Ecology, Energy and Pollution/Conservation

    Dave Oakes
    Dunn Rd.
    Box 261
    Belgrade, ME  04917
    David_Oakes@sad47.k12.me.us
 

Ecology Activities

Energy Activities

Pollution/Conservation Activities

I.  Introduction
The following science activities are aligned with and support the implementation of the State of Maine Learning Results.   As the Science and Technology section of the Maine Learning Results states, Helping students develop curiosity and excitement for science and technology while they gain essential knowledge and skills is best achieved by actively engaging learners in multiple experiences that increase their ability to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.  It was with this in mind that these activities were developed.
    The activities  encourage the development of basic science concepts through activity-based, learner centered approaches.  The hands-on nature of the activities can be exciting and afford students an opportunity to become actively involved in their own learning.  Hence, the activities are designed to:
* actively engage student learning
* be open-ended and encourage further study and/or application
* be simple enough for students to engage in without an excessive amount of teacher input
* make use of simple, low-cost materials and designs that present challenges without being so difficult as to create frustration.
* provide fun learning experiences
    The activities should be implemented within a learner-centered environment where the teacher acts as a facilitator: guiding students toward developing initiative, creativity, independence, critical thinking, problem solving and responsibility.  Some characteristic of learner-centered approaches include:
1. Children or learners learn by doing.
2. Children or learners learn through exploration, questioning, observing, gathering information, discovering, etc.
3. They gain first-hand experience through investigation and problem-solving processes.
4. Children or learners are able to work alone and in small groups at their own level and pace.
5. They discover and correct mistakes with the help of other children and/or the teacher.
6. Children or learners are encouraged to create things.
7. Children or learners learn through meaningful activity: they should understand what they are learning, why it is important, and how it relates to their personal life and to the world as a whole.
    Although the activities were developed primarily for upper-elementary students, many of the activities can be used by a wide-range of grade levels, including K to 12.  Teachers should feel free to adapt the materials to meet the individual needs of their students.  Many of the activities that follow have been adapted from activities found in the resources in the bibliography.


Ecology Activities

A.  Introduction
Ecology is the study of living things in their home or environment.  The term ecology is derived from the Greek word oikos, meaning "house" or "place to live."  It is the study of the interactions between organisms and their living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) environment.
    Virtually all life on earth exists in the biosphereóa thin film of air, water, and rock extending from approximately 200 feet below the earthís surface to about 20,000 feet above sea level.   Living things within the biosphere may be examined at several different levels of organization.
    The most inclusive level of organization is the ecosystem: a complex, self-sustaining natural system where living organisms interact with each other and with the non-living components.   An ecosystem can be as large as a grassland, forest, lake, or even an ocean, or as small as a riverbank or treehole.   Regardless of its size, all ecosystems include the following characteristics:  1.  The sunís energy is fixed by plants and then transferred to consumers and decomposers; and  2.  Nutrients are cycled and recycled through the various living components of the ecosystem.  No system is completely closed, however.  There is always some flow of resources and organisms into and out of an ecosystem.
    The next level of organization is the community: an interdependent grouping of living organisms sharing the same environment.  Communities comprise the living elements of an ecosystem.  Like ecosytems, communities may be large or small, ranging from a coniferous forest community that might span a continent to the inhabitants of a rotting log community or the community of microorganisms living in an animalís large intestine.
    A population is an interbreeding group of organisms of the same species sharing a particular space (Marsh Hawks, woodchucks and field mice are examples of populations of animals that might share a common field habitat).  Energy and nutrients flow through a population.  Its size is regulated by its relationships to other populations in the community and by the abiotic characteristics of the ecosystem in which it is found.  Each community is composed of several populations of plants, animals and microorganisms.
    The lowest level of organization within the biosphere is the organism itself.
    The abiotic component of an ecosystem includes physical characteristics such as temperature, wind, moisture, sunlight, latitude, altitude, nature of soil, fire, etc. and by chemical features, which include various essential nutrients.  These characteristics determine the basic nature of the ecosystem.
    The biotic componentóthe population of plants, animals and microorganisms that form the communities of the ecosystemómay be categorized into producers, consumers and decomposers.  The producers, mostly green plants, use the energy of the sun to mix sugars and carbon dioxide to produce food.  This energy is made available to the consumers and decomposers who in turn convert the organic compounds of plants into compounds required for their own growth and activity.
    The source of energy that sustains life on earth is the sun.   It lights and warms the earth and provides the energy used by green plants to synthesize the compounds that keep them alive and serve as food for almost all other organisms.   This complicated process (called photosynthesis) begins when sunlight is absorbed by pigments such as chlorophyll, which gives the plants their green color.  The plants use this energy to combine carbon dioxide (which they get from the atmosphere or water) with water (which they get from the soil or aquatic surroundings) to make carbohydratesósugars (such as glucose), starches, and celluloses.  Oxygen gas is given off as a by-product of photosynthesis.  Photosynthesis can be summarized as follows:

Carbon dioxide  + solar +  water  =  oxygen + energy  (glucose)

Solar energy also powers the recycling of key chemicals and drives the climate and weather systems that distribute heat and fresh water over the earthís surface.

B.  Ecology Learning Activities
The following ecology activities are aligned with the Science and Technology section of the State of Maine Learning Results.  Section B Ecology states that Students will understand how living things depend on one another and on non-living aspects of the environment.  Balance in ecosystems is based on an intricate web of relationships among populations of living organisms and on non-living factors such as water and temperature.  Changes in specific populations or conditions affect other parts of the ecosystem.  Individual systems continually change in response to human and other factors.  Each of the following activities supports specific Maine Learning Results objectives.

1.  Food Producers

 MLR Objectives:  Ecology:  Explain the difference between producers (e.g. green plants), consumers (e.g. those that eat green plants), and decomposers (e.g. bacteria that break down the "consumers" when they die), and identify examples of each.  Describe in general terms the processed of photosynthesis and respiration.   Inquiry and Problem Solving:  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.   Scientific Reasoning:  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To demonstrate that starch, a food substance, is produced in leaves.

Grade level  3, 4, 5

Time  Approximately 15 to 20 minutes (requires 24 hour advance planning)

Materials
 paper towels
tincture of iodine
pale green leaf
rubbing alcohol
pint (500 ml) jar with a lid
shallow dish
measuring cup (250 ml)
Procedure
* Place the pale green leaf in the jar.  The paler the leaf, the easier it will be to extract the green pigment, chlorophyll.
* Pour 1 cup of alcohol into the jar.  Put the lid on the jar.
* Allow the jar to stand for one day.
* Remove the leaf and dry it b blotting with a paper towel.
* Add enough iodine to cover the leaf.

Results  Dark areas appear on the leaf.

Why?  Photosynthesis is an energy-producing reaction that occurs in the leaves of plants.  Starch, a food substance, is one of the products of this reaction.  Soaking the leaf in alcohol removes the waxy coating on the leaf and partially removes the green pigment, chlorophyll.  It is easier to see the results of the starch test without the presence of the green chlorophyll.  Iodine combines with starch particles to form a dark purple to black color.

Extension
1.  What is needed in order for plants to grow?  What is photosynthesis?
2.  Why do we call green plants producers?  What do they produce?  Who uses what they produce?  Could we live without these producers?   Why or why not?
3.  Give examples of how plants and animals depend upon each other.

2. Growing Season

Maine Learning Results Objectives:  Ecology  Investigate the connection between major living and non-living components of an ecosystem.  Inquiry and Problem Solving  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.  Scientific Reasoning  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To demonstrate the effect of temperature on seed growth.

Grade Level  3 and 4

Time  Approximately 15 to 20 minutes (15 minute set-up time; 5 minute daily observation time each day for a week)

Materials
8 pinto beans
paper towels
2 drinking glasses (can use more)

Procedure/Description  Prepare the glasses as follows:
a)  Fold one sheet of paper towel and line the inside of the glass with it.
b)  Wad sheets of paper towels and stuff them into the glass to hold the paper lining against the glass.
c)  Place four beans between the glass and the paper towel lining.  Evenly space the beans around the center of the glass.
* Moisten the paper towel with water.  The paper should be damp not dripping wet.
* Place one glass in the refrigerator and keep the other at normal room temperature.
* Keep the paper in both glasses moist.
* Observe each glass for one week.

Results  The beans at room temperature have started to grow, but the ones in the refrigerator are unchanged.

Why?  Seeds need a specific temperature to grow and beans require warmth.  Very few seeds sprout during the fall and winter months.  Most lay dormant, unchanging during the cold parts of the year, and start to grow when the ground warms.

Extension
1.  Discuss the effect of seasonal change on plant growth.
2.  What do seeds do in winter?  What happens to seeds in the spring?
3.  What other factors effect seed (and plant) growth (e.g. moisture, soil conditions, latitude, altitude, pollution, etc.)?

 3. Lights Out
Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology  Investigate the connection between major living and non-living components of an ecosystem.  Describe in general terms the chemical processes of photosynthesis and respiration.  Inquiry and Problem Solving  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.  Scientific Reasoning  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To determine the effect of sunlight on plant survival.

