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    Investigation 1: Terrestrial Environments Investigation 2: Bugs and Beetles
      1.1 Setting Up Terrariums
    1.2 Recording Changes
      2.1 Making Animal Runways
    2.2 Responding to Moisture
    2.3 Responding to Light
           
    Investigation 3: Water Tolerance Investigation 4: Ecosystems
      3.1 Virtual Fieldtrip to Two Wild Biomes
    3.2 Setting Up The Experiment
    3.3 Observing Plants
      4.1 Food Chains Pt. 1
    4.2 Food Chains Pt. 2
    4.3 How Do Environments Change?
    4.4 Tides of Change

     


    Investigation 1: Terrestrial Environments

    Students set up terrariums and observe them for two weeks, and describe the environmental factors that contribute to the terrarium environment.

    • Science & Engineering Practices: (Analyzing and Interpreting Data) Students make and record observations of plant growth. Use the student data chart provided but paste into science notebooks. Continuously add to this data throughout the investigation and allow students to share and discuss their thinking about cause and effect.
    • Crosscutting Concepts: (Cause and Effect) Students can discuss the changes the plants go through and what may be the cause of these changes.

    1.1 Setting Up Terrariums

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students plant terrariums, mapping where they put pea, corn, barley, radish, and clover seeds. Students decide how much water they need

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    An environment is everything that surrounds or influences an organism.

    Environmental factors can be living or non-living.  

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What are the living and non-living aspects of an environment?
    How do living organisms interact with and fit into their environments?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The environments on the Olympic Peninsula have living and non-living factors and these impact the plants and animals. 
    What are the living and non-living factors of the three Olympic Peninsula Environments?

    Formative Assessment Task

    Cultural Formative Assessment Idea:

    What kinds of environments are in and around your home?

    What influences you in your environment?

    Students are asked to make a photo essay of the different types of environments around their home/neighborhood

    These are shared and displayed in the classroom and then used to draw connections to the student’s lives.

    http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/31

    1.2 Recording Changes

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Every 2 to 3 days students record observations about the changes taking place in the terrariums.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    There is a relationship between environmental factors (such as how much water plants get) and how well organisms grow.
    A terrarium is a model of a small environmental system which contain both living and non-living factors.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How does the environment in the terrariums change over time?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    What are the similarities and differences between the terrarium environments and the Olympic Peninsula environments?

    Formative Assessment Task

    FOSS Student Response Sheet:

    Terrestrial Environments

    Summary Table Discussion

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Create a summary table as a sense-making exercise to consider the connection between the planted terrariums and the environments on the Olympic Peninsula.

    • Create summary table (see sample provided)
    • Use student ideas to complete the table

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Non-living factors are a part of an environment and have an influence on the plants and animals that live in a given area.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How is your terrarium system like a model for a larger environment?

    What are the living and non-living factors that will influence the growth of your terrarium models?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The model terrariums are like the environments on the Olympic Peninsula in that both have plants and the plants grow in response to the non-living factors.

    Investigation 2: Bugs and Beetles

    Students do a range of experiments on isopods and beetles to study how their behavior is influenced by the environmental factors. Students make observations about the body structures of the animals and consider how these structures allow them to survive in their environments.

    • Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and carrying out investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    • Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Structure and Function, Patterns

    2.1 Making Animal Runways

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students construct aluminum foil runways in order to conduct an investigation on organisms environmental preferences.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Designing an investigation involves controlling the variables so that the effect of one factor can be observed.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What type of environment do isopods and beetles prefer?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    Animals like plants have specific structures that allow them to live and thrive in specific environments.

    This investigation will allow us to determine what beetles and sow bugs prefer.

     

    2.2 Responding to Moisture

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Using the constructed runways, students investigate how isopods and beetles respond to the environmental factor of water.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Every organism has a set of preferred environmental conditions. Isopods prefer moist environments; beetles prefer dry

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How much moisture do isopods and beetles prefer?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    Animals like plants have specific structures that allow them to live and thrive in specific environments.

    This investigation will allow us to determine what beetles and sow bugs prefer (moist or dry) environments. The connection here is to the plants that prefer moist vs dry environments on the Olympic Peninsula. What plants do you think prefer moist or dry environment and why?

    Formative Assessment Task

    Science Notebooks: Students create a data table for recording results of the investigation.

    Optional: Create a class chart of data for interpretation.

    2.3 Responding to Light

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Using constructed runways, students conduct an investigation, students conduct an investigation of how isopods and beetles repond to the environmental factor of light.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Every organism including plants and animals has a set of preferred environmental conditions. Isopods and beetles prefer dark environments.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How do isopods and beetles respond to different amounts of light?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    Animals like plants have preferred environments that they have adapted to live in and have specific structures that allow them to function well.

    The plants at the various environments in the Olympic Peninsula need light but some need more light than others.

    Formative Assessment Task

    Science Notebook Entry (Reflective and Analytical Writing):

    Based on our evidence from our animal investigations, explain how the environmental conditions in your terrariums match the preferences of the beetles and the isopods? 

    Investigation 3: Water Tolerance

    In this investigation students conduct experiments on three different kinds of plants to discover their range of tolerance for water. Students begin their investigation of water tolerance by taking a virtual fieldtrip to two very different biomes (environments) found here in North America a Temperate Rainforest in Washington State and a Desert in Arizona where water plays a critical role in shaping the structure and function of the organisms living in these biomes.

    • Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and Carrying out Investigations
    • Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns & Cause and Effect

    3.1 Virtual Fieldtrip to Two Wild Biomes

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students participate in a virtual fieldtrip learning about the role of water in two very different Biomes (environments).
    Resource: Natureworks
    Wild Biomes: From America’s Rainforest to America’s Desert

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Water plays a key role in various environments such as the temperate rainforest here on the Olympic Peninsula and a desert in Arizona.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What are the key differences between the organisms in a temperate rainforest such as the Hoh Rainforest here in WA State and a desert environment in Arizona.

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    Water is a non-living factor in the environments on the Olympic Peninsula. The plants and animals are very different depending on the availability of water.

    Formative Assessment Task

    See discussion questions with a focus on questions #1-4 and #14 in Teacher's Guide

    3.2 Setting Up The Experiment

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students isolate one factor, water, in the environment of plants, and set up an experiment to determine the range of water tolerance for the early growth of four different plants.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Every organism has a range of tolerance for each factor in the environment.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What are the optimal water conditions for each of four plants: corn, wheat, barley, and peas?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The different tree species on the Olympic Peninsula have different ranges of tolerance for water. This is the reason why you don’t find species of cactus in the temperate rainforest. As the amount of rainfall changes the species of trees and scrubs change based on individual plant tolerance for water. Water is a non-living factor that has a direct impact on the species in an environment.

    Formative Assessment Task

    Teacher Observations

    3.3 Observing Plants at 5 and 8 days and at 11 or more days

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students make observations at 5,8, and 11 days of growth

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Organisms have specific requirements for successful growth, development, and reproduction. Optimal conditions are those most favorable to an organism.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What changes in the plant have taken place over time?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    See above

    Formative Assessment Task

    Science notebooks: students record measurements over time

    Investigation 4: Ecosystems

    In this investigation students build on their understanding of environments to consider the idea that energy can pass from one organism to another through a food chain.  Students will consider energy flow through a desert and a tundra ecosystem and the be introduced to the terms: producer, consumer, and decomposer. 

    This investigation has been added to the FOSS Environments module.

    4.1 Food Chains Part 1 (Desert Food Chain- Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers)  

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students discuss what they had for breakfast and then consider the idea that our food comes from plants which get energy from the sun. Students examine and sort desert food chain cards and learn about producers and consumers.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Organisms in an environment are connected to one another by the flow of energy which originates in the sun.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    Where do the different organisms in a desert get their food? Who eats whom?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The living things in an ecosystem rely on each other for energy or food. This energy originates in the sun and flows through the various organisms from producers to consumers and then to decomposers. The trees on the Olympic Peninsula are producers that get their energy from the sun. The trees have different structures (leaves and needles) to allow them to collect the light energy from the sun.

    Formative Assessment Task

    Science Notebooks: Have students draw and label a simple food chain in their notebooks labeling the producers and consumers.

    4.2 Food Chains Part 2 (Chaparral and Tundra)

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students are grouped and then presented with either a chaparral or tundra food chain packet. Working with a partner, students are asked to create a food chain for their designated ecosystem and then label the consumers, producers, and the decomposer.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    You can trace the flow of energy in different kinds of ecosystems like the tundra and desert. Each of these food chains share certain characteristics such as producers, consumers, and decomposers.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How are ecosystems like one another? How are they different?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The desert and tundra ecosystems have very different types of organisms but they each have producers, consumers, and decomposers. The ecosystems on the Olympic Peninsula also have producers, consumers, and decomposers.

    Formative Assessment Task

    Student pairs will share their food chains by displaying them in the classroom. Look for correctly pointing arrows to show the flow of energy and for correctly labeled producers, consumers, and decomposers.

    4.3 How Do Environments Change?

    Link to Massachusetts model curriculum files

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students explore different changes to an environment and the effect on populations of organisms. The focus is on three key factors: change in climate, change in resource availability (including water, food, shelter), and change in the shape of the land. As you plan, consider the variability of learners in your class and make adaptations as necessary.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Changes in the environment can affect the survival of different kinds of plants and animals. Changes can have natural causes such as landform changes, changes in climate, and change in resource availability.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What happens to organisms when they can’t meet their needs?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The ecosystems on the North Olympic Peninsula are changing and this changes what organisms can survive in each of these environments. 

    Formative Assessment Task

    Review the scenarios displayed by the students to ensure understanding of the concepts.

    4.4 Tides of Change

    Tides of Change Video Download    (YouTube Streaming Version)  (Vimeo Streaming Version)

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students watch a video highlighting the work of Coastal Ecologist Dr. Steven Fradkin who studies the coast in Olympic National Park.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Changes in ocean water can impact the marine creatures that live in the tidal zones. The coastal ecosystems are impacted by non-living factors such as temperature and the chemistry of the water.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How can the change in climate impact or change the coastal environment?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The Olympic Peninsula has unique coastal environments that have living organisms like mussels, sea birds, and crabs. The coastal environments also have non-living factors such as ocean water that are changing due to increases in carbon dioxide released by humans burning fossil fuels. These changes over time can change the living organisms in the environment.