Sarah Bodbyl

Jun 102015
 

sci_thinking

How do we know we can trust a source or a claim made by someone? What constitutes “good science”? Knowing the answers to these questions is an important critical thinking skill for all students and is even more important in this digital age where students are exposed to information from many different sources with varying degrees of accuracy and qualifications. Everyone, including your students, is constantly facing confusing news stories and conflicting data and evaluating these claims requires the ability to think critically about all the information being thrown at them.

This lesson contains activities that you can do with your middle and high school students to teach them critical thinking skills such as the importance of attempting to disprove a hypothesis, using hypotheses to make testable predictions, and examining a recent case of “bad science” that has resulted in harmful consequences. In addition, we include modifications for doing similar activities with elementary school classes. We’ll also give you tools to deal with news that your students bring in with them, and how to help them go from just repeating data, to thinking about it.

http://scienceornot.net/ is a teacher resource with worked examples of how to reason through scientific claims made in the media, and general critical thinking. This is an excellent primer if you’re not already comfortable with the material in this lesson plan.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Look for data that would disconfirm their ideas
  • Understand different types of evidence, and how useful they are
  • Make predictions based on incomplete evidence

Lesson length: About an hour

Grade Levels: Designed for middle and high school, but activities have elementary school level alternatives

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Emily Dittmar & Amanda Charbonneau, 2015

Jun 102015
 
croptions
In this lesson students will explore the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, from basic ecological theory to their economic value. Provided with a short introduction to the types of ecosystem services and their importance, students will play a game where they must make decisions regarding how to invest a limited amount of money on their own for-profit farm—can they manage economic and ecological tradeoffs to design a productive farm that also enhances ecosystem services?

 

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define “ecosystem services” and explain the difference between supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services.
  • Compare and contrast “ecosystem services” and “ecosystem function” and explain the importance of each
  • Using evidence obtained from a classroom activity, explain the biodiversity-ecosystem function hypothesis
  • Justify decision-making in a farming simulation as decisions relate to economic and ecological factors

Length of lesson: 50 minutes

Appropriate grade levels: middle and high school.

Resources:
May 212015
 

forest from trees

What controls the structure of forests and the leaves within that forest?  Individual leaves have very different shapes and even colors, but together they make up the forest canopy that traps light and water. This lesson aims to help students understand how the form of leaves and trees follows from the function of how plants use light and water. At the beginning of the class, instructors will lead a discussion on what trees need to grow. Students then will work individually on certain leaf types to understand how their shape influences their function; – this may involve collecting leaves, but also cutting out the shape of leaves or tracing the outline that the leaf shadow makes. Finally, students will see how the ways plants supply water to leaves interact with the capacity to capture light to influence leaf size.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Name factors affect plant growth
  • Understand plants need energy, water and nutrient to survive
  • Explain how leaf size and tree height are shaped by sunlight and soil water
  • Describe the general relationship between leaf size and plant (or tree) height
  • Describe different strategies plants use to adapt to certain environments

Length of Lesson

  • 1 hour (if collecting leaves is not included)
  • 2 hours (include collecting leaves)

Grade Levels

Elementary (grade level 3-5)

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Di Liang and Brendan O’Neill, 2015

May 212015
 

Putting Down Roots - Photo

Plants play a major role in the lives of other living things, especially humans.  But it’s worth taking a look at how plants as we know them came to be, and where they came from. What adaptations allowed the first plants to survive on land?  How are the crops that make their way to our dinner tables different from their aquatic ancestors?  In this lesson students will learn about the different adaptations that led to mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.  They will also have the opportunity to work hands-on with plant/algae samples to identify some of these adaptations and see where the samples fit along the evolutionary timeline.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the four main groups of terrestrial plants and list their evolutionary order
  • Describe the key adaptations that distinguish terrestrial plant groups from one another
  • Identify visual evidence of these key adaptations in hands-on plant samples

Length of Lesson

(1)   50 minute class period

Grade Levels

4-9

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Pat Hanly and Andy Booms, 2015

Apr 032015
 

Sprig_workshop_candy

The KBS K-12 partnership cordially invites you to our spring 2015 workshop, themed Inferring Function from Form. This will be the last workshop will a full set of GK-12 Fellow presentations (though neverfear, we will have many more workshops) so expect it to be grand!

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 15. As usual, the schedule will run from 8 AM to 4 PM.

