Marie Curie Math & Science Center
 
CURRICULUM DESIGN
Joseph J. Albanese Group 5

Life Science Grade 7

Commencement content standard from MST (one or more of the seven):

# 4. Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

Benchmark level standards:

Content standards: (Students will know that:) 6. Plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.

7. Human decisions and activities have had a profound impact on the physical and living environment.

Performance standards: (Students will be able to:)

6. Describe the flow of energy and matter through food chains and food webs.

6. Provide evidence that green plants make food and explain the significance of this process to other organisms.

7. Describe how living things, including humans, depend upon the living and nonliving environment for their survival.

7. Describe the effects of environmental changes on humans and other populations.


 

 

Content standards or outcomes for unit:

6a. Construct a food web for a community of organisms and explore how elimination of a particular part of a chain affects the rest of the chain and web. 6a & b. Construct a balanced aquarium using a sealed jar to investigate what constitutes a balanced environment

7a. Conduct an extended investigation of a local environment affected by human actions(e.g., a pond, stream, forest, empty lot).

7b. Conduct a group and individual extended investigation on the need and consumption of natural resources

PERFORMANCE MEASURES:

In general students success will be measured on the following criteria:

Observation of student behavior

  • exams
  • lab reports
  • group presentatio

ENABLING ACTIVITIES First Five Days

ABSTRACT: Students will discover the ecological aspects of a balanced environment and the factors and information that go into maintaining that balance. They will be setting up and maintaining a scale ecological environment in a fish tank.

ENABLING ACTIVITIES Last Five Days

ABSTRACT: Students will be learning all aspects of natural resources: What they are-why the living world needs them and for what reasons; renewable and nonrenewable resources and the consequences of using them. Their main objective is to individually, in groups, and with their families reduce their consumption of natural resources and calculate their reductions for many of the resources they consume and then predict yearly resource savings and monetary savings and what positive effect they will have on the environment.
DAY 1 Students will be assigned lab groups alphabetically (4 to a group). Their assignment is to set up a balanced ecological environment. Each group receives of ecological word definitions and the following materials (5 gallon fish tank, pond plants (elodea), fish, snails, gravel and thermometer).

INSTRUCTIONS:

Brain storm with your group and list the materials you thing you'll need for the balanced environment and their quantity. You must use your group's computer station in the class to research facts to help you solve the problem (i.e., Encarta, to learn about aquariums, Internet, Grolier's etc.). Each group will now write a procedure based on what they've learned for setting up their balanced aquarium (2 DAYS).

Set up the balanced ecological environment: Students now will spend the whole period setting up the aquarium with the physical (water, gravel, etc.) and the biological (fish, plants, snails, etc.) components and then seal the top with plastic rap so that nothing gets in or out of the aquarium. This is where the research comes in for example: 1. City water must set for 24 hours to remove the chlorine that is hazardous to life forms. 2. Water must be at a certain temperature range. 3. Population densities affect the balance of the environment. 4. Life cycles must be understood to help calculate what and how many organisms to include in a limited environment.

Day 4&5: Groups will observe and take notes on the health of their environment, making adjustments to keep their environment balanced. (a) Checking the temperature-maintaining optimum water temperature. (b) Removing the wrap and adding or subtracting organisms to help maintain the balance. © Adjusting the amount of light the environment gets.

ENABLING ACTIVITIES First Five Days

ABSTRACT: Students will discover the ecological aspects of a balanced environment and the factors and information that go into maintaining that balance. They will be setting up and maintaining a scale ecological environment in a fish tank.

ENABLING ACTIVITIES Last Five Days

ABSTRACT: Students will be learning all aspects of natural resources: What they are-why the living world needs them and for what reasons; renewable and nonrenewable resources and the consequences of using them. Their main objective is to individually, in groups, and with their families reduce their consumption of natural resources and calculate their reductions for many of the resources they consume and then predict yearly resource savings and monetary savings and what positive effect they will have on the environment.
DAY 1 Students will be assigned lab groups alphabetically (4 to a group). Their assignment is to set up a balanced ecological environment. Each group receives of ecological word definitions and the following materials (5 gallon fish tank, pond plants (elodea), fish, snails, gravel and thermometer).

INSTRUCTIONS:


Brain storm with your group and list the materials you thing you'll need for the balanced environment and their quantity. You must use your group's computer station in the class to research facts to help you solve the problem (i.e., Encarta, to learn about aquariums, Internet, Grolier's etc.). Each group will now write a procedure based on what they've learned for setting up their balanced aquarium (2 DAYS).

Set up the balanced ecological environment: Students now will spend the whole period setting up the aquarium with the physical (water, gravel, etc.) and the biological (fish, plants, snails, etc.) components and then seal the top with plastic rap so that nothing gets in or out of the aquarium. This is where the research comes in for example: 1. City water must set for 24 hours to remove the chlorine that is hazardous to life forms. 2. Water must be at a certain temperature range. 3. Population densities affect the balance of the environment. 4. Life cycles must be understood to help calculate what and how many organisms to include in a limited environment.

Day 4&5: Groups will observe and take notes on the health of their environment, making adjustments to keep their environment balanced. (a) Checking the temperature-maintaining optimum water temperature. (b) Removing the wrap and adding or subtracting organisms to help maintain the balance. © Adjusting the amount of light the environment gets.

At the end each group must turn in a written report on all aspects of a balanced ecosystem. They must calculate the amounts of oxygen and other resources needed per unit volume in their environment based on their research. They must present a powerpoint or hyperstudio presentation to the class with each member of the group doing one part of the presentation.

NOTE: The teacher must monitor, closely, each of the five groups activities and offer hints or suggestions when it appears the group does not have enough research knowledge to successfully solve the problems. For example: (a) If the group fails to let the water sit for 24 hours before adding living creatures discuss with the group what's in city water to kill germs (the answer should be chlorine) and say if it kills germs what effect will it have on your living creatures in the environment. (b) If they don't add plants query the group as to what is going to replenish the oxygen the animals consume from your sealed environment.

RUBRIC: 10 points for brainstorming . 30 points for aquarium setup and maintenance. 40 points for group research paper and lab write up. 20 points for group presentation to the class using powerpoint or hyperstudio.

CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

DAY 1: Students will be assigned to groups of 4 or five with the goal of saving energy and natural resources. The group must list and define natural resources renewable and nonrenewable ones. Then they must list the natural resources they personally consume for survival.

DAY 2: Student groups (5) will connect with the internet site THE Co-NECT CONSERVATION PROJECT (http://www.co-nect.com/Schools/Energy/) to begin a school wide conservation project and to find ways of conserving energy and natural resources (http:www.or.com). Each member of the group must figure out how much his or her family is polluting the environment by going to the site (FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOU'RE POLLUTING WITH THIS GREAT CHART) IN THE Co-Nect web site and just with their electric bill they will find out how their electricity is being produced (ie. Nuclear, coal, oil, renewable , etc.) and how many pounds of pollution each household is contributing to the environment each year (pounds of CO2, NO3, & SO2). With this revelation, hopefully comes the personal feeling of obligation to reduce consumption of energy and natural resources. The students will then make personal lists from this and other sites on how to save energy and natural resources personally. They will then choose 3 natural resources they plan to conserve and make a list of at least 3 ways to conserve each resource (ie. Electric, water, oil, gas, recycling, etc.) and then produce a contract for themselves and every member in their family that everyone has to personally sign.

DAY3: Class instruction on how to keep tract of the use of energy and natural resources. We will discuss meter reading and calculating miles per gallon for the car and energy use and consumption around the house. We will do the same thing for the school and with the help of the maintenance people in our school learn how to calculate energy consumption in our middle school. We will also discuss heating degree days - how they are calculated and begin to keep a log of the heating degree days and meter readings at home and at school.

DAY 4: Each group of students will set up their control and experimental periods and what they plan to do during each period. They will also research on my computers the effect of using each natural resource, the cost of each resource and the environmental consequences of using each natural resource. If a necessary natural resource has environmental consequences (pollution) then each group must report on an alternative to reduce global pollution.

DAY 5: Groups of students will compile their information and prepare a ten minute oral presentation using powerpoint or hyperstudio with each group member contributing.25% of the presentation. Students will present their programs later when all calculations and reports are finished.

NOTE: This activity will take 15 days in school and 60 days at home, because when using meters to keep tract of energy and natural resources consumption we set up two thirty day periods with the first being the control (no savings of energy or natural resources). After the second meter reading (in 30 days) the students, school, and families begin obeying their contracts and save as much as possible for the next thirty days. At the end the third meter readings are taken and now students can compare the control period with the experimental period. The second reading minus the first equals the amount used during the control period and the third reading minus the second equals the amount used during the conservation period when everyone was obeying their contracts and trying to save energy and natural resources . Now students can calculate how much they, their families , and the school saved in thirty days. We then make the assumption that everyone will continue to save based on habit, knowledge of how much pollution is produced, etc., and now can extrapolate these savings for 12 months (multiplying KWH and CU. FT. of water and gas by 12) and then calculate the amount of money saved in a year. I have been doing this lab for 25 years now and the students, parents , and now the school find it amazing how many natural resources we waste and how much money can be saved and the environment also by reducing our consumption of natural resources.

RUBRIC:

10 points for group interaction.

30 points for the lists and contracts and report on natural resources and environmental effects of using them.

40 points for calculations of energy and natural resources for each individual, group and family member and extrapolation of data for a year.

 

St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill NY 10976-1050