Grade Level  2, 3,  4 and 5

Time  Approximately 10 to 15 minutes (7 day wait period and 10 minute follow-up discussion)

Materials
house plant
black construction paper
scissors
cellophane tape

Procedure/Description
* Cut two pieces of black construction paper large enough to cover one leaf on the plant.
* Sandwich the leaf between the two paper pieces.
* Tape the paper together.  It is important that the leaf not receive any sunlight.
* Wait 7 days.
* Uncover the leaf and observe its color.

Results  The covered leaf is much paler than the other leaves on the plant.

Why?  A green chemical called chlorophyll gives leaves their green color.  In the absence of sunlight, the green pigment is used up and not replenished in the leaf resulting in a light-colored leaf.  Since chlorophyll is necessary for plant survival, the leaf will die without sunlight.

Extension
1. Have students give examples from their own experience of leaves losing their color. What leaves lose color?      When do they lose their color?  Why do they lose color?
2.  Do we need green plants?  Why are they important?
3.  How many students and/or parents have a home garden?  When do they plant certain vegetables and why?
4.  What do you suppose would happen if there was no sunlight?
5.  Besides sunlight, what else do plants need to grow?  Give examples.

 4.Compass Plant

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology  Investigate the connection between major living and non-living components of an ecosystem.  Describe in general terms the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.  Inquiry and Problem Solving  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.  Scientific Reasoning  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To observe the water-absorbing ability of lichens which may be used to explain the plantsí north-seeking habit.

Grade Level  3, 4. 5, 6

Time  15 to 25 minutes

Materials
glass of water
eye dropper
lichen samples
microscope
compass

Procedure/Description
* Use the compass to determine the direction that the side of the tree with the most lichen growth is pointing.
* Observe your lichen samples under a microscope.
* Use the eye dropper to add drops of water on the lichen samples until they are wet.
    Results  Close observation of the lichen reveals that it is not one plant, but a combination of two.  One plant is made up of tiny colorless strands and the other is round and green.  The lichen absorbs water like a sponge.
    Why?  The stands of colorless cells are parts of a fungus.  Since the fungus has no chlorophyll, it cannot make its own food, but it does act like a sponge and absorbs water and holds it.  The threads also attach to the bark of the tree and anchors the plant.  The green algae manufactures sugar and starch which it shares with the fungus. The fact that the lichen is generally found on the north side of a tree has nothing to do with the magnetic field, but since moisture is a vital necessity for the plant it survives best where it can retain moisture the longest.  The north and northeast sides of trees have the most shade and thus lower evaporation rate.

Extension
1.  Why do you think lichen tends to grow on the north and northeast sides of trees?  What type of sunlight and    moisture would lichen receive there?  What does this tell you about lichen?
2.  Do you think that the fungus in the lichen could survive without the algae?  Do you think the algae in the     lichen could survive without the fungus?  Why or why not?
3.  What else did you observe about where the lichen was growing?  What does this tell you about lichen?

5.Algae Growth

Maine Learning Results Objectives:  Ecology:  Explain the difference between producers (e.g. green plants), consumers (e.g. those that eat green plants), and decomposers (e.g. bacteria that break down the "consumers" when they die), and identify examples of each.  Describe in general terms the chemical processes of photosynthesis and respiration.  Inquiry and Problem Solving:  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.   Scientific Reasoning:  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To grow algae.

Grade Level  3, 4, and 5

Time  10 minute set-up time and then  two 5 minute observations at 7 days and 14 days

Materials
clear glass jar
pond water (collect from a lake, pond, or an aquarium that needs cleaning)
pond plant (may be found at a pet store or lake)

Procedure/Description
* Add the water to the jar.
* Place the plant in the water.
* Place the jar near a window that receives direct sunlight.
* Examine the jar after 7 days and then after 14 days.

Results  The color of the water becomes increasingly more green.

Why?  There are 30,000 different types of algae.  Many are green due to the abundance of a green pigment called chlorophyll.  Algae makes its own food, as do other plants by a process called photosynthesis.  The necessary requirements for this reaction are carbon dioxide, water, light, and chlorophyll.  The algae grows in its sunny, watery environment producing more and more cells that contain the green chlorophyll.  As the number of these cells increases, the water becomes greener in color.  Some algae are brown and some are red.  It is the abundance of red algae that gives the water in the Red Sea its reddish color.

Extension
1.  What causes the algae to grow?   What conditions need to be present for algae to grow?
2.  Where else have you seen algae growing?
3.  In what ways is algae growth good?  In what ways is it not so good?
4.  Why are some lakes in Maine having problems with algae growth?  What can be done about this problem?
6.  Decomposers

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology:  Explain the difference between producers (e.g. green plants), consumers (e.g. those that eat green plants), and decomposers (e.g. bacteria that break down the "consumers" when they die), and identify examples of each.  Inquiry and Problem Solving:  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.   Scientific Reasoning:  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To observe the effects of yeast on food decomposition.

Grade Level  3 and 4

Time  10 minute initial set-up and 5 minute observation after one week

Materials
banana
2 plastic sandwich bags
measuring spoon (teaspoonó5 ml)
marker

Procedure/Description
* Cut 2 slices from the banana
* Place a slice of banana inside each plastic bag.
* Sprinkle one-half of a spoon of yeast on one of the banana slices.
* Close both bags.
* Mark the bag containing the yeast with a Y.
* Check each bag for one week.  Which banana slice shows the most and fastest decomposition?

Results  The banana covered with yeast shows the most and fastest decomposition.

Why?  Yeast is one of 100,000 different kinds of organisms that make up the fungi group.  They all lack chlorophyll and must depend on other organisms for food.  The yeast feeds on the banana causing it to break into smaller parts.   This breakdown is referred to as decay.  Decomposers are an important part of our world because there is much dead material that must be broken into smaller pats and reused by plants and animals.  The fertilizer used on plants and gardens has many decomposers working in it to make the material usable by the plants.

Extension
1.  Give other examples of decomposers.  Why are they important?
2.  What would the world be like if there were no decomposers?  What would happen if there was no decay?
3.  When matter decays, where does it go?  This question could be used to introduce the law of conservation of matter: in all physical and chemical changes we canít create or destroy any of the atoms involved.  Everything we think has gone away is still with us in one form or another.  There is no away.

7. Independence
Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology:  Explain the difference between producers (e.g. green plants), consumers (e.g. those that eat green plants), and decomposers (e.g. bacteria that break down the "consumers" when they die), and identify examples of each.  Describe in general terms the chemical processes of photosynthesis and respiration.  Inquiry and Problem Solving:  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.   Scientific Reasoning:  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To demonstrate the independence of plants.

Grade Level  3, 4, and 5

Time  5 minute set-up and 30 day follow-up observation

Materials
1 gallon (4 liter) jar with a large mouth and lid for a small plant

Procedure/Description
* Moisten the soil of the plant.
* Place the entire plant, pot and all, inside the gallon jar.
* Close the jar with its lid.
* Place the jar somewhere that receives sunlight for part of the day.
* Leave the jar closed for 30 days.

Results  Periodically, drops of water will be seen on the inside of the jar.  The plant continues to grow.

Why?  The water drops come from the moisture in the soil and from the plant leaves.  Plants use the sugar in their cells plus oxygen from the air to produce carbon dioxide, water, and energy.  This is called the respiration reaction.  They can use the carbon dioxide, water, chlorophyll, and light energy in their cells to produce sugar, oxygen, and energy.  This process is called photosynthesis.  Notice that the products of the respiration reaction fuel the photosynthesis reaction and vice versa.  Plants continue to make their own food.  They eventually die in the closed bottle because the nutrients in the soil are used up.

Extension
1.  What do plants need to survive?
2.  What do plants produce?
3.  How do plants produce food?
4.   Why can plants live independently?

8.Leaf Colors
Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology:  Describe in general terms the chemical processes of photosynthesis and respiration.  Inquiry and Problem Solving:  Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.   Scientific Reasoning:  Draw conclusions about observations.

Purpose  To separate and identify color pigments in leaves.

Grade Level   4, 5, 6

Time  15 minute preparation and 10 minute follow-up observation after 30 minutes

Materials
alcohol
green plant
coffee filter
pencil
baby food jar
ruler

Procedure/Description
* Place the leaf, top side down, on the edge of the coffee filter.
* Rub the pencil lead back and fourth ten times over the leaf about one half inch (13 mm) from the edge of the paper.
* Rotate the leaf and repeat step two.  Continue moving and marking on the leaf until a single dark green spot forms on the filter paper.
* Cut a one-half inch (13mm) strip to the center of the filter.
* Bend the strip down to form a tab.
* Place the filter on top of the jar with the bent tab inside the jar.
* Lift the filter and slowly pour alcohol into the jar to a depth that allows the bottom of the paper tab to barely touch the liquid.  Important: Be sure the alcohol level is below the green dot on the paper.
* Allow the paper to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.

Results  The alcohol starts to move up the paper tab, and the green dot dissolves in it.  As the green alcohol solution climbs up the paper, the green color stops and a yellow streak forms.

Why?  Plants contain several color pigments that are necessary in the energy production reaction called photosynthesis.  The green pigment is the most abundant, causing most plant leaves to appear green in color.  Another pigment is present, but in smaller quantities.  It is called carotenoid and ranges in color from red to yellow.  Carotenoid is responsible for the color of fruits and flowers.  The beautiful colors of fall leaves are due to the fact that chlorophyll stops being formed first, leaving carotenoid to display its colors.