Below you’ll find our daily agenda well as details on our plenary sessions and concurrent sessions. Check back often for updates. Please rsvp to Sarah at bodbyl@msu.edu if you plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you!

Agenda (PDF)

8:00am – Welcome and Introductions

8:30-9:30am – Plenary: Dr. Ryan Bebej, Calvin College. Walking with whales: the origin and evolution of cetaceans.

9:45-11am –  Session 1: Fellow-led and special guest sessions

11:15am-12:30PM – Session 2: Teacher-led sessions

12:30-1:30PM – Lunch

1:30-2:45PM – Session 3: Fellow-led and special guest sessions

2:45PM – 4:00PM – Summer opportunities, 5 year review, and party!

Concurrent Session Abstracts (PDF)

Session 1:  9:45am

Science Lost in Translation. With Michael O’Rourke and Brian Robinson, Stack 138, All Levels. Teaching science is a process of translation, though it is easy for scientific concepts or the nature of science itself to be lost in translation. We will demonstrate and discuss the NSF-sponsored Toolbox dialogue method for addressing this challenge. Originally developed a decade ago to enhance communication among interdisciplinary researchers, the Toolbox dialogue method has been adapted to improve student learning in the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate settings. In today’s session, we will briefly demonstrate the method by leading you in a Toolbox dialogue and then explore discuss together ways in which this form of dialogue might can be used in K12 science classrooms.

Farming for Ecosystem Services. With Bonnie McGill, Susan Magnoli, & Dani Fegan, Stack 140, MS/HS. We’ll explore the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, from basic ecological theory to their economic value.  Students will play a game where they decide how to invest their money on their own farm–will they buy expensive hybrid seeds? or plant pollinator-friendly riparian buffers?

Seeing the forest from the trees. With Di Liang & Brendan O’Neill, Stack 141, EL.  What controls the structure of forests and the leaves within that forest?  Individual leaves have very different shapes and even colors, but together they make up the forest canopy that traps light and water. We will examine the vertical and horizontal structure of a forest, its canopy and leaves. Students will work individually to on certain leaf types to understand how their shape influences their function, – this may involve collecting leaves, but also cutting out the shape of leaves or tracing the outline that the leaf shadow makes. Then we will combine the leaves from all students as an example of how different leaves together influence the way the forest works.

Session 2: 11:15am 

Learn about the 3-D printer in your future! With Dale Freeland. Terrace Room, MS/HS. How can students use a 3-D printer in the science classroom?  How will a 3-D printer help me do my work? My students have engineered solutions to Science Olympiad and NGSS challenges and have used the 3D printer to print parts for those solutions. I will share student reactions and achievements during our first 6 months with a 3D printer. High student interest and their solutions lead me to predict that there will also be a 3D printer in your classroom in the near future!

Speak Up! Incorporating discourse into your life science classroom. With Cheryl Hach. Stack 141, MS/HS. Discourse is one of the fundamental science process skills that aligns not only to NGSS (Michigan Science Standards) but also the Common Core in both Math and ELA standards. What is discourse? Why is it important? How do teachers build a classroom that supports the exchange of student ideas? This session will provide research-based strategies and resources that promote academically productive talk between students and between students and teachers. Bring your best practices and share with others! We will model discourse practices using some of our very own Data Nuggets!

Hookeing up with the Microscope. With Tom Schaefer. Stack 140, All Levels. Using simple techniques that are inexpensive you will be able to revitalize your student microscopes and reintegrate them into a technologically advanced classroom. I don’t discriminate against type, age or condition (well condition may make me reconsider on occasion). Come with questions and hopefully leave with answers and ideas.

 Session 3: 1:30 PM

Curiosity and Principles: Scaffolding Meaningful Dialogue During Investigations. With, Hannah Miller, Wendy Johnson, and Andy Anderson. Terrace Room. MS/HS. In our workshop last fall, we examined “talk moves” that help elicit student thinking during class discussions. In this workshop, we continue with this interest in classroom talk, only with a new twist. In our recent research on teacher interviews and videos, we are looking for three things: teachers encouraging their students’ curiosity about the world, teachers showing curiosity about their students’ ideas, and teachers helping their students to use principles to guide their reasoning. We are interested in how this helps classroom discourse become curiosity-driven and principle-oriented. In this session, we will share examples we have seen of teachers doing this in their classrooms, and then brainstorm about ways to support curiosity and principle-oriented thinking during an inquiry investigation.

