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Resource type Theme Title Teaser Grade Level Name Comments Post datesort icon
Learning activities Biodiversity, Ecosystem health, Ecosystems, Invasive species, Scientific inquiry Biodiversity Jenga Engage students with the concept of biodiversity with this hands-on modeling activity, inspired by Bill Nye. Students remove native species from an ecosystem, and add non-native or invasive species. They analyze the data collected through the activity to provide evidence for how these actions may ultimately compromise the health and stability of an ecosystem and show the importance of maintaining healthy, diverse ecosystems. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Scientific inquiry Size Matters Students hone critical measurement skills, and learn to quickly estimate size using their own body parts. These measurement and estimation skills will come in handy when students try to determine whether or not they find the native or invasive species they will look for at their study site during their Vital Signs investigation. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities, Instructional models Scientific inquiry Vital Signs Science Notebook Scientists operate in an inquiry environment. They observe, ask questions, make predictions, record observations, analyze data, make and defend claims, and share their conclusions with the larger community. Similarly, students will carry out their investigations as though they are professional scientists. An online Science Notebook (available to registered participants on the Vital Signs website) helps students organize, document, and reflect on their investigation. It guides students through each stage of the inquiry process as they seek answers to their research questions.
Middle school (grades 6-8)
High school (grades 9-12)
vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Scientific inquiry Prove it Students practice using words and photos to craft solid evidence statements. Students make statements about things that they believe to be true, and things that they believe to be not true. They practice supporting these claims with written and photo evidence. The activity moves students from simple everyday statements to more complicated statements about species. Skills built during this activity will ultimately help students convince the Vital Signs community that they found or did not find the species they will look for during their investigation. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Scientific inquiry Heeeere Banana! Students conduct this simple investigation with familiar materials to get in the groove of looking carefully for something, making a claim that they found it or did not find it, and supporting that claim with solid, bullet proof evidence. Students plan and carry out a short, sweet investigation to determine whether or not a “species" is in an “ecosystem" or not. They figure out for themselves the importance of careful observations skills. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Biodiversity, Ecosystems Google Earth Diversity Trip Students take a Google Earth diversity trip to engage with the idea of biodiversity in their local watershed. Google Earth is a free online resource that lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery and maps. Using this tool, students become more familiar with the boundaries, features, and orientation of their own watershed within the larger Gulf of Maine watershed. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Biodiversity Diversity Statements Students work together to come up with their own working definition of diversity and biodiversity that everyone understands and can use effectively. This definition lays the conceptual groundwork for students’ biodiversity investigations in local ecosystems. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Invasive species There's a New Bird in Town Students experience how an invasive species may out-compete native species for vital resources. This high stakes, high energy game simulates the introduction of non-native and invasive species using MnMs and various kitchen drawer items. Students experience firsthand what happens and what if feels like when native and invasive species compete for essential resources. This is also an excellent activity for introducing concepts such as habitats, limiting resources, physical adaptations, and competition among species. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 2 2009-11-04
Learning activities Biodiversity, Scientific inquiry Looking Closely Students practice looking closely at a leaf, flower, leg, wing, shell, etc. to really hone their observation skills and see the pieces and parts they wouldn’t otherwise see. Species observation skills gained during this detailed drawing activity will help students tell different species apart when they do their own Vital Signs investigation. This activity may be done as individuals or as a team. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Scientific inquiry Organize to Analyze Organizing data before students start the analysis process is a critical and often overlooked step. Students use the Vital Signs Sort & Export table to find the data they need (their own, that of their classmates, and data from their comparison site). They use Venn Diagrams and T-charts to organize data before trying to make sense of it. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04