Thinking Like an Ecologistby: Jenn Carlson

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This article presents a lesson in which students examine current field research on global change. In particular, students investigate the effect of carbon dioxide and tropospheric ozone on ecosystems by applying their knowledge of scientific inquiry and photosynthesis. The goal of the activity is for students to think like ecologists and draw connections between the data and their everyday energy choices.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:29 AM

Using data from Aspen FACE (free air carbon dioxide enrichment), students investigate the effect of carbon dioxide and tropospheric ozone on plant growth. The open-ended inquiry requires students to analyze authentic data sets in order to justify their conclusions. Web sites, tips for modifications for lower-ability learners, guided research questions, and assessment rubrics are included in the article. Students will experience success with the guided inquiry approach to an open-ended problem. Utilizing the numerous teaching resources included, you will be able to implement this inquiry into your classroom with little outside preparation.

Patty McGinnis
Patty McGinnis

  • on Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:36 PM

The author describes a terrific lesson plan sequence for a student-centered exploration of the interconnections between carbon dioxide, Global Climate Change, tropospheric ozone and plant growth. An initial formative assessment essay example is provided that is used to uncover student misconceptions. A sample guided question set helps students conduct independent background research and pose hypotheses. Students then use real-time data from the current Aspen FACE (Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) field research project to analyze data sets and reach conclusions about their hypotheses. This student investigation of a current field research project will give students practice with applying the scientific method and can help students learn how to think like ecologists.

Dorothy Ginnett  (Stevens Point, WI)
Dorothy Ginnett (Stevens Point, WI)

  • on Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:38 AM

Though impacts of atmospheric gases is the focus of the study, the article discusses experimental design in an understandable and thorough manner.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

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