Science Lost in Translation. With Michael O’Rourke and Brian Robinson, Stack 138, All Levels. Teaching science is a process of translation, though it is easy for scientific concepts or the nature of science itself to be lost in translation. We will demonstrate and discuss the NSF-sponsored Toolbox dialogue method for addressing this challenge. Originally developed a decade ago to enhance communication among interdisciplinary researchers, the Toolbox dialogue method has been adapted to improve student learning in the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate settings. In today’s session, we will briefly demonstrate the method by leading you in a Toolbox dialogue and then explore discuss together ways in which this form of dialogue might can be used in K12 science classrooms.

Expecting the Unexpected, Adventures in Scientific Thinking. With Emily Dittmar and Amanda Charbonneau, Stack 140, MS/HS, with elementary adaptations. This session will use biological examples to demonstrate how to think like a scientist and use data to find meaning, make hypotheses and explore new ideas. Students will leave with a better understanding of the importance of null hypothesis testing, and ideas for classroom experiments that will promote scientific thinking.

Putting Down Roots: The Evolution of Plants from Water to Land. With Andy Booms and Pat Hanly, Stack 141, All Levels. Plants play a major role in the lives of other living things, especially humans.  But it’s worth taking a look at how plants as we know them came to be, and where they came from.  What adaptations allowed the first plants to survive on land?  How are the crops that make their way to our dinner tables different from their aquatic ancestors?  Come explore the evolutionary path of plants from water to land, and even back again!

Participant List:

Email Sarah Bodbyl (bodbyl@msu.edu) if you would like to be added to this list.

Comstock/STEM: Emmy Kimmer, Caleb Fisher, Laurie Anderson, Jan Kiino, Maren Tillman, Linda Foster, Canaan Groff

Delton-Kellogg: Connie High, Todd Shipley, Dale Grimes, Clinton Waller

Galesburg-Augusta:

Gobles: Becky Drayton

Gull Lake: Jennifer Boyle, Kim Clancy, Ashley Carroll, Blair Rogers, Michelle Mahar, Matt Hawkins (PM), Beth Rhodes (AM), Laurie Klok

Harper Creek: Meredith Hawkins, Sandy Erwin, Alissa Renner, Erik Crooks (rsvp, but not attending)

Hastings: Marty Buehler, Kurt Schaaf

Kalamazoo Area Math Science Center: Cheryl Hach

Lawton: Marcia Angle

Martin: Rob Robrahn

Olivet: Michael Boehmer, Charles Bucienski, Terri Morton, Marie Toburen

Parchment: Jodie Lugar-McManus

Plainwell: Sandy Breitenbach, Marty Green, Lisa Wininger

Thornapple-Kellogg: Jamie Bowman, Luann Schnur

Vicksburg: Lisa Harbour, Liz Ratashak, Dave Nette, Katherine Kay

Guests: Dale Freeland (Portage Central High School), Tom Schaefer (McCrone group), Michael O’Rourke (MSU), Brian Robinson (MSU).

KBS & Staff: Tom Getty, Andy Anderson, Sarah Bodbyl, Kara Haas, Dani Fegan, Emily Dittmar, Susan Magnoli, Bonnie McGill, Andy Booms, Brendan O’Neill, Pat Hanly, Di Liang, Amanda Charbonneau, Wendy Johnson, Hannah Miller.

WMU Evaluation Staff: Bob Ruhf, Mark Jenness, & Eva Ngulo

(42+4+15+3 = 64)

Apr 022015
 

Bowman

K-12 Partnership teacher Jamie Bowman is named in a new book by a former student, who made a strong impression during her early education. The full article is below, taken from the Thornapple Kellogg Schools webpage (http://www.tkschools.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=454025&id=0):

Amy Purdy, an actress, writer, inspirational speaker, and famed “Dancing with the Stars” competitor, wowed millions with her will and determination to compete even after having both legs amputated. In her new book, Purdy remembers one special teacher – Jamie Bowman – a TKMS teacher for 15 years.

Thornapple Kellogg Middle School teacher Jamie Bowman has a new favorite book containing a very personal message.
Bowman’s former student Amy Purdy acknowledges a special connection with her one-time elementary teacher in her new book “On My Own Two Feet: From losing my legs to learning the dance of life.”

Bowman was in her first year of teaching in a Las Vegas elementary school. Purdy, who as a double amputee danced her way into the hearts of millions appearing in the 18th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” was one of Bowman’s first students.