9.Forest in a Jar
Maine Learning Results Objectives:  Ecology:  Describe succession and other ways that ecosystems can change over time.  Inquiry and Problem Solving  Verify and evaluate scientific investigations and use the results in a purposeful way.  Scientific Reasoning  Support reasoning by using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.
    Purpose  Students will be able to: 1) observe and describe succession; and 2) summarize what they have learned about how environments change.

Grade Level  4, 5, 6

Time  5 to 10 minutes for one or two days a week for several weeks; 20 to 30 minutes for summary activity

Materials
pint or quart jars (one per student or small group of students)  water,  soil,  aquatic plants (one per jar),  two cups bird seed

Procedure/Description  Students conduct an experiment using soil, water, seeds, a plant and a jar; and then draw a poster to represent their observations and findings.
1. Place two inches of soil and three inches of water in a jar.  Place the jar at a window, without a lid, and allow it to settle overnight.
2. Plant an aquatic plant in the jar.  It should grow well in this environment.  If your classroom has no windows, substitute a grow-light.
3. Do not replace the water that evaporates from the jar.
4. Once or twice a week, have students add three or four bird seeds to the jar.  While there is water in the jar, the seeds should germinate and then rot.  Continue adding seeds even after the water evaporates.
5. As the water evaporates down to the soil, the aquatic plant will die.  The bird seeds will now find the environment suitable for successful growth.  Sunflower seeds, which grow large, can be added to represent forest trees.  You will now need to add water, as a substitute for rainfall, to keep the soil damp to keep things growing.
6. Have each student make a poster, drawing or other visual representation of what they saw happen to their "pond."  Ask them to talk about what they have learned about how environments can change.  Introduce the term, "succession," to older students.

Extension  Take a field trip to a pond.  What plants are growing in the water?  What plants are growing on the shore?  What similarities are there between this real pond and the "pond" in the jar?   Describe three changes you saw happen to what was inside the jar.
 

10. Pond Succession

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology:  Describe succession and other ways that ecosystems can change over time.   Inquiry and Problem Solving  Verify and evaluate scientific investigations and use the results in a purposeful way.  Scientific Reasoning  Support reasoning by using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to:
1) recognize that natural environments are involved in a process of continual change;
2) discuss the concept of succession;
3) describe succession as an example of the process of change in natural environments; and 4) apply understanding of the concept of succession by drawing a series of pictures showing stages in pond succession.

Grade Level  5, 6, and 7

Time  one or two 30 minute periods (depending upon how much time the teacher would like to devote to the lesson)

Materials  large pieces of drawing paper for the murals;  tape for securing paper to walls;  markers or crayons

Method  Students create murals showing three major stages of pond succession.
Background  Succession is a term used to describe the ever-changing environment and the gradual process by which one habitat is replaced by another.  Many habitats that appear to be stable are changing before usóperhaps at a slow rate to human eyes, but evolving rather quickly according to the earthís geologic clock.  For example, a shallow pond may be transformed into a marshy, then forested, area in only a thousand years or so.  Wind-blown or water borne spores of algae are the first inhabitants.  Eggs of flying insects are deposited.  Small fish and amphibians arrive through the inlet. Surrounding sediments begin to fill the pond, some borne on wash-out from rainfall, some entering through the pondís inlet.  Marshy plants growing along the shoreline spread inward as sediments fill the pond.  Eventually land plants also spread inward replacing the marsh plants.  Changes from ponds to forest are only one example of succession.  The major purpose of this activity is for students to learn that the environment is not static, but ever-changing, and to see an example of how these changes progress over time.

Procedure
1.  Review with students the idea of successionóthe orderly, gradual, and continual replacement of one community of plants and animals with another.
2.  Start by talking about a pond.  How many people have seen a pond?  What did it look like?  After a description of ponds, ask the students to imagine what a pond would look like from a side view if you could see under the water and show the nearby environment (Draw a picture on the board or show a magazine picture of a side view of a pond).
3.  Explain to the students that they will be drawing a series of three views of a pond over a time period of about 800 years.  The first (left-hand) section will show the pond as it is today; the middle section how it might look 500 years from now, after natural changes; and the third (right-hand) how the pond could look in 800 years.
4.  Discuss with them the possibilities of plant and animal life in the first section.  What kinds of plants and animals live: in the water; along the shoreline; in the surrounding area?
5.  Then give each group their piece of paper which they will divide into three equal sections (by folding or drawing).  Instruct them to fill in the first section with their drawing of the pond and the surrounding area.  Set a specific time frame for the students to draw (about ten minutes).
6.  Bring the class together again for a discussion of the second section labelled "500 years later."  a) What changes in the environment have taken place?  b) How will the pond look now?  c) What lives and grows in the water now that it is much shallower and smaller?  d) What lives and grows in the surrounding area?  Have each group complete the second section of the mural.
7.  Repeat the same process for the third section, labelling it "800 years later." Discuss the following: a) By this time the pond is almost totally filled with sediment, leaving only a small marshy area with perhaps a stream running through.  What changes have taken place?  b) What lives and grows in the environment?  c) What lives and grows where the shoreline used to be? d) What effects does the pond succession have on the surrounding area? (different animals, trees requiring less water, etc.)
8.  Display the murals and ask students to discuss the similarities and differences between the various murals.  Then have the students summarize what they have learned about how succession is an example of the ongoing process of change in natural environments.

Extension  Visit the real thing if time permits and compare and contrast with student drawings.

 11. The Thicket Game

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology:  Generate examples of the ways that organisms interact (e.g. predator/preyÖ).   Inquiry and Problem Solving  Verify and evaluate scientific investigations and use the results in a purposeful way.  Scientific Reasoning  Support reasoning by using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to:
1) define adaptation in animals; and
2) generalize that all animals make some adaptations in order to survive.

Grade Level  K to 6

Time  30 minutes

Materials  blindfolds, outdoor area like a thicket or other vegetated where students can safely hide.

Method  Students become "predator" and "prey" in a version of "hide and seek."

Background  Animals are adapted  to their environment in order to survive.  Animals may be adapted to changes in their habitats.  For example, showshoe rabbits have a white winter coat to blend with the snowy environment and a tan summer coat to blend with summer ground and vegetation colors.  Chameleons change color to blend with their surroundings.  The walking-stick can look like a twig or a stick.  Fawns have spotted hair that resembles dappled light on the forest floor.  The major purpose of this activity is for students to understand the importance of adaptation to animals.

Procedure
1. Take the class to a thicket.
2. Blindfold one student who will be the "predator."  The predator counts to 15 slowly while the others hide.   The students hiding must be able to see the predator at all times.
3. After counting, the predator removes the blindfold and looks for "prey."  The predator can turn around, squat, and stand on tip-toesóbut not walk or change location.  The predator should see how many students he or she can find, identify them out loud and describe where they are.  When identified, they come to the predator because they have been "eaten."  These prey now become predators.
4. When the original predator cannot see and more students, all the predators now put on blindfolds.  The original predator counts aloud to ten.  All the remaining prey are to move in closer, but still try to be "safe" and hidden.  All the predators remove their blindfolds and take turns naming students they can see.
5. Repeat the process if several students remain hidden.  When only one or two are left hidden, have them stand up and identify themselves; it may be surprising how close these prey were to the predatorsóan example of successful adaptation because of how well they blend with their environment in order to survive.  Introduce the term "adaptation."
6. Discuss what would have made it easier to be the last one or get very close to the predators (e.g. changing clothes color, being smaller size, climbing a tree, etc.).
7. Ask the students to summarize what they have learned.  See if your students can think of other adaptation in animals.
8. Describe the importance of adaptation to animals.  Give at least two examples of animal adaptation.

 12.Good Buddies

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology:  Generate examples of the ways that organisms interact (e.g. competition, predator/prey, parasitism/mutualism).   Inquiry and Problem Solving  Verify and evaluate scientific investigations and use the results in a purposeful way.  Scientific Reasoning  Support reasoning by using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to: 1) define symbiosis, commensalism, mutualism, and parasitism;  2) identify animals who live in each type of symbiotic relationship; and 3) explain that symbiotic relationships are examples of the intricate web of interdependence within which all plants and animals live.

Grade Level  4 through 7

Time  two 30 minute sessions;  one 45 minute period if background is provided eliminating student research

Materials  Cardboard for making cards,  marking pens

Method  Students research pairs of animals, play a card game, and classify the pairs of animals according to three major forms of symbiotic relationship.

Background  Elements of any ecological system live in an intricate web of interdependence.  When two species of organisms live in close physical contact with each other, their relationship is called symbiotic.  There are three major forms of symbiotic relationships:
Commensalism  A relationship in which one species derives food or shelter from another species without seriously harming that organism or providing any benefits in return.
Mutualism  A reciprocal relationship in which two different species live in a symbiotic way where both species benefit and are dependent upon the relationship.
Parasitism  A relationship between two species in which one species (the parasite) nourishes itself to the detriment of the other species (the host).

The major purpose of this activity is for students to become familiar with the concept of symbiosis as one example of interdependence in ecological systems.

