Learning activities

Intro Activity for Water Quality Bioassessment Mission

Use this short, energizing lesson to prepare students for gathering and analyzing water quality data. Students will be introduced to Benthic Macro-Invertebrates (BMIs) and how they are used to monitor water quality. In three stations, students will develop skills in distinguishing BMIs with similar characteristics, identifying BMIs, and gathering data from the Vital Signs database on where BMIs have been found and not found. Students will use the data that they gathered to determine the water quality of a specific pond that has been monitored by other Vital Signs students.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Documents

Developing Skills in Preparation for Fieldwork

Use these in-class activities and stations to hone skills in collecting high quality data and familiarize students with Vital Signs data sheets and identification resources before students go out in the field.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Documents

Invasive Species & Biodiversity Data Investigation - New and Improved!

Explore the research question, "Does an invasive species impact biodiversity in my area?" with this full unit of study. Through this investigation, your students will develop understandings around interdependent relationships in ecosystems, skills in analyzing and interpreting data, and confidence in conducting authentic scientific research.They will explore the impact that invasive species have on biodiversity in local habitats while they collect and interpret real data and communicate their findings with a community of scientists.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Documents

Student Activity Glossary

The Student Activity Glossary is a growing bank of strategies that can be used to increase student engagement, regardless of the content being taught. Many of these strategies will be familiar to you. Please let us know which are effective in your classroom and help us grow our glossary by sending us your favorite activities or add your comments and/or favorite student activities in the comments section.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Documents

GMRI Green Crab Data on Tuva

Students will practice using data to answer statistical questions using the online interactive, Tuva. Students will create graphs and then use their graphs to draw meaning from the data. Tuva hosts a variety of datasets with accompanying questions that students may explore on their own or with extra class time.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Resources I used: 
GMRI crab data from tuvalabs.com
Documents

Mission: Forest Pests in NH and ME supporting documents

The files here will help you gather and post data as part of Mission: Forest Pests in NH and ME; a Vital Signs Field Mission that Maine and New Hampshire Vital Signs users can both contribute to.

Below you will find the following documents:

  • Teacher instructions for Mission: Forest Pests in NH and ME
  • Alternate Data Publishing Format for Mission: Forest Pests in NH
  • Guide for Posting Data - Mission: Forest Pests in NH
  • Quality Checklist for posting to the Project Bank
Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Documents

Mission: Invasive vs. Native Crabs supporting documents

The files here will help you gather and post data as part of Mission: Native vs. Invasive Crabs; a Vital Signs Field Mission that Maine and New Hampshire Vital Signs users can both contribute to.

Below you will find the following documents:

  • Teacher instructions for Mission: Native vs. Invasive Crabs
  • Alternate Data Publishing Format for Mission: Native vs. Invasive Crabs
  • Quality Checklist for posting to the Project Bank
Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Documents

Boom! Quiz, Quiz, Trade

Boom! Quiz, Quiz, Trade is a quick (maximum 5 minutes) easy strategy to use to get students moving, help them build comfort with sharing and interacting with each other, and review lots of material all at the same time. Students mingle around the classroom quizzing each other with question cards and trading those cards.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Documents

Exploring the Vital Signs Website

This is a short, simple exercise to get students familiar with the website. Can be done individually or in pairs. This guided inquiry Worked really well with my students! They greatly appreciated having the opportunity to explore the site, and choose their own species of interest. Make sure to review their comments before they post! Enjoy. Jamien

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
High school (grades 9-12)
Professional development
Documents

Getting Started with Scientific Inquiry

This year I made a commitment to myself to do a Vital Signs investigation with my 7th graders.

The timeline posted here details how I plan to incorporate my old curriculum and scope and sequence with Vital Signs and more scientific inquiry. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is also a great resource. The BirdSleuth Investigating Evidence provides lots of resources and ideas for supporting this effort.

The Meet a Scientist worksheet is something I found on BirdSleuth but tweaked it a bit.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)
Resources I used: 
Bird Sleuth pieces (Cornell Lab) http://www.birdsleuth.org/investigation/ Vital Signs - 10 day curriculum
How should others reference your work?: 
Anyone is welcome to use it and revise it in any way that makes sense for them. It is not necessary to reference my work.
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