“I’m honored to think I mattered enough to her in some way that she remembered me after all these years and mentioned me in her book,” said Bowman. “It’s really amazing what she’s done with her life.”

Purdy was just 19 years old when she contracted a form of bacterial meningitis. Doctors gave her about a 2 percent chance of survival. She lost both her kidneys, her spleen and both legs below the knee, but she’s surviving and thriving in a life she never could have imagined.

She’s a bronze medalist adaptive snowboarder from the 2014 Paralympic games. She ran “The Amazing Race” in 2012. She’s an actress and model. She’s co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports and a spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. She appeared in a Toyota commercial that aired during the 2015 Super Bowl and drove the Toyota pace car for the Daytona 500.

She also joined Oprah Winfrey on Oprah’s “The Life you want to Live” tour.

In her book, Purdy writes on Page 11 about her third grade teacher, Miss Bowman.

“My other favorite subject was art. I could paint and get so lost in my head that I wasn’t sure how much time had passed. “That’s fantastic, Amy,” my fourth-grade art teacher, Miss Bowman, would say after I finished a drawing. She was the sweetest, most down-to-earth teacher I’d ever met. She also had a daughter around my age, and along with a few other kids from school we would sometimes have sleepovers at her place. “Hello, my dear! She’d exclaim whenever I visited. To be honest, I was better friends with Miss Bowman than I was with her daughter. She was creative: She spun her own wool and made sweaters and blankets. She had goats. And she was from Michigan, which sounded fascinating to me, simply because it wasn’t Nevada.”

Bowman says it was actually third grade, not fourth, but vividly remembers the young Purdy. “She was just a really sweet girl – a real go-getter.” Bowman has knitted a hat from her own sheep wool and plans to send it to Purdy with a heartfelt letter.

It was years since Bowman knew anything of Purdy or her parents. But one day she heard a familiar voice on the television.

“There was a show on called “How to Raise an Olympian” and I heard this voice I instantly recognized. It was Amy Purdy’s mother. It’s funny, but I knew that voice immediately,” said Bowman. “I didn’t know any of what had happened to Amy at all. It just made me sick.”

After that, Bowman was one of Purdy’s biggest fans when Purdy competed on “Dancing with the Stars.” She connected with Purdy’s Mom on Facebook. Then she learned of the mention in the book that came out in December 2014.
As a teacher, Bowman said she loves hearing from and about former students. Mostly, she admits, she loses track after they leave her classroom. “Yes, I might see some of them who stay around the community, but most of them I lose track of after a while. This is really special to me as a teacher. To know I made some small difference is what matters.”
Bowman is now in her 28th year of teaching and her 15th year at Thornapple Kellogg Schools. She said she’s thrilled to know she made a connection with Purdy and hopefully many other students throughout her career.

“The goal as a teacher is that you want to help make the world better. To think I had even a tiny bit in this for Amy just makes me feel really good,” said Bowman.

Mar 212015
 

It’s been a busy spring for the partnership! Here are some of the most recent updates. Click on the photos for more information.

1. GK-12 project featured on the BEACON blog.

beacon

2. K-12 partnership and GK-12 teacher educator Liz Ratashak featured in the February MEA voice.

MEA

3. Former GK-12 Fellow Liz Schultheis receives the Tracy A. Hammer Graduate Student Award for Professional Development. Congratulations to Liz!

 

4. Fellows present the KBS GK-12 story at the MSU CREATE for STEM conference.

 FullSizeRender

Jan 242015
 

Data-nuggets

The American Biology Teacher has recently published a Data Nuggets manuscript by former GK-12 Fellows Melissa Kjelvik and Liz Schulthuis!

In case you’re curious what Data Nuggets are, here’s a quick excerpt from the paper:

Data Nuggets (http://datanuggets.org) are free K–16 educational resources that bring data collected by scientists into the classroom, giving students the chance to work with data from cutting-edge research. They were designed in response to teacher requests for lessons that would help students meet quantitative learning goals. Data Nuggets are built from recent and ongoing research; each worksheet provides a brief background to a research topic, the researcher’s process as they developed their ideas, and a data set from their work. Students are challenged to answer a scientific question using the data set to support their claim and are guided through the construction of graphs o facilitate data interpretation. Data Nuggets get students excited about a research topic while increasing their quantitative skills and competency with the scientific method.