Procedure
1. Make up several decks of cards (one deck for every five or six students).  Each deck should contain 16 card pairs of symbiotic relationships and one "no buddy" card.  Examples of pairs include:
 barnacle/whale
 cowbird/buffalo
 bee/marabou stork
 hermit crab/snail shell
 aphid/and
 pilot fish/shark
 oxpecker/rhinocerous
 damselfish/sea anemone
 gull/brown bear
 ostrich/warthog
 yucca moth/yucca
 tick/dog
 cattle egret/cow (African Ankole)
 moth/sloth
 honey guide bird/badger

2.  Pass out a card to each student (do not include the "no buddy" card), and, by means of looking at a posted list on the chalkboard, have each student find his or her "buddy."
3.  These pairs of buddies should then research to find out why they are buddies, answering the following questions: Why do we live together? What advantages and disadvantages do we provide one another?  What would happen if one of us wanít here?
4.  Pairs of buddies then give short reports to the class, telling about their relationship.
5.  Divide the class into groups of five to six students each, and give each group a deck of cards.  Instruct the students as to how to play the game.
6.  Deal out all the cards.  Play starts to the left of the dealer and rotates in a clockwise manner.  Each player draws one card from the player to his or her left.  After the player has drawn a card, that player may lay down all cards in his or her hand which form symbiotic pairs.  When a player does not have an cards left in his or her hand, the game is over.  The player with the largest number of pairs at the end of the game is the winner.  One player is left holding the "no buddy" card at the end of the game.
7.  To culminate the activity, discuss the definitions given in the background information for commensalism, mutualism and parasitism.  Go through the list of symbiotic pairs and, as a group, decide to which classification each pair belongs.  "Good buddy" pair members may be called upon to help decide the classification.  Stress that symbiotic relationships are just one example of the interdependence of all elements of ecological systems.  In a way, as the Northwest Native American Indian Chief Sealth has said, "We all share the same breath."

Evaluation  Define symbiosis, commensalism, mutualism, parasitisim.  Give two examples of pairs of organisms which have these symbiotic relationships.

 13. Classroom Carrying Capacity

Maine Learning Results Objectives:   Ecology  Analyze how the finite resources in an ecosystem limit the types and populations of organisms within it.   Inquiry and Problem Solving  Verify and evaluate scientific investigations and use the results in a purposeful way.  Scientific Reasoning  Support reasoning by using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to:
1) define carrying capacity; and
2) give examples of factors which can influence the carrying capacity of an area.

Grade Level  K through 6

Time   Kó3, 20 minutes;  Grades 4ó6, 45 minutes

Materials
chalkboard;
any area with room to sit closely, in crowded conditions, and then move comfortably into a larger area

Method  Students simulate muskoxen and wolves in a highly involving game of physical activity.

Background  The muskox is a large, shaggy herbivore called "omingmak" or the "bearded one" by the Eskimos, or Inuit (ee-new-eet), as they prefer to be called.  A male muskox may weigh over 600 pounds at maturity, and mature females about 350 pounds.   A young muskox may weigh only about 19 pounds at birth.  These animals are inhabitants of the arctic regions of Alaska, Greenland, and Canada.
Muskoxen often are found in herds of 20 to 30, usually forming a line or circle around them, facing the threatening predator.  Such a circle renders the animals relatively safe against natural predators, particularly wolves.
In this activity, the roles of bulls and cows are differentiated in ways not typical of actual muskoxen.  In the wild, both sexes vigorously defend their young.
The major purpose of this activity is for students to recognize adaptation and limiting factors in a predator/prey relationship.

Procedure  NOTE: The following procedures are based on a group size of 33 students.  The activity will work with as few as 15 students, or a group as large as 50.  Simply adjust the categories of muskoxen proportionately (approximately four times as many of both calves and cows as wolves:  two times as many of both calves and cows as bulls: e.g. four calves, four cows, two bulls, one wolf).
1.  This is a highly involving activity.  It is best done outdoors, in an open, grassy area: however, it is possible to do the activity indoors in a classroomóif tables, chairs and desks can be moved in order to create a large space in which students can do some moving, including "tag-like" running.
2.  Once you have established an appropriate physical area for the activity, divide the group of 33 students into four groups consisting of three wolves, six bulls, twelve cows and twelve calves.  Each will have a distinctive role.  Provide each calf with a long, brightly colored rag "flag."  The flag should be affixed to the calfís body in a way that it couldóif it were within reachóbe removed by a wolf.  Back pockets are ideal!  Each wolf should also have a rag "flag"óof a different color than those worn by calves.  The wolves should also wear their flags in a secure but accessible manner.
3.  This activity provides students with an opportunity ot experience adaptation behavior of both muskoxen and wolves.  Muskoxen, herbivores, often graze peacefully in meadowed areas.  While grazing they spread out.  Calves typically do not stray too far from their mothers, but the animals do not always stay clusteredÖexcept when predators appear!  Begin the activity with the students grazing peacefully as muskoxen, and the wolves out of sight of the herd.
4.  These are the behaviors each animal should exhibit:
Cows:  As soon as grazing begins, the cows should choose a lead cow to watch for predators.  The cows should pick a signal the lead cow will use to communicate to the rest of the herd that predators are approaching.  When the lead cow signals that predators are near, all the cows move to form a circle around the calves to protect the calves from the wolves.  With the calves in the center of a circle, the cows stand with their backs to the calves, facing outward to watch the wolves.  The cows can move very little.  Mostly, they stay firmly in one place, moving their upper bodies t block the wolves from reaching the calves.  The cows cannot touch the wolves with their hands or feet.
Calves:  The calves depend totally upon the cows for protection.  Each calf is to hold onto a cow with both hands, around the cowís waist, and only follow the cowís lead.  Calves cannot influence the cowsí movement.
Bulls:  The bulls are the active defenders of the cows and the calves.  As the predators near, the bulls form a circle around the cows, who in gturn are forming a circle around the calves.  The bulls form as tight a circle as they can around the cows and calves, never any farther than one step in front of the circle of cows.  The bulls can move, howeveróbut only in a clockwise direction around the circle of cows!  The bulls can move, howeveróbut only in a clockwise direction around the circle of cows.  The bulls do have use of their hands.  As the wolves attack the herd, the bulls try to "kill" them by pulling the flag out of their back pocket, or wherever the flat is attached to the wolf.  When a bull kills a wolf, the wolf moves off to the side, "dead," but able to watch the remainder of the activity.
Wolves:  Wolves begin the activity out of sight of the herd.  They try to get as close as possible to the herd without being detected.  Wolves typically work as a unit, so they can attempt a strategy for surprising the herd in order to kill the calves for food.  The wolves are mobile, able to move at any time in any direction.  They can use any maneuver (except pushing and shoving) to break the herdís defenses.  Once a wolf kills a calfóby pulling the calfís flag out of his pocketótemporarily stop the game and move the calfís carcass to the side, where it too can watch the remainder of the activity.
Note about sound effects:  This is not a quiet game much of the time.  Wolves should be howling, communicating with each other in predetermined ways with signals, and as part of their tactics to startle and confuse the muskoxen.  The muskoxen moo loudly.
5.  Muskox Maneuvers in Review:
a.  Muskox herd grazes quietly.  Wolves are out of sight of herd.
b.  Wolves move in to attack herd.
When lead cow spots wolves, the herd begins defense.  A circle is formed, with calves in the center, cows facing out in a circle around the calves, and bulls in an outer circle, also facing the wolves.  Each should behave appropriately, as described above.
The activity can conclude in several ways.  For example:
a.  All the wolves could be killed.
b.  All the calves could be killed.
c.  The wolves could give up in frustration after a period of time with no success in killing a calf.
d.  The wolves could kill one or more calves, and the activity conclude at this time, based on the notion that the wolves are going to eat the calf (or calves) and the herd move on.
7.  Once the excitement and enthusiasm have peakedósit down with the students to discuss what happened, and what the activity represents in terms of animal adaptation, predator/prey relationships, and limiting factors.  Ask the students to describe and evaluate the predatory behavior of the wolves and the various defense behaviors of the muskoxenÖ  What would happen if the wolves could not get into the herd?  What would happen if the wolves always got into the herd?  Ask the students to distinguish between what would be actual, typical behaviors of muskoxen contrasted with their behaviors in this activity.

Extension
1.  Some students can research and report back to the class with more details about the life of muskoxen and wolvesóacquiring additional information about their survival needs, habitat, and behaviors.
2.  Investigate predatory and defense behaviors of different species in different habitats.  For example, selected species of plains, forest, desert, and ocean animals can be compared.
3.  Plan a class and parent picnic.  Let it be potluckówith an after dinner activity. "Muskox Maneuvers."  It could be good exercise, good fun, and a worthwhile sharing of teaching and learning.

Evaluation  Name a prey species and its predator species.  Describe how each is adapted to the other.  How does the prey protect itself?  How does the predator overcome this protection?  Describe the overall effectiveness of each animals adaptations.

 14. Owl Pellets

Maine Learning Results Objectives:  Ecology   Describe a food web and the relationships within a given ecosystem.   Inquiry and Problem Solving  Verify and evaluate scientific investigations and use the results in a purposeful way.  Scientific Reasoning  Give alternative explanations for observed phenomena.  Support reasoning by using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to construct a simple food chain.

Grade Level  3 to 7

Time  20 to 45 minutes

Materials
owl pellets,
dissecting tools,
posterboard, glue

Method  Students examine owl pellets and reconstruct rodent skeletons.

