reproduction exists in populations.
  3. Some variations may confer a survival and reproductive advantage.
  4. These variations are propagated and therefore tend to increase in the population.
  5. Changes in the environment affect the survival and reproduction of organisms and may therefore “select” which characteristics provide an advantage to survival and reproduction.

We also want to consider the role of analogies, games, and simulations in scientific understanding. It is also important to realize how analogies, games, and simulations might mislead or confuse. We should always analyze the ways analogies, games, and simulations correspond to reality and where they break with reality.

Oh Deer! http://tjswcd.org/docs/edu/MWEE_OtherStations.pdf

Bat Moth http://gen.uga.edu/documents/pest/Bat%20and%20Moth.pdf

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10-18 MAY Science 8 Schedule of activities and discussion-presentations Human Impact

Be sure to check the new links in–some added with each new headline: http://rfrazier.msblogs.aes.ac.in/human-impact-on-the-earth-resources/

Schedule for Human Impact activities and discussion / presentations

Date Period 1 Period 3 Period 4
10 May Mining-loss of habitat Invasive species Elements in devices
Global climate change Air quality Delhi Air quality Delhi
12 May Invasive species Mining-loss of habitat Ecosystem services
Ecosystem services Anthropocene & extinction Invasive species
16 May Air quality Delhi Global climate change Global climate change
Pesticides in agriculture-food Ecosystem services Anthropocene & extinction
18 May Elements in devices Elements in devices Mining-loss of habitat
Anthropocene & extinction Pesticides in agriculture-food Pesticides in agriculture-food

 

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22 April Science 7 Earth Day 1-8 day

Science 7 students,

We have a shortened period on Friday (1-8 day). In order to prepare for the end of the year, please respond to the following. You can finish them before Friday or during class Friday. You will need to turn in a paper copy of your responses.

Now that you have almost finished 7th grade,

  1. What would you include in a comment about your year and 2nd semester in science?
  2. What are the most surprising things you have learned this year and 2nd semester? Explain.
  3. What things that you learned in science do you feel are most important? Explain.
  4. How would you describe your effort in science this year and 2nd semester?
  5. What have you learned about yourself as a student scientist this year?
  6. What goals do you have for your learning in Science 8?

*********************

Remember the Zebra test from January–about noticing and remembering?

Try this: Draw a bicycle.

Then, examine this article: http://www.wired.com/2016/04/can-draw-bikes-memory-definitely-cant?mbid=psocial_atlasobscura#slide-1

What do you think?

See this picture from 1975 biking along the North Sea dunes in Holland.

hollandbike

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22 April Science 8 Earth Day and 1-8 day

Science 8 students,

We have a shortened period on Friday (1-8 day). In order to prepare for the end of the year, please respond to the following. You can finish them before Friday or during class Friday. You will need to turn in a paper copy of your responses.

Now that you have almost finished 8th grade,

  1. What would you include in a comment about your year and 2nd semester in science?
  2. What are the most surprising things you have learned this year and 2nd semester? Explain.
  3. What things that you learned in science do you feel are most important? Explain.
  4. How would you describe your effort in science this year and 2nd semester?
  5. What have you learned about yourself as a student scientist this year?
  6. What goals do you have for your learning in Science 9?

*********************

Remember the Zebra test from January–about noticing and remembering?

Try this: Draw a bicycle.

Then, examine this article: http://www.wired.com/2016/04/can-draw-bikes-memory-definitely-cant?mbid=psocial_atlasobscura#slide-1

What do you think?

See this picture from 1975 biking along the North Sea dunes in Holland.

hollandbike

*********************

Our human impact topics are often in the news:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/science/invasive-species.html

And this response by scientists: http://www.islandconservation.org/invasive-species-are-by-definition-harmful/ See the links between topics–invasive species, 6th great extinction, Anthropocene–since humans are responsible for the introduction of invasive species

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19 April Science 8 Research, Planning Activity, Planning Presentation / Discussion

I hope your research on human impact on the earth has encouraged you to keep up with the news:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/15/march-temperature-smashes-100-year-global-record

Listen to this discussion of the greenhouse effect from 1977 (nearly 40 years ago!!!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz1g55H6XgA

More in the news (everything is connected)

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/how_do_we_decide_when_a_plant_is_native_climate_change/2984/

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/04/veganism-could-save-world-new-study-argues

Complete enough research for you to be very familiar with the topic, including the relevant scientific ideas. Your annotated bibliography should contain a variety of resources–all credible. A target number is 4 for each research day we have had.

Activity ideas.

What will you have the class do (hands-on preferred) in 20 minutes that will help them understand a part of your topic? What materials will you need? How will you structure the activity–instructions, time to work, time to clean-up, etc.? Think through the goals, the plan, the time. (Consider focusing on important scientific ideas that one needs to understand in order to make sense of your topic.)

Presentation and Discussion:

Perhaps this will help you organize your presentation and discussion. Use for inspiration. Do not copy. Do not try to cram more slides and information into the presentation. The presentation is meant to serve as a guide to the discussion.

format human impact disc

 

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18 April Science 7 Evo-Devo (What Darwin Never Knew)

This is interesting: (Think about the questions last week–atom, molecule, etc.)