-Schultheis, E. H., and M. K. Kjelvik. 2015. Data Nuggets: Bringing Real Data into the Classroom to Unearth Students’    Quantitative & Inquiry Skills. The American Biology Teacher 77(1):19-29.

 To read more, click here.

Data Nuggets were originally created by the partnership between teachers of the K-12 partnership and the two graduate fellows in the KBS GK-12 program, Kjelvik and Schulthuis. After testing in classrooms within the partnership, the scope of the Data Nugget project has continued to increase and lesson are being implemented in classes across the U.S.

The Data Nugget project has recently been the focus of a NIMBioS working group. NIMBioS is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Synthesis Center supported through NSF’s Biological Sciences Directorate. The goals of the working group are:

  • Identify skills necessary for progression towards quantitative literacy and discuss the role of Data Nuggets in acquiring these skills;
  • Assess the efficacy of Data Nuggets as an educational tool;
  • Build a library of resources for use alongside Data Nuggets in undergraduate classrooms.

It is incredibly exciting to see this project grow! Congratulations, Liz and Melissa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 242014
 

chi-square

The Chi-square goodness of fit test can be used to test whether observed data are different from expected values based on a hypothesis.  This test and lesson is a good introduction to statistical analysis of biological data for high school students.  They will test their hypotheses with data and make scientifically rigorous conclusions.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Formulate a hypothesis to test.
  • Calculate expected values to test based on their hypothesis.
  • Calculate the Chi-square value using a Chi-square table.
  • Find the probability range for their Chi-square value and decide to support or reject their hypothesis based on the probability range.

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Bonnie McGill, 2014

Dec 222014
 

coevol_crossbills

Interactions between species can lead to coevolution. Even the interactions we observe in our own back yards, be they predator-prey interactions, species competition, or mutualism, can lead to two species reciprocally affecting each other’s evolution. In this lesson, students will learn about species interactions that lead to evolutionary arms races, using coevolution between crossbills, lodgepole pines, and red squirrels as an example. The lesson includes an activity to illustrate coevolution in action and a graphing activity.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define coevolution
  • Identify and explain the types of species interactions that lead to coevolution
  • Produce frequency distribution graphs that display coevolution between two species over time

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Brendan O’Neill, Susan Magnoli, and Andy Booms, 2014

Dec 222014
 

asian_carp

In this lesson, students will learn about watersheds, freshwater food webs, and invasive species through a power point presentation, a matching/coloring activity and a board game.  First, we will introduce students to the concepts of watersheds, food webs and invasive species.  Then we will introduce the Asian Carp, an invasive species that could become a threat to the Great Lakes watershed by traveling up the Mississippi River.  Students will fold, match, and color a worksheet that shows an aquatic food web with and without Asian Carp.  We will discuss what differences they find and how those differences could have ecological and social effects beyond the scope of the worksheet.  Next we will discuss with the students how plants and animals are not static, that is, they can change their strategies to adapt to changes in their environment.  To illustrate this point, we will give students a board game they will play in pairs where native species will compete against Asian Carp to get to the “survival” finish line.  We will keep track of which species wins among each pair to use as a springboard for discussion of different potential ecological consequences when Asian Carp compete with native species.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Name some organisms in a freshwater foodweb
  • Explain what an invasive species is and how they have the potential to be harmful to native food webs
  • Describe a watershed and name the watershed they live in
  • These foundational concepts (food web, species interactions, competition for resources) will provide the students with the contextual tools they need to learn more about co-evolution and ecology in more later science classes.

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Bonnie McGill, Di Liang, and Dani Fegan, 2014

Dec 222014
 

ant_acacia

All species interact with other species in their community. Some types of interactions are antagonistic, where one species benefits at the expense of another- such as predators and prey, or parasites and their hosts. However, interactions between species may also be mutualistic, where both species benefit from interactions with one another. Examples of mutualisms abound in nature, such as pollination, cleaner fish, and gut bacteria.

Interacting species are constantly co-evolving. Predators may become faster to overcome their prey, while the prey get better at dodging attacks. Likewise, in cooperative interactions, each species is under selection to obtain the most benefit from the interaction at the lowest cost. Since cheating may have immediate benefits to an organism, it is difficult to understand how mutualisms evolve and remain stable through time.