Background  On the floor of abandoned buildings, beneath a grove of tail trees, or under other structures that offer shelter from daylight, you may find some very interesting outdoor study items.  They are uniformly dark gray, from one and one-half to three inches long and three-quarters to one inch in diameter.  You might think of them as mouse kits.  Complete with bones and fur of one or several small rodents such as field mice, owl pellets offer a unique opportunity for learning about wildlife around us.
Owls are not picky eaters like certain other raptors.  They swallow their prey as nearly whole as possible.  Fur and bones however, cannot be digested, nor will they pass through the digestive system.  About 12 hours after consuming a meal, the "pellet" is coughed up and dropped to the ground below.
Owl pellets are clean of all flesh and virtually odorless.  After a short drying period they can be handled easily by all age groups.  Because they are found under the perch they may occasionally be "whitewashed" by the bird.  Pellets will keep almost indefinitely if dry and protected in a plastic bag or closed jar.  Those collected on a field trip or during the summer can be saved for later examination.  Pellets may also be purchased through scientific supply catalogs.
Owl pellets have been used for scientific study of small mammals and their distribution.  With owls doing the collecting, the scientist must only locate the owl roost to obtain the skulls and bones of the small prey living in the area.  From these parts, the species can be identified.  This has helped map the areas occupied by certain small creatures that might otherwise have escaped detection.
Once the bones are separated from the mass of fur in the pellet, a number of anatomy lessons are possible.  Hip bones can the upper leg bone with its large ball joint are readily identified.  The scapula or shoulder blade, ribs, other leg bones, vertebrae and foot bones along with the skull are all recognizable when sorted out.

The major purpose of this activity is for students to construct a simple food chain, recognizing interdependence in ecological systems through study of owl pellets.

Procedure
1.  Locate some owl pellets under trees or in abandoned buildings where owls may roost.  Or pellets may be purchased from a scientific supply distributor.
2.  Divide the students into small groups of two to three.  Give each group an owl pellet and basic dissecting tools.
3.  Have groups of students separate the bones from the fur in their pellet.
4.  Determine if there are bones from more than one animal in the pellet.
5.  Lay out the bones to form as complete a skeleton as possible.  Skeletons may be glued onto posterboard for display.
6.  See which group can make the most complete skeleton!

Evaluation  Draw a picture of a simple food chain.

 15. Predator Prey

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Ecology  Generate examples of the variety of ways that organisms interact (e.g. predator/prey, etc.).   Analyze how the finite resources in an ecosystem limit the types and populations of organisms within it.   Inquiry and Problem Solving  Verify and evaluate scientific investigations and use the results in a purposeful way.  Scientific Reasoning  Support reasoning by using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to make a general statement regarding the impact of land development on wildlife populations.

Grade Level  6 to 12

Time  30 to 45 minutes (portion of activity can be given as homework)

Procedure  Given the information provided, students may solve the problems posed.
One mountain lion can eat approximately 1, 095 pounds (490 kilograms) of venison (deer meat) each year (in addition to rabbits, porcupines, and other small animals).  The lion probably consumes only about 50 percent of each deer he kills; coyotes and other scavengers get the rest.
One deer eats approximately 3, 650 pounds (1652.5 kilograms of vegetation/year in the form of grasses, herbs, brush, and tree leaves.
One square mile (kilometer) of deer habitat produces 800 pounds (320 kilograms) of vegetation acceptable as deer food/year.  (Note: This varies depending on the region, condition of the range, and other factors.)

Problems:
1.  What is the minimum number of square miles (square kilometers) of habitat needed to support one deer?
2.  If each deer averages 150 pounds (70 kilograms) in weight, how many deer are needed to feed one lion for one year?
3.  How many square miles (square kilometers) of deer-lion habitat are necessary for one lion to survive?  (For the purpose of this problem, assume that one deer and one lion will provide continuation of the species, although of course, in reality, continuation would require many animals.)
4.  Use a map of a region you are familiar with and outline an area large enough to serve as habitat for one lion.  Ignore all road, communities, and other developments which do not produce food for deer.
5.  On the same map, again outline an area large enough to support one lion but this time take into account the not-deer-food producing areas.  How much larger is the second area you outlined?
Today there are more deer in the United States than when the first European settlers arrived.  How could you explain this?  Find out what impact the growth of the deer population has had on other species of wildlife.
 
 

Energy Activities
 Colby Partnerships for Science Education

A.  Introduction
The sun is our most important source of energy.   This is because the sun provides light and warmth and enables plants to  make their own food.  Energy is then transmitted to other living things when they feed on plants.
    Sources of energy are divided into two categories:  renewable and non-renewable.  Renewable energy sources are those that do not run out, such as energy from the sun, the wind and wood.  There is always an ample supply in nature of wind and sun and people can ensure that there is always a plentiful supply of wood by planting trees.   Non-renewable energy sources are those which will run out, such as fossil fuels of coal and oil.  There is only a limited supply in the earth.

Non-renewable sources of energy
Fossil fuels is the name that we give to coal, oil and gas.  This is because they were actually made millions of years ago from the remains of dead plants and animals.  They are found deep down in the ground and sometimes under the seabed.   They are used throughout the world.  However, the supplies will not last forever.  As the worldís population increases, more and more fuel is needed and the faster reserves become depleted.  It would take nature millions of years to make more fossil fuels.
    The world depends on these fuels for heating, lighting and for cooking as well as running industry.  Almost all vehicles require petrol or diesel fuels to run.  However, it is the richer, more developed countries which use the most fossil fuels.  For example, the United States, with 6% of the worldís population uses up one third of all fossil fuels.  In contrast, many developing countries cannot afford to buy oil and gas so that about half the people in the world rely almost entirely on wood, charcoal and dung for energy.
    When fossil fuels are burned, harmful substances are put into the air such as smoke, dust, ash, sulphur and carbon dioxide, causing air pollution.  Taking coal out of the earth can damage the surface of the land.  The seas become polluted when oil is transported from one continent to another and is spilled.   Harmful substances also build up in the air causing long-term health problems and actually damaging the earthís atmosphere.  Global environmental problems such as global warming and acid rain are a consequence of the burning of fossil fuels.

Renewable sources of energy
The earthís reserves of raw materials for power are limited.  Supplies of coal, oil and gas will be reduced and become more expensive and one day they will run out.  Other ways of producing energy will have to be found.  We must try to save energy and find alternative means of producing energy now because the environmental and financial costs of a dependence on fossil fuels is devastating our planet.  What are some renewable energy alternatives?
    Industrialized countries have developed a very complicated process that turns atoms of uranium into a form of energy called atomic or nuclear energy.  This is a very expensive form of energy which is not affordable in less developed countries and there are environmental problems associated with its production and use.
    Hydroelectricity is power produced by fast moving water which drives a turbine connected to a generator to produce electricity.  There must be sufficient water power and sloping land available for this energy source to work.
    Wind power uses windmills to catch the wind and make it work for us by producing electricity and pumping water for irrigation.
Biogas is a gas vapour called methane.  It is produced from fermenting animal and plant wastes which are "digested" in an airtight container.  It is a clean fuel that burns well and produces good heat.  It can be used for producing electricity, running engines and cooking.
    The sun (solar energy) is the most important and reliable producer of energy in the world.  The earth would be dark and very cold without it.  Solar energy contains heat and light.  Plants need it both to grow and produce food.  Without plants we would have no coal, oil or gas.  Solar energy captures heat from the sun.  Solar panels can collect energy from the sun to heat water, produce electricity, and cook food.
    People have been aware of the sunís power since very early times.  It gave them light, helped their crops to grow and kept them warm.  They often looked to the sun as something magical, and in some cultures (Egyptians, Incas and Aztecs, for example) the sun was worshipped as a god.
    As people have slowly come to understand how the sun works, the idea of it being magical or a god has lessened.  Today, however, we know even more clearly how important the sun is for our existence on this planet.  Nearly all the fuels that we use, including the non-renewable fossil fuels and wood, are forms of stored solar energy.  Solar energy is one of the few sources of energy that carries no cost for people or the environment.  More and more people are coming to realize that they can use the power of the sun to do useful work for them.  Solar power is one of the most promising solutions to our energy problems.
    It is very important that we conserve our fuel resources.  This means that we must use less fuel, use our fuels more efficiently and use more renewable sources of fuel.  The activities in this section are designed to give students an understanding of the sources of energy, to encourage them to consider the role of energy conservation in their lives and to encourage them to explore the importance of developing alternative, renewable forms of energy.
    B.  The activities are aligned with the Science and Technology section of the State of Maine Learning Results.  Section H. Energy states that: Students will understand concepts of energy.  Energy takes many forms which can exert forces and do work.  The conversion of energy from one form to another offers useful applications and sometimes presents problems.  Each of the following activities supports specific Maine Learning Results objectives.

1.  A Treasure HuntÖfor Energy

Maine Learning Results Objectives:  Energy   Identify different forms of energy.  Explain ways different forms of energy can be produced.   Categorize energy sources as renewable or non-renewable and compare how these sources are used by humans.   Scientific Reasoning  Practice and apply simple logic, intuitive thinking and brainstorming.  Implications of Science and Technology  Explain how technology has altered human settlement.  Explain practices for conservation in daily life, based on a recognition that renewable and non-renewable resources have limits.