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/04/16/473273571/why-teachers-need-to-know-the-wrong-answers

Look at these “misconceptions” people have about evolution:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php

See this website that looks at challenges in schools and governments to teaching evolution:

http://ncse.com/

A BIG QUESTION

How can the diversity of life be explained?

Some ideas to consider:

Humans classify living things: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species

These groupings are based on commons structures (macroscopic to molecular).

Common structures suggest common ancestry or lineage.

Structures are based on genes (DNA).

DNA provides “instructions” on how cells “make” other molecules.

The process of making other molecules involves gathering materials, putting them together, taking apart other materials, regulating–when to start and stop, how much to make, how long to continue the operation, etc.

Think of DNA as making and regulating.

We have already talked about these ideas:

  1. More offspring are produced than survive.
  2. There is always some variation in populations. (See this explanation of mutations: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/genetic-mutation-1127)
  3. Selection: In domestication humans choose which organisms / individuals reproduce. In natural selection, the environment “chooses.” And sometimes the environment changes.

What Darwin Never Knew

We shall use this video to organize our discussion about how reproduction and development relate to biodiversity and how biodiversity is explained by natural selection.

The transcript for the video is available here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/darwin-never-knew.html

Video links (let me know if they fail to work)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYBRbCLI4zU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOHzY1fuOz4

 

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14 April Science 7 Questions, Earth Day, Prisoner’s Dilemma–how do scientist use game theory to understand evolution?

Advisory partners and areas for Earth Day ET field trips led by 7th grade advisories.

Area (see picture)
7 th
6th
8th
9
Henderson / Webster
M Saich
Burrows
10
Pupovac
Pravin
Whitney
4
A Citrino
Sethi
Coleman
2
Frazier
Kapoor
K Saich
3
Freil
Amlani
McDavitt
8
M Citrino
Guggisberg
Creighton
5
Li
Cook
Currey
1
Jacobine
C Al Moreno / Lockwood
Babcock
6
Slavic
Gulati
Uemura
7
Minkley
Z Al Moreno
McArthur
11
Melgaard
Kuehn

EarthDaymapWe will play the Prisoner’s Dilemma as a class. How do you think this game might be used to help scientists understand how interactions work in the evolution of species? Remember no life exists without other life (the fact of symbiosis) (Earth Day theme–Everything Is Connected). So all evolution must involve multiple species. (Hint: See evolutionary game theory.) Think about the species involved in the transformation of teosinte to maize / corn. The corn fed the people and the people took care of the corn. In Mexico, there are a proverb, “Sin Maíz No Hay País.” (find a Mexican Spanish speaker to explain the idea).

Here is the pay off chart. The game will be described in class and we will keep a record of our scores.

Prisoners-results

Watch some of the following videos and review some of the websites for homework:

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12 April Science 7 From Biodiversity to Evolution by Natural Selection

What is your understanding of the following? (include where appropriate–size, scale, shape, structure, function, context, etc. Respond with your knowledge. You may include your best “guess.” (On lined paper and turned in) (Look in E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth to develop your understanding of the terms further for homework.)

  1. atom
  2. nucleus of the atom
  3. molecule
  4. element
  5. compound
  6. cell (plant, animal, single-cell organism, etc.)
  7. nucleus of cell
  8. chromosome
  9. gene
  10. DNA
  11. RNA
  12. protein
  13. inheritance (traits; characteristics)
  14. asexual reproduction
  15. sexual reproduction
  16. mitosis
  17. meiosis
  18. sperm
  19. pollen
  20. ova
  21. seed
  22. embryo
  23. development
  24. “More offspring are produced than survive.”
  25. “Every population has some variation in traits / characteristics.”
  26. Biodiversity
  27. Another term that you think belongs in this list.

Now that we have observed some of the “facts” of biodiversity, we will move next to an examination of the ways scientists (ever since Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace) have tried to explain these facts. The primary explanation is the theory of evolution by natural selection.

DNA

Popped secret:

The next link has quizzes with the Popped Secret video:

http://media.hhmi.org/biointeractive/interactivevideo/poppedsecretquiz/

 

Tentative schedule

  • April
  • 12 Terms and ideas
  • 14 (short) Game Theory–Prisoner’s Dilemma–Explaining evolution
  • 18 What Darwin Never Knew — Evo Devo
  • 22 Comments
  • 25 Oh Deer–resource and population simulation
  • 27 Bat-Moth–predator-pray simulation
  • May
  • 3 Analyzing the data form the simulations
  • 5 (sub) Examples of evolution and natural selection
  • 9 (sub) Galapagos finches (reading and video–preparing for simulation)
  • 11 Bird-beak simulation
  • 13 Bird-beak simulation analysis and assessment
  • 17 Canid behavior
  • 19 Primate behavior
  • 23 Field trip (perhaps)
  • 25
  • 27
  • 31
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