This lesson explores the circumstances that favor the evolution of cooperation, and why two species might cooperate. By using a card game simulation, students will see how cooperation is maintained, or lost, between ants and acacia trees depending on the environment they are living in.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Give examples of cooperatively co-evolved species
  • Describe why species might cooperate in the wild
  • Perform a simple simulation of species interaction
  • Graph the outcome of a simulation

Resources:

  • Lesson plan
  • Powerpoint (pdf, reduced file size)
  • Worksheet
  • Sets of playing cards (4)
  • Supporting literature
    • Palmer TM et al. 2008. Breakdown of an ant-plant mutualism follows the loss of large herbivores from an African savanna. Science 319:192-195.
    • Stanton ML & Palmer TM. 2011. The high cost of mutualism: effects of four species of East African ant symbionts on their myrmecophyte host tree. Ecology 92:1073-1082.

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Emily Dittmar, Pat Hanly, and Amanda Charbonneau, 2014

Dec 222014
 


emily_Dani_changinglandscapes

Changes to landscapes as a result of human activities often result in habitat fragmentation.  Habitat fragmentation not only results in smaller habitat patches and greater distance between those patches, but can also affect movement of organisms between the remaining fragments. Decreasing the ability of organisms to move between patches can have negative effects on the population, as well as potentially threatening the long-term persistence of a given species.  Designing reserves and connecting existing habitat patches are a couple ways to mitigate the negative effects of habitat fragmentation. One means that is used to connect habitat fragments is the establishment of landscape corridors.  Landscape corridors are areas of land between habitat fragments that are used to promote the movement of organisms between patches. Corridors can take on a number of shapes and forms, which depend on the movement requirements of the organisms that land managers are trying to promote or restore the movement of.  In this lesson, we will discuss why habitat area and reserve design are important. Beginning with preservation of habitat patches, we will discuss how the area of a habitat patch is an important consideration when deciding whether or not to invest resources (e.g., money) in a particular patch to preserve it. We will then discuss the importance of movement between habitat patches and provide examples of the creative ways that scientists and land managers establish or preserve corridors for movement. The lesson concludes with an activity where students are challenged to engineer the best disperser for given environment types, specifically an artificial wind-dispersed seed in windy and calm environments.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain why habitat area is important for survival of organisms
  • Interpret graphs relating to habitat area, species richness, and extinction rates
  • Understand that habitat fragmentation affects movement of organisms
  • Provide examples of ways that humans can establish corridors to promote movement between fragments
  • Explain the ways that different organisms have different requirements for moving through landscapes

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Emily Dittmar & Dani Fegan, 2014

Nov 242014
 

bonnieproofs-40bw smallerDSC_0033

GK-12 Fellow Bonnie McGill was presented with a brand new award last Tuesday, November 18, at a town hall meeting of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at MSU. ESPP director Jinhua Zhou presented Bonnie with the ESPP Outstanding Service Award in recognition of her attendance and participation in ESPP seminars and research symposiums over the last two years and her contributions to the program through volunteering to help at events and serving on the research colloquia planning committee.  Bonnie is the first person to receive this new award. Congratulations, Bonnie!

Nov 062014
 

Former GK-12 Fellow Tomomi Suwa recently published an inquiry lesson she developed addressing rhizobia-legume mutualisms! The lesson is based on Tomomi’s graduate research and was originally developed for and presented at K-12 partnership workshops. The publication arose from a collaborative effort with visiting scholar and co-author, Brad Williamson, from the University of Kansas. Congratulations, Tomomi and Brad!

abt

Click on the image to read Tomomi’s contribution to the literature.

 

Oct 312014
 
SI_hydroponics photo

Learning about hydroponics at the 2014 Summer Institute

The KBS K-12 partnership cordially invites you to our fall 2014 workshop! The theme is Co-evolution and Cross-cutting Concepts and will be held on Wednesday, November 12. As usual, the schedule will run from 8 AM to 4 PM.

Below you’ll find our daily agenda (pending) well as details on our plenary sessions and concurrent sessions. Events will continue to update as we develop content. Please rsvp to Sarah at bodbyl@msu.edu if you plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you!