Purpose:  Students will be able to identify the major present day sources of energy (the fossil fuels, uranium, and running water) which we use as fuel for space heating, transportation, and generation of electricity; to evaluate the possibility and appropriateness of their continued use for such purposes over time; and to suggest both new uses and better uses in order to meet energy demands.

Grade Level: 6 to 12 (the activity is relevant to these grade levels, but will need to be adapted to meet the needs of each group)

Materials:    Map of local community, writing materials

Time:  one or two 30 to 45 minute class sessions

Description:   Give this assignment to your students:
Map the energy in your community.  The students might include visual keys in their maps to show the sources of energy used as fuel and electricity;  the locations where such energy is used; and how the energy is used.
    Ask the students to check reliable sources to determine the most recent assessment of the available quantity of renewable and non-renewable resources which are presently used for production of fuel and electricity.  The students should distinguish between specific kinds of renewable and non-renewable resources, and attempt to find information predicting the availability of these resources over time.  This kind of prediction will have to include indications of the rate of use.
    With this information plus the visual map of their community, you and the students will be able to enter a ranging discussion of the appropriateness and implications of use of renewable and non-renewable resources over time.  The following can be included in the discussion:
* Changes in kinds of uses of specific resources.
* Impact of use of some renewable and non-renewable resources for fuel and electricity where these resources were previously used for other products and purposes.
* Economic implications of such changes and possible social costs and benefits, including costs to the environment.
* Worldwide implications of such changes.
Extension
Generate a list of possible new sources of energy for fuel and electricity purposes.  Find local speakers to provide information and materials related to the feasibility of some of those and other alternative sources.
Brainstorm suggestions for other possible energy sources ? apparently feasible or not.  Discuss some of the more feasible of these possibilities.
Bring the discussion back to the present.  Each student can generate  a list of "Things I can do today" to make more efficient and appropriate use of the natural resources available to the student for fuel and electricity.  Share these lists.  Encourage students to modify their lists based good ideas they learn from other students and then create a final list for their own purposes.   Encourage your students to try to live by the list for a week.  At the weekís end, bring out the lists and engage in a class discussion of what happened.  Discussion might include:

* How hard it was to do the things on the list.
* If other people were involved and noticed the efforts.
* If other people were involved and objected to the changes.
* Why other people might have objected.
* If other people noticed, got excited, and joined in following suggestions on the list.
* Possible positive results of the studentsí actions.
* Possible negative results, such as discomfort.
* Implications for their own continued lifestyles.

If this activity is done for an extended period of time, some other indications of impact might be observed:  for example, lower household fuel and gasoline bills, new bicycle tires due to increased use,  weight loss from increased exercise, different food bills, etc.

 2.Flip the Switch for the Environment

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Identify different forms of energy.  Explain ways different forms of energy can be produced.   Categorize energy sources as renewable or non-renewable and compare how these sources are used by humans.   Scientific Reasoning  Practice and apply simple logic, intuitive thinking and brainstorming.  Implications of Science and Technology  Explain how technology has altered human settlement.  Explain practices for conservation in daily life, based on a recognition that renewable and non-renewable resources have limits.

Purpose:  Students will be able to:  1) Trace the route of electrical energy from source to use;  2) describe impacts on wildlife and the environment derived from various kinds of energy development and uses; and  3) evaluate the impact on the environment as a result of their own energy-use practices.

Grade Level:  5 to 12

Materials:  Writing and drawing materials

Time:  one to three 45 minute periods, depending on student prior knowledge of energy sources

Background:  The source of electrical energy in your area can come from one of a combination of the following sources:  coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, fuel-oil, or natural gas fired generators.  In the U.S., about 60% of the electrical energy is produced from coal, 15% form hydroelectric sources,  15% from nuclear, and 10% from oil or natural gas.
    In obtaining the energy to fuel our power plants, we affect wildlife in both positive and negative ways.  We may build a hydroelectric dam that supplies energy and forms a lake good for fish, blocks runs for other fish, and in the process floods valuable wildlife habitat for land animals.  A power line through a forest may improve the habitat for some species, and degrade it for others.
    The major purpose of this activity is for students to compare the various sources of electrical energy, as well as learn the positive and negative impacts on wildlife for each of these sources, including those they use each day.

Description:
1.  Ask students the question, "What effects, if any, do we have on wildlife when we turn a light switch on?  Let them discuss the question and form an opinion.  (Older students can generate hypotheses)  As a way of testing their ideas (or hypotheses), assign groups of three or four to research where their electricity comes from, identifying all steps from the light switch back to the land and how they think each step along the way might affect wildlife and the environment.  Also assign groups to research alternative technologies (e.g. solar, geothermal, tidal, wind power).  Note:  This activity is excellent as an extension to energy source activities already underway with students.
2.  Ask the students within each group to draw and label their "power pathway" on a large sheet of paper.  For example, coal could travel from the strip mine or tunnel by truck to the processing plant, then by train to the power plant, over the electric power lines to their homes and their light switch.  Have the students label points long the way where wildlife and/or the environment could be positively or negatively affected.
3.  When the students have completed their power paths, have them show them to the rest of the class.  You can then discuss the following questions with them:
* What kind of effects on the environment do we have when we turn on a light switch?  Are they positive or negative?  Can any of them reasonably be changed?
* Which type of fuel source do you think would have the greatest negative impact on wildlife?  On the environment?  Why?  Which would have the greatest positive impact on wildlife?  On the environment?  Why?
* How could we minimize the negative impacts?
* Why donít we use the source of power with the least impact to a greater degree?
* Which energy sources cost the least to develop and use?  Which provide more jobs?  Which seem to have the least negative overall impact on the environment?
* What trade-offs are involved?  Are there any reasonable solutions?  If yes, describe some possibilities.  With what consequences?
* How can each of us help wildlife and the environment through our energy habits.
4.  Ask each student to think of at least one constructive thing to do for wildlife or the environment that involves energy and its use and then do it!

Extensions
1.  Create a large mural of a natural area complete with wildlife, trees, mountains, rivers, etc., but no human development.  After completing the mural, brainstorm a list of things that would happen if a much needed energy source (e.g. coal, oil, uranium, water) was discovered in that area.  Draw pictures of these activities and facilities with one picture for reach item listed.  When all the pictures are completed, place them in appropriate places on the mural.  For example, put the pictures where you think they should go if you were an energy developer.  You can pin, tack, or tape the pictures onto the paper.  Discuss the positive and negative impacts the "new development" will have on the environment and wildlife, and create a list of these effects.  Now, re-develop the energy source and see if you can come up with ways that the development can have less impact on the environment and still get the energy needed, at an affordable cost.
2.  See if a similar situation exists in your area.

Solar Energy Activities
More and more, people are coming to realize that they can use the power of the sun to do useful work for them.  Solar power is one of the most promising solutions to our energy problems.  Two of the most essential things for human beings are food and drink.  The following activities show you some ways in which the sun can be used to provide clean water and cook your food.  The activities are fairly simple, and most require materials that are easily obtained.  If you cannot get some of the things you need, try modifying the plans to work with what you have.   What the exercises seek to demonstrate are the principles that lie behind these uses of solar energy, and you may be able to alter and improve on the instructions to make your solar apparatus more effective.

The following activities are borrowed from Fun with the Sun, written by Teresa Squazzin, Derick du Toit, John Aves, Doreen McColaugh and David Oakes.
 
 

Pollution and Conservation Activities

  Colby Partnerships for Science Education

A.  Introduction
The natural world is kept in balance by natural cycles such as the water cycle.  Everything is broken down and used again so that there is no waste.  People create an imbalance in the natural cycles by throwing harmful substances away into the air, onto the land and into our water environments.  Pollution is not new.  People have been creating things that do not decompose (i.e. do not return to the natural cycles) for a long time.  However, long ago the numbers of people were much smaller so that some pollution did not affect them as severely.   But with greater populations, an enormous amount of waste is produced and a lot of this waste does not decompose.  This has resulted in serious global pollution problems.
    Today, our planet is facing an environmental crisis.  The proliferated use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is rapidly destroying the earth's ozone layer.  Without ozone, there will be no life on our planet.  The excessive burning of fossil fuels resulting in the build up of atmospheric carbon dioxide is causing a potential global warming catastrophe.  World population is growing exponentially, exhausting earth's finite resources. Industrial and household toxic wastes are poisoning the air, water, and soil. Tropical deforestation is resulting in an unprecedented loss of species and biodiversity. In our quest for development and an "improved standard of living" for ourselves, we are causing widespread damage to our planet, evidenced by soil erosion, pollution, deforestation, extinction of species, etc. In short, our species, homo sapiens, is squandering the earth's non-renewable resources at extraordinary levels and creating a wake of environmental devastation.
    The magnitude and critical nature of the environmental problems facing our planet often leaves people asking, "Where do we begin to resolve these problems?" Perhaps the first step is to recognize that there are no solitary environmental problems per se.  Any issue that appears to be an "environmental problem" is actually an interconnected web of related social, political, economic, and cultural factors.  This is true for any environmental issue.   The second step is to recognize that the resolution of environmental problems is all of our responsibility.  We cannot simply delegate the cleaning up of our environment to our political and social leaders.  We have all helped to create our environmental problems and we all have a vital role to play in their solution.   And third, as educators, we need to empower our students with the knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors needed for them to take proactive actions in their own lives to save the planet.
    In the past we have spent most of our efforts cleaning up pollution rather than preventing it.  Many people today, however, are looking more to reducing the pollution we produce in the first place.  In the long run, preventing pollution saves money, protects the environment, prevents health problems and improves the overall quality of life.
    The activities in this section focus on air, water and land pollution and on actions that students can take to help improve the quality of our environment and the quality of our lives.
    B.  The activities in this section are aligned with the Science and Technology section of the State of Maine Learning Results.  Section M. Implications of Science and Technology states that: Students will understand the historical, social, economic, environmental, and ethical implications of science and technology.  Scientific and technological breakthroughs are influenced by prevailing beliefs and conditions which in turn are impacted by new ideas and inventions.  By assessing the impacts of technological activity on the environment, students will develop their own sense of global stewardship. Each of the following activities supports specific Maine Learning Results objectives.

