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Resource type Theme Title Teaser Grade Level Name Comments Post date
Learning activities, Field work resources Scientific inquiry Vital Signs Quality Assurance & Peer Review Before observations are published to the Vital Signs website and made public, data must undergo a Quality Assurance Check and an optional Peer Review. The Quality Check is a first step in the online review process to ensure that the data entry form is complete, and jives with the Vital Signs site policy. Peer Review is a process the scientific community uses to critique and validate scientists’ work before it is published. A combined Quality Check and Peer Review is the very best way to make sure that a data collector's very best work is available for the Vital Signs community to use. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 0 2009-11-04
Learning activities Scientific inquiry Devour or Savor Students are challenged to slow themselves down to make careful observations about what they see, smell, hear, and taste. Self awareness gained and observation skills built during this activity will be invaluable during fieldwork as students must slow down in order to closely observe species and habitat at their study site. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 1 2009-11-04
Learning activities Biodiversity Spot the Difference Spot the difference is a high energy, competitive activity that helps students develop and hone their observation skills. Students play Spot the Difference to train their eyes to closely observe plants and animals, and to find characteristics that make them the same species or a different species. Species observation skills built while playing Spot the Difference will be used by students during their fieldwork to help them decide whether or not the native or invasive species they are looking for is at their study site. Middle school (grades 6-8) vitalteach 1 2009-11-04
Learning activities Scientific inquiry Persuade and Motivate This lesson guides students' creation of an action project. Persuasive writing may be something that students are unfamiliar with or unpracticed at, but they all have personal experiences to draw from where they tried to get someone to do something they wanted them to do. This writing guide will help them formulate the perfect persuasive, motivational message. Students then design, create, and publish their own media projects to convey their message to their audience. 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
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 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 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 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 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