*Agenda Drafts (click to view):

Concurrent Session Abstracts: 

Session 1:  9:45am

Effective “talk moves” for helping students explain their ideas: Findings from our analysis of interviews. With Hannah Miller, Wendy Johnson, & Andy Anderson, Terrace Room, All Levels. As part of the Carbon TIME research in 2012-3 we asked each teacher to interview two students because we wanted to identify the range of student ideas about matter and energy in socio-ecological systems.  We have learned a lot about students’ ideas from studying these interview transcripts, but we eventually realized that the students weren’t the only interesting people in the interviews! We noticed that even though teachers were using the same interview protocol, some teachers were using techniques during the interviews/teaching that were very effective in eliciting student ideas and making student thinking visible. We have compiled examples from transcripts in which teachers are using “talk moves” that we think are valuable tools for formative assessment. During the session, we will share examples of teacher exchanges with students that we think provide examples of effective methods of questioning. Workshop participants will be given interview transcripts to look for similarly effective talk moves: How do teachers ask questions and follow up after student responses? How do these strategies help students explain their ideas? Our goal is for teachers to leave the session with new strategies for questions and “talk moves” to use with students that will help elicit their ideas that will be helpful in formative assessment.

Not in my stream: The Asian Carp invaders. With Bonnie McGill, Di Liang, & Dani Fegan, Stack 138, Elementary. First, we will introduce students to the concept of food webs and invasive species—we will frame this concept using examples from around the world (including species native to North America that are invasive in other places, like goldenrod).  Then we will introduce the Asian Carp, an invasive species that could become a threat to the Great Lakes watershed.  Students will color a worksheet that shows an aquatic food web with and without Asian Carp.  We will discuss what differences they find and how those differences could have ecological and social effects beyond the scope of the worksheet.  Next we will discuss with the students how plants and animals are not static, that is, they can change their strategies to adapt to changes in their environment.  To illustrate this point, we will give students a board game they will play in pairs where native species will compete against Asian Carp to get to the “survival” finish line.  We will keep track of which species wins among each pair to use as a springboard for discussion of different potential ecological consequences when Asian Carp compete with native species.

Coevolving with crossbills: a tale of two pinecones. With Susan Magnoli, Andy Booms & Brendan O’Neill, Stack 140, MS/HS. Interactions between species can lead to coevolution. Even the interactions we observe in our own back yards, be they predator-prey interactions, species competition, or mutualism, can lead to two species reciprocally affecting each other’s evolution. In this session, we will learn about species interactions that lead to evolutionary arms races, using coevolution between crossbills, lodgepole pines, and red squirrels as an example. The session includes an activity to illustrate coevolution in action and a graphing activity.

Why do species cooperate? A card-based simulation of the ant-acacia mutualism. With Emily Dittmar, Pat Hanly, and Amanda Charbonneau, Stack 141, Late MS/HS. This lesson uses a card game to teach how coevolution can lead to both exploitative and cooperative relationships between species in nature. Using the ant-acacia system as a guiding example, pairs of students will simulate being either ant or acacia populations that are vying for the most resources for reproduction under different environmental conditions. As they play, students will record and graph the proportion of their respective populations that are either exploitative or cooperative to visualize how the traits of their populations are evolving. At the end of the lesson, groups will share the results of their simulations with the class to compare the coevolution of cooperation occurring across populations experiencing different selective pressures.

Session 2: 11:15                     NGSS ‘Patterns’                         

Earth Sciences: Earth, Moon, & Solar System. With Marty Green, Marie Toburen & Russ Stolberg. Stack 138, EL/MS. The purpose of our session is to look at the NGSS cross-cutting concept of patterns and demonstrate how students can learn about patterns in the classroom during the study of Earth Science. Teachers will share sample lessons, activities, and assessments that help students use and make sense of patterns to build understandings.

Life Sciences: From dichotomous keys to finding differences in DNA. With Jill Withey & Elizabeth Bauer. Stack 140, Late EL/HS, with adaptation to MSPart 1: As kids become aware of the world around them, they begin to sort and categorize and make generalizations about what they see.  The purpose of this lesson is to make classification logical. We will look at how a dichotomous key works, practice using various keys, then discuss scenarios where scientists might use this tool.  If there is time, we will brainstorm how teachers may apply this in their own districts with available plants/wildlife. Part 2: Transitioning to high school learning, we’ll do two activities which allow students to compare sequences of DNA to identify mutations responsible for changes in mouse coat color and analyze the amino acid data to draw conclusions about common ancestry.

Physics: Is your laptop making you sterile? Modeling waves and energy. With Shaun Davis & Liz Ratashak. Stack 141, MS/HS. Part 1: The objective of this high school lesson is to evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by matter. Part 2: We’ll be looking at middle school NGSS performance expectations regarding waves. Specifically, we will explore ways to use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy.