1.   How would you like that wrapped?
Maine Learning Results Objectives:   Implications of Science and Technology  Research and evaluate the social and environmental impacts of scientific and technological developments.  Discuss the ethical issues surrounding a specific scientific development.  Describe an individualís biological and other impacts on an environmental system.  Give examples of actions which may have expected or unexpected consequences that may be positive, negative, or both. Communications  Function effectively in groups within various assigned roles.   Scientific Reasoning   Support reasoning using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will identify various packaging practices and consider the impact of packaging practices on economics, lifestyles and natural resources.

Grade Level  6 to 12 (the activity is relevant to these grade levels, but will need to be adapted to meet the needs of each group)

Time  one class period of approximately 30 to 45 minutes

Materials  notebooks, graph paper, pencils or pens

Background  Packaging is ubiquitous at all levels of the U.S. economy: in industry, the distribution of products, and the marketplace.  Packaging is our countryís largest single industrial user of paper and glass; it is one of the two largest users of plastics; and it is the third largest user of steel.  The system begins with the use of the nationís raw materials which are made into packaging to be sold to virtually all manufacturers of consumer and industrial goods.  The packaged product is then transported from the processorís facility to the retail outlet for the consumer to purchase. When the product is used, the system ends with the disposal, reuse, and/or recycling of the package.
    Packaging of various kinds has accounted for approximately 34% of the total volume of solid waste produced in the United States.  This activity explores the concept of packaging and its relationship to resource consumption and the American lifestyle.

Procedure/Description
Ask your students to divide into groups of three to five students each.  Each group is to visit a different store near the school.  Ask each group to get the permission of the storeís owner to collect data on the forms of packaging used in one department of the store.  (note: students could also collect data by accompanying a parent on a shopping outing and then comparing data with other students in small groups)  Data could include:
1. A list of each type of commodity sold in that department.
2. A description of the type, size and weight of packaging used for the various products such as plastic or glass bottles, cans, boxes, cartons, sacks, or a combination of different types of packaging for one product.
3. A notation indicating the apparent reasons the type and size of packaging was used for each product.  For example, product protection, sanitation, communication of product identity and use, prevention against pilferage, availability of specific quantities.
4. A notation showing whether, in the studentsí opinion, the product is appropriately packaged (appropriately packaged could include no packaging), insufficiently packaged, more than sufficiently packaged.

Possible questions for classroom discussion include:

1. What are the reasons for using glass, metal, paper, plastics and foils as packaging material? What types of materials are most commonly used?
2. Why are different materials used for the same packaging application? What are the reasons for using these materials to package the product?
3. What are the major packaging uses for steel, aluminum, glass, and other materials identified?  What role does the type of packaging used have in the protection of the products?
4. How many appropriately packaged products did you find?  How and why did you identify them as "appropriate?"  How many insufficiently packaged?  How many were sufficiently packaged?  Convert these results to percentages.
5. Based on your findings, what recommendations would you make to a regulatory agencies producers and consumers relating to packaged materials.

Extension
1.  Students could prepare a presentation for local businesses on their findings and discuss ways of reducing packaging.
2.  Students could explore ways to reduce packaging material at school and home and present their findings in written and/or oral format.
3.  Students could survey their community to determine how many group recycling programs there are and the procedures used and the problems encountered in operating the programs.
4.  Ask students to keep written record of everything thrown away or disposed of in their homes during one week.  They should classify each solid waste item as paper and paperboard products, food waste, wood and garden refuse (grass, clippings, leaves), glass, metal, plastics or miscellaneous (including cloth, leather, rubber, dirt, paint, etc).

 2.  A Look a Lifestyles
Maine Learning Results Objectives:   Implications of Science and Technology Discuss the ethical issues surrounding a specific scientific development.  Describe an individualís biological and other impacts on an environmental system.  Give examples of actions which may have expected or unexpected consequences that may be positive, negative, or both.  Scientific Reasoning   Support reasoning using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to identify some of their own uses of renewable and non-renewable resources and suggest ways they might appropriately change their own lifestyle to more effectively make use of natural resources.

Grade Level  6 to 12 (the activity is relevant to these grade levels, but will need to be adapted to meet the needs of each group)

Time  10 to 30 minutes depending upon how much time you would like to devote to discussion and follow-up activities

Materials  none

Procedure/Description
 Have the students define the terms renewable and non-renewable.  Ask them to list the renewable and non-renewable resources in products they have used or consumed in the past 24 hours, identifying each product as 1) essential for survival,  2) necessary for maintenance of their present lifestyle, or  3) a luxury.  This list can be made using words and/or images.  For example, students can draw pictures of each of the products they have used in the past 24 hours, accompanying them with images or words identifying each o fthe natural resources from which the products are made.
    After looking at the lists and discussing them, ask each student to propose alternatives for each item listed in categories two and three, making an effort to replace items which they believe are inefficient or wasteful.  A master list of the resources used and the proposed alternatives can be created in the form of a display.  The following questions might be discussed with the students:
* Which, if any, items in the essential category are really not essential?  What is your criteria for evaluating whether an item is essential?
* Which, if any, items in the second category are luxuries?  How do you judge?
* What would be the environmental and economic impact of switching to your alternatives?  Would it decrease your use of non-renewable resources? (For example, switching from aluminum foil to a reusable plastic container to carry your lunch would accomplish this.)  Or would it increase your use of non-renewable resources? (Switching from paper cups to most plastic cups would have this effect.)  How would changes in the production and consumption of these products influence the use of energy?, etc.

3.  Water We Doing?
Maine Learning Results Objectives: Implications of Science and Technology  Research and evaluate the social and environmental impacts of scientific and technological developments.  Discuss the ethical issues surrounding a specific scientific development.  Describe an individualís biological and other impacts on an environmental system.  Give examples of actions which may have expected or unexpected consequences that may be positive, negative, or both. Communications  Function effectively in groups within various assigned roles.   Scientific Reasoning   Support reasoning using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose  Students will be able to describe the importance of water to living things.

Grade Level    5 to 12 (the activity is relevant to these grade levels, but will need to be adapted to meet the needs of each group)

Time  20 to 30 minutes

Materials  notebooks for recording observations, writing implements

Procedure/Description
Ask the students to keep track of the ways in which they use water directly during one day (washing, flushing a toilet, drinking, cooking, etc.)  The following figures may assist in estimating water use:
* Flushing a toilet can consume 5 to 7 gallons per flush.
* An shower might use 4 to 7 gallons per minute.
* Filling the bathtub could use from 15 to 25 gallons (depending on how full).
* A clothes washer uses 25 to 30 gallons per load.
* A dishwasher uses 15 gallons per load.
* The bathroom faucet left running can use 2 to 5 gallons per minute.
Ask the students to invent ways to cut their water use in halfÖand then do it. They might try it for 3 days.  Discuss whether trees and other living things can conserve in their water use.  Talk about adaptations plants and animals make in their use of water.  Discuss the importance of water to all living things.

Extensions
1. Pick a living thing to become and explore how much water and for what purposes you use water in a day (for example, you could become a redwood tree, a deer or a camel).  Compare the varying amounts and uses of water by the different living things the other students choose.  Graph the results.
2. Make a mural of the water cycle.  Try it with human involvement and without; with plant involvement and without; with other animal involvement and without.  What differences do you observe?
3. List and discuss examples of water rights.  List and discuss water wrongs.

4.  Light Right

Maine Learning Results Objectives:  Implications of Science and Technology  Research and evaluate the social and environmental impacts of scientific and technological developments.  Discuss the ethical issues surrounding a specific scientific or technological development.  Describe an individualís impact upon the environment.  Give examples of actions which may have expected or unexpected consequences that may be positive, negative or both.  Communication:  Ask clarifying and extended questions.  Cite examples of bias in information sources and question the validity of information from varied sources.   Scientific Reasoning:   Support reasoning using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose:  Students will research ways to "light right" and share specific ways to provide more energy efficient lighting in their homes and school.

Grade Level: 6 to 12 (the activity is relevant to these grade levels, but will need to be adapted to meet the needs of each group)

Materials:   electrical light fixture, incandescent bulb, compact fluorescent bulb, access to a library and or internet to conduct research

Background:  Flip a light switch on and offÖ and consider that youíre affecting the environment.  It may seem strange because weíre used to thinking of lighting as a domestic matter: something that happens inside our homes, not outside them.   However, lighting accounts for 1/3 of all the electricity consumed in the U.S. ? which means that our lighting habits and choices have a significant impact on the Earth.  The more electricity we use, for example, the more industrial emissions we generate, contributing heavily to problems like the "greenhouse effect" and acid rain.

Description:
Through this activity, student pods (3 to 5 students per group) conduct basic research on the environmental impact of "turning on the lights" and present this information back to the entire class.  Each group will be responsible for researching one of the following questions and then preparing a brief (1 to 2 page) summary of their findings and a 10 minute oral presentation.
1. Student pods research the following questions:
a)  How does "turning on the lights" contribute to the greenhouse effect?  (Carbon Dioxide ? CO2, is responsible for about 50% of the greenhouse effect.  Every year, people add 6 billion tons of it to the atmosphere ? 1.5 billion tons of it from the U.S.   One of the main sources of CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil ? used, among other things, to produce electricity.)  What would happen to the greenhouse effect if we conserved more electricity?
b)  How does "turning on the lights" contribute to acid rain?  (Sulfur and nitrogen oxides, pollutants released by fossil fuel-burning electric-power plants or motor vehicles, are spewed into the atmosphere.  There they are changed chemically and fall back to Earth as acidified rain or snow.  This destroys plant and animal life in streams, ponds, and lakes; damages forests; and even erodes buildings.  Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is the primary component of acid rain in most regions, and electric utilities are responsible for approximately 65% of the total SO2 emissions in the U.S.  Therefore, large reductions in electric utility SO2 emissions are necessary.  Electricity conservation is one way to achieve this.)  What would happen to acid rain if we conserved more electricity?
c)  What lighting fixture is most commonly used in the U.S.?  Is it efficiently used?  (One large incandescent bulb is more efficient than two small ones in a multi-bulb fixture.  A 100-watt bulb, for example, puts out as much light as two 60sÖand it saves energy.  In light fixtures that take three bulbs, try using only two.  But for safetyís sake, put a burned-out bulb in the last socket.  Try more efficient incandescents such as krypton-filled, tungsten-halogen, or infrared-reflective coated.)
d)  What are some other alternatives to incandescent lighting?  (Most Americans are unaware of the development of the compact fluorescent lightbulb.  This amazing bulb screws into standard sockets, and gives off light that looks just like a traditional incandescent bulb ? not like the fluorescents weíre used to seeing in schools, offices, etc.  The compact fluorescents with "solid state" ballasts are the best; they come on instantly and produce no flicker or hum.  Compact fluorescents are big energy savers.  They last longer and use about _ of the energy of an incandescent bulb.  For example, a 60 watt incandescent bulb last about 750 hours; a fluorescent bulb with 1/3 the wattage will generate the same light and burn for 7,500 to 10,000 hours in five to ten years of normal use.  Substituting a compact fluorescent light for a traditional bulb will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb.  Compact fluorescents are considerably more expensive than incandescents Ö initially about $15.  But donít compare that to the cost of one incandescent bulb.  You will need 13 incandescents to last for the same 10,000 hours.  Over its lifetime, a compact fluorescent uses about $10 worth of electricity; during the same period, equivalent incandescents gobble about $40 of electricity.  So you save $30 per bulb ? which is like earning 25% to 50% interests on your investment.  There are 100 million households in America.  If a single compact fluorescent was installed in each of them, the energy equivalent of about 60 million incandescent bulbs would be saved.  How much is that?  Itís the equivalent of all the energy generated by one nuclear power plant running full time for a year.)
2.  Have the students present their findings back to the class using both oral and visual mediums.

 5.   Ethi-Thinking
Maine Learning Results Objectives: Implications of Science and Technology Describe an individualís impact upon the environment.  Give examples of actions which may have expected or unexpected consequences that may be positive, negative or both.  Communication:  Ask clarifying and extended questions.  Cite examples of bias in information sources and question the validity of information from varied sources.   Scientific Reasoning:   Support reasoning using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose:  Students will be able to: 1) generate a list of activities done outside that are harmful to the environment, 2) discuss reasons these activities are inappropriate; and 3) recommend alternative activities that are not harmful.

Grade Level:  4 to 8

Materials:    art materials (construction paper, crayons or markers, magazines for photos) to make discussion cards

Time  one or two 20 to 40 minute periods depending on how much time you want to devote to the activity

Background:  The major purpose of this activity is for students to discriminate between outdoor activities that are harmful to the environment, and those which are not.

Description:
1.  Ask students to help you make a list of activities people do that seem harmful to our air, land and water resources.  Ask them to think about things theyíve seen or know about that might be harmful.  Some of these things could be:
* Clear cutting forests resulting in a loss of biodiversity and erosion
* Pouring of industrial pollutants into our rivers
* Burning of fossil-fuels to produce electricity
* Fertilizer run-off on land near waterways
2.  Have students use cut-out photos or drawings to make these activities into cards showing pictues and describing what is happening (or teacher can prepare cards in advance, laminate and use again).  Or, students can dramatize the situation in skits, commercials, songs, poems, etc.
3.  Collect the cards.  Count students off to make groups of four each.  Hand out one card to each group and ask them to discuss (or present the skits, poems, etc).
* What is happening?
* Does it seem to be appropriate or inappropriate behavior?  Why?
* Is the person doing it having fun?
* What else could he or she do that would satisfy his/her needs without harming the environment?
4.  Ask each group to report to everyone else about:  a) their feelings concerning what is happening in the outdoor activity shown in the picture; and b) their recommendation for an alternative activity the people could do that would not be harmful.
5.  Explore ways that students can take action on one of the issues presented to help address a real-life environmental issue.

Evaluation
* Describe five things which people do that harm the environment and describe what can be done to minimize the negative environmental impacts and maximize proactive solutions.
* Describe what ethi-thinking means to you.  Give specific examples to support your statements.

 6.  Enviro-Ethics

Maine Learning Results Objectives: Implications of Science and Technology Discuss the ethical issues surrounding a specific scientific or technological development.  Describe an individualís impact upon the environment.  Give examples of actions which may have expected or unexpected consequences that may be positive, negative or both.  Communication:  Ask clarifying and extended questions.  Cite examples of bias in information sources and question the validity of information from varied sources.   Scientific Reasoning:   Support reasoning using a variety of evidence.  Construct logical arguments.

Purpose:  Students will be able to:
1) distinguish between actions that are harmful and beneficial to the environment; and
2) evaluate the appropriateness and feasibility of making changes in their own behaviors related to the environment.

Grade Level:  Grades 6 to 12

Materials:  none needed

Time:  one or two 30 to 45 minute sessions

Background:     The major purpose of this activity is to provide students with the encouragement and opportunity to look at their own lifestyles in light of their impact on natural resources and the environment.

Purpose/Description:
1.  Involve the students in a discussion bout the impact each of us has each day on aspects of the environmentófrom using electricity to cook breakfast to putting on clothes that were derived from some natural resources and transported to us by some means, to use of varied products we choose and employ each day, to our choices of recreation an entertainment.  We are consumers, and our impact is formidable.
2.  Ask each student to work alone to devise a "Personal Code of Environmental Ethics."  This code may be written or note.  Emphasize the importance of the code being for the person who creates it.  The code should take into consideration daily actions that are harmful to the environment, and those which are beneficial: the students should consciously create their code based on actions they believe are beneficial, or at least not harmful, to elements of the environment.  We will always have some impact: we can make choices about the kinds of impacts we make, their extensiveness, etc.
3.  Ask for any volunteers to share their "Personal code of Environmental Ethics."  They might share te entire code, or a segment of it.  They might describe the thinking that went into the decisions they made in constructing their code.  Students might illustrate a part of their codeóif they chose not to write itóto convey a major idea.  Encourage the students to ask each other questions about the codes, in the spirit of learning more about each personís priorities, but not in a judgemental approach.  The purpose is for each student to evaluate his or her own priorities, in a responsible consideration of day-to-day actions that affect the environment, but not to be critical of another studentís approach to the same problem.  In this way, each student is simply encouraged to take responsibility for his or her own actions.
4.  Encourage the students to try using their codes, keeping track of how easy or difficult it is for them to live by them.  "Progress reports" are appropriate, again in the spirit of each person paying attention to his or her own actions, and bearing responsibility for them.

Extensions
1.  Reflect for a few minutes on your daily life.  Close your eyes and follow yourself through a typical day.  What natural resources do you use?  What choices do you make that have an impact on the environment?   What choices do you make that have an impact on other people, here and elsewhere on the planet?  If you could, what thingsóif anyódo you already do that you think are helpful, or at least not harmful, to the environment?  Brainstorm ten words that come to mind when you think of actions and behaviors you value.  Create a sentence, paragraph, or poem that might capture the essence of your own "Personal Code of Environmental Ethics."
2.  Develop a "life map."  It could include where you want to live, whether you want a family, what kind of home, transportation, food sources, job, recreation, etc.  Look at the costs and benefits of your choicesófor you personally, other people in your community, wildlife, other natural resources, etc.

Evaluation
* Describe two ways that you directly or indirectly contribute to an environmental problem.
* Describe specific ways that you can lessen your impact on these environmental problems.
* Make at least one change in your lifestyle that will reduce your role in contributing to an environmental problem.

 Bibliography
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This curiculum project was funded by the Colby Partnership for Science Education, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute,and the BellAtlantic Foundation.