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Interdependence of Life: Agents of Change in Ecosystems Science Object
Science Object
Interdependence of Life: Agents of Change in Ecosystems
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the fourth of four Science Objects in the Interdependence of Life SciPack. It explores agents of change in ecosystems.

Various influences (including human impact, natural disasters, climate change, and the appearance of new species) can force an ecosystem into...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the fourth of four Science Objects in the Interdependence of Life SciPack. It explores agents of change in ecosystems.

Various influences (including human impact, natural disasters, climate change, and the appearance of new species) can force an ecosystem into a state of different equilibrium. Depending on both the severity of the disturbance and the diversity of populations, feedback mechanisms may be sufficient to restore a state of equilibrium similar to the original ecosystem. However, if the disruptive influences are so severe (in duration and/or degree) they can push an ecosystem beyond its capacity to maintain equilibrium, irreversibly altering the system. In this case, a new point of dynamic equilibrium is eventually established, thus defining a new ecosystem.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe how populations might reach a new state of equilibrium following significant changes to the conditions (abiotic and biotic factors) defining their ecosystem.
  • Sequence and provide the rationale for a series of ecological processes that could logically occur following a large-scale disruption.
  • Given a description of factors that influence and affect population sizes in an ecosystem, identify those factors that could most likely contribute to an ecosystem’s long-term inability to return to dynamic equilibrium.
  • Explain how human activity (mining, dam construction, housing development) could affect the equilibrium of an ecosystem.

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Heredity and Variation: Mutation Provides Variation Science Object
Science Object
Heredity and Variation: Mutation Provides Variation
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the third of three Science Objects in the Heredity and Variation SciPack. It explores the role of mutations in genetic variation. The random combination of genes during sexual reproduction is not the only source of variation in organisms. Although some genes may be passed...  [view full summary]

Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the third of three Science Objects in the Heredity and Variation SciPack. It explores the role of mutations in genetic variation.

The random combination of genes during sexual reproduction is not the only source of variation in organisms. Although some genes may be passed for many thousands of generations with no consequential changes in its function, occasionally a mutation occurs in which a gene may be altered. Gene mutations can occur spontaneously through random errors in copying, or induced by chemicals or radiation that affect the DNA’s chemical bonds. Only if a mutated gene is in a gamete is it possible for copies of it to be passed down to offspring, becoming part of all their cells, altering the nature of some proteins produced by the DNA. The function of a mutated gene may not be altered or it may have its function in protein synthesis altered, which subsequently affects the physical traits expressed in the organism. Mutations provide additional sources of variation that can be helpful, harmful or of no impact on the survival an individual.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Compare and contrast genetic mutations with genetic variations resulting from the process of meiosis.
  • Identify and describe the general processes involved in the creation of genetic mutations.
  • Describe possible consequences of genetic mutations.
  • Describe conditions necessary for genetic mutations to be inherited by an organism’s offspring.

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Resources and Human Impact: Using Technology to Address Resource Use Issues Science Object
Science Object
Resources and Human Impact: Using Technology to Address Resource Use Issues
Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the last of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how human beings impact other species and the ecosystems in which they live. Due to our role in changing the environment, humans have a responsibility for...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the last of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how human beings impact other species and the ecosystems in which they live. Due to our role in changing the environment, humans have a responsibility for preserving their habitat. There are a variety of approaches to reducing or reversing the human impact on the environment such as limiting population growth, reducing resource use, modifying population distribution, recycling resources, and the wise use of technology to solve problems. Managing resources by cleaning up polluted air, water, or soil or restoring depleted soil, forests, or fishing grounds can be difficult and costly but are critical for human health. Alternative energy resources such as wind, tides, and solar radiation can be utilized to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel-based energy sources. Social, political, and economic factors involve tradeoffs that will strongly influence the types and extent to which technologies will be developed and used.
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Resources and Human Impact: Environmental Degradation Science Object
Science Object
Resources and Human Impact: Environmental Degradation
Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the third of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals that enter the atmosphere, intensive farming...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the third of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals that enter the atmosphere, intensive farming and fishing, and consuming fossil fuels have changed Earth’s land, oceans, and atmosphere. Although the land, atmosphere, and the oceans have a limited capacity to absorb wastes and recycle materials naturally, humans have disrupted these natural cycles. Fresh water, limited in supply, is essential for life and most industrial processes. Overuse and pollution of rivers, lakes, oceans, and groundwater reduces the availability and suitability of these resources for all organisms. Technology used in the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels needed to meet the growing human demand has increased the depletion of nonrenewable energy resources such as fossil fuels, and degraded or altered the environment, both locally and globally.
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Interdependence of Life: Species Relationships Science Object
Science Object
Interdependence of Life: Species Relationships
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the second of four Science Objects in the Interdependence of Life SciPack. It explores species relationships.

All organisms, both land-based and aquatic, are interrelated by their need for resources. One example of a network of interconnections is called a food web;...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the second of four Science Objects in the Interdependence of Life SciPack. It explores species relationships.

All organisms, both land-based and aquatic, are interrelated by their need for resources. One example of a network of interconnections is called a food web; it is a model of the interdependence among the organisms in populations of different species. Predator-prey and parasitic relationships are examples of interspecies relationships, interdependence that occurs among organisms in different species in a food web.

Interspecies relationships can be categorized as positive, negative, or neutral for the fitness of the individuals and their populations who are involved. A change in the population of one species can affect the population of another species. Intra-species relationships, or interdependence among organisms of the same species, can also affect a population.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Given the specific nature of an interspecies relationship, categorize the relationship between two interrelated populations as positive, negative or neutral for each population.
  • Given a description of a change to one population depicted in a food web, predict changes that might occur in the size and rate of growth for other populations depicted in the food web.
  • Given a line graph displaying changes in population sizes and rates of growth for a number of populations in a community, along with a description of the trophic relationships among populations, generate plausible hypotheses about causes of the changes depicted in the graph.

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Interdependence of Life: Organisms and Their Environments Science Object
Science Object
Interdependence of Life: Organisms and Their Environments
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the first of four Science Objects in the Interdependence of Life in Ecosystems SciPack. It explores organisms and their environments.

All organisms, including human beings, live within and depend on the resources in their environment. These resources include both...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the first of four Science Objects in the Interdependence of Life in Ecosystems SciPack. It explores organisms and their environments.

All organisms, including human beings, live within and depend on the resources in their environment. These resources include both living (biotic) factors such as food and nonliving (abiotic) factors such as air and water. The size and rate of growth of the population of any species, including humans, are affected by these environmental factors. In turn, these environmental factors are affected by the size and rate of growth of a population. Populations are limited in growth to the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, which is the amount of life any environmental system can support with its available space, energy, water, and food.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Identify and describe biotic and abiotic factors that influence the size and growth rate of a specific population in a particular environment.
  • Describe possible immediate and long-term effects on an individual population that exceeds the carrying capacity of its environment.
  • Given a line graph displaying an individual population size and its rate of growth, infer the carrying capacity of the environment for that population.

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Resources and Human Impact: Population Growth, Technology, and the Environment Science Object
Science Object
Resources and Human Impact: Population Growth, Technology, and the Environment
Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the second of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how technology can solve problems, but at the same time, can also create new strains on the environment. Improved technology used for harvesting food, coupled...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the second of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how technology can solve problems, but at the same time, can also create new strains on the environment. Improved technology used for harvesting food, coupled with the technology of improved sanitation, has accelerated the growth of the human population. A larger human population increases the impact on the environment and its resources, many of which are limited and non renewable. Due to the rapid growth of the human population and their use of technology in many parts of the world, humans have exceeded the carrying capacity of their environment, compromising human health.
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Resources and Human Impact: Earth as a System Science Object
Science Object
Resources and Human Impact: Earth as a System
Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the first of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how human beings, who live within and depend on Earth’s ecosystems, modify the land, ocean, and atmosphere. In all environments, organisms, including humans,...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the first of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how human beings, who live within and depend on Earth’s ecosystems, modify the land, ocean, and atmosphere. In all environments, organisms, including humans, cooperate or compete with one another for resources. These resources include food, air, water, and space. The size and rate of growth of all species, including humans, are affected by these environmental factors. In turn, these environmental factors are affected by the size and rate of growth of a population. Populations are limited in growth by the carrying capacity of the environment, which is the amount of life any ecosystem can support with its available space, energy, water, and food.
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Nutrition: What Choices Lead to a Healthy Lifestyle? Science Object
Science Object
Nutrition: What Choices Lead to a Healthy Lifestyle?
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between FDA and NSTA, is the last of four Science Objects in the Nutrition SciPack. It demonstrates that variety, balance, and moderation in overall food choices are essential for human health, growth, and energy. The amounts of specific nutrients recommended for healthy...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between FDA and NSTA, is the last of four Science Objects in the Nutrition SciPack. It demonstrates that variety, balance, and moderation in overall food choices are essential for human health, growth, and energy. The amounts of specific nutrients recommended for healthy people depend on age, gender, heredity, and—for females—pregnancy and lactation. Energy recommendations—measured in calories—are set for age, gender, and physical activity level. Basal metabolic rate and body efficiency also impact energy needs. Food-guidance systems (e.g., MyPyramid) and nutrition information on food labels are founded in science-based evidence for nutrient and energy intake (e.g., Dietary Reference Intakes) and science-based dietary guidelines (e.g., Dietary Guidelines for Americans), and help people apply these recommendations to their daily food and lifestyle decisions. The food choices individuals make affect their nutritional status, and are influenced by personal, hereditary and social factors, as well as by individuals’ understanding of biological consequences.
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Nutrition: What are Nutrients? Science Object
Science Object
Nutrition: What are Nutrients?
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach This Science Object, co-developed between FDA and NSTA, is the third of four Science Objects in the Nutrition SciPack. It explores nutrients and the specific physiological functions associated with each nutrient. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provide energy for body movement and physiological processes;...  [view full summary]
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach This Science Object, co-developed between FDA and NSTA, is the third of four Science Objects in the Nutrition SciPack. It explores nutrients and the specific physiological functions associated with each nutrient. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provide energy for body movement and physiological processes; proteins provide building material for body tissue as well as substances for important physiological processes; and vitamins and minerals regulate body processes. Water carries nutrients, provides an environment for many physiological functions and is part of the composition of the body itself. Getting too much or too little of these nutrients can cause undesired effects; good nutrition involves getting the right amounts {and in the right combinations}. Other substances in food, including phytonutrients, may also have important health benefits that are not yet well understood.
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