Session 3: 1:30 PM

Ping Pong, Zombies, and Influenza: Let’s Build a Model! With Anne-Marie Hoskinson & Diane Ebert-May. Terrace Room. MS/HS. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) claim that K-12 students – especially middle- and high-school students – should be able to build models to make explanations and predictions of phenomena. What does it mean to build a scientific model – and can young people really do that in rich, non-trivial ways? This session is designed to give participants a taste of what scientific models are, what they do for our students, and how we can think about teaching this scientific practice. You’ll have a chance to build your own models and brainstorm with colleagues about the many possible applications of models across all the sciences. We will discuss how to find and create substantial, non-trivial scenarios, Then, using a series of fun, accessible, but important scenarios, we will begin to develop a systematic approach to teaching scientific modeling in our science and math classrooms. I will also introduce a professional-learning opportunity tentatively beginning in summer 2015 focused on learning and teaching scientific modeling for MS & HS teachers. You’ll never think about a ping-pong ball or the flu the same way after this workshop!

Not in my stream: The Asian Carp invaders. With Bonnie McGill, Di Liang, & Dani Fegan, Stack 138, Elementary.

Coevolving with crossbills: a tale of two pinecones. With Susan Magnoli, Andy Booms & Brendan O’Neill, Stack 140, MS/HS.

Why do species cooperate? A card-based simulation of the ant-acacia mutualism. With Emily Dittmar, Pat Hanly, and Amanda Charbonneau, Stack 141, Late MS/HS. 

Participant List:

Email Sarah Bodbyl (bodbyl@msu.edu) if you would like to be added to this list.

Comstock/STEM: Elizabeth (Emmy) Kimmer, Shirley Gilland, Mary Grintals, Canaan Groff

Delton-Kellogg: Dale Grimes

Galesburg-Augusta:

Gobles: Becky Drayton

Gull Lake: Kari Freling, Laurie Klock, Ashley Carroll, Michelle Mahar, Beth Keller, Matt Hawkins, Blair Rogers, Beth Rhodes, Jennifer Boyle, Kim Clancy

Harper Creek: Thom Shipley, Erik Crooks, Sandy Erwin, Emily Subers, Meredith Hawkins

Hastings: Jill Withey,

Kalamazoo Area Math Science Center: Chris Chopp

Lawton: Marcia Angle

Martin:

Olivet: Terri Morton, Michael Boehmer, Elliot London, Marie Toburen, Charles Bucienski, Russ Stolberg

Parchment: Jodie Lugar-McManus

Plainwell: Lisa Wininger, Jackie Warners, Marty Green

Thornapple-Kellogg: Shaun Davis, Jamie Bowman, Beth Bauer, Luann Schnur

Vicksburg: Lisa Harbour, Liz Ratashak, David Nette

KBS & Staff: Tom Getty, Andy Anderson, Sarah Bodbyl, Dani Fegan, Emily Dittmar, Susan Magnoli, Bonnie McGill, Andy Booms, Brendan O’Neill, Pat Hanly, Di Liang, Amanda Charbonneau, Anne-Marie Hoskinson, Wendy Johnson, Hannah Miller

WMU Evaluation Staff: Bob Ruhf and Eva Ngulo

Oct 312014
 

GK-12 Fellow Bonnie McGill (Plainwell partnership) recently presented a poster at the 2014 MSU Environmental Science and Policy Program’s annual research symposium. The ESPP program is a campus-wide degree specialization program that facilitates interdisciplinary environmental research at MSU.

This year’s symposium theme was Environmental Risk and Decision Making, which is a topic tailor-made for Bonnie’s research on how human activities, specifically agricultural management, influence ecosystem functioning. Bonnie’s conference contribution was titled “Coupling biogeochemistry and sociology to understand groundwater use and inorganic carbon flux in southwest Michigan corn fields“.

If you see Bonnie, ask her about her research, and congratulate her on a great conference presentation!

bonnie

Bonnie fields a question about her poster at the 2014 ESPP Symposium

 

 

Oct 032014
 
geology_hike

Plainwell students learn about the wetland soils at PCCI on the geology hike

On October 2, over 90 students from Plainwell middle school’s STEM academy visited the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Environmental Education. K-12 partnership and STEM teachers Lisa Wininger, Heather Damick, and Momoko Montgomery teamed up with GK-12 Fellows Di Liang and Bonnie McGill, