Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:49 AM
Wonderful Resource for Teachers of All Grades
The Flow of Matter and Energy in Ecosystems SciGuide was a wonderful resource to refresh my knowledge on matter and energy flow. Although it is designed around middle school content, I felt that the information presented could easily be utilized by all teachers, K-12. The information in this SciGuide was presented well in a clear and logical order that was easy to follow. As a teacher from Hawaii, I loved how it included examples from Hawaii’s ecosystems, including coral reef ecosystems. It taught me things I didn’t know and helped to reinforce concepts I had forgotten about. The examples they gave could be used with my students as part of a place-based science unit. I am even considering taking my students to the Waikiki Aquarium to teach the concepts from this SciGuide, since the mini aquariums at the Waikiki Aquarium show the diverse ecosystems in Hawaii’s waters.
Although I was very impressed overall with this SciGuide, there were some flaws that I could not help but fixate on. While it may just be a browser problem, the video pop-ups would not close when I tried to exit them. I had to force quit the program and re-start it again in order to continue. Another minor annoyance was with the interactive activities where you had to draw arrows or click on specific spots to answer the questions. The program only responded when I clicked on the exact spot it was looking for. Even when I was only less than a centimeter off in my click, it would not register and said my answer was incorrect. It took forever to complete these activities and the stress it caused far outweighed any benefits gained from completing the activities.
Another downfall to this SciGuide was that it did not include information on the Nitrogen Cycle in its cycling of matter section. Knowledge of the Nitrogen Cycle is a requirement for students in my state and I felt that it should have been touched upon in this SciGuide.
There were also a couple of questions in the assessments that had answers that contradicted the information presented in the SciGuide. For example, one of the questions on an assessment was to identify all the processes that emit carbon as a product. Photosynthesis was an option, which I clicked on because photosynthesis gives off carbon in the form of glucose, but it was considered incorrect. The fact that it didn’t consider that a correct answer made me somewhat question the credibility of the questions on the assessments.
Aside from these minor flaws, I was overall very happy upon completing this SciPack and would recommend it to any science teacher looking to refresh their knowledge on matter and energy flow. It will give teachers of all grade levels tons of ideas on how to teach these concepts to their students in creative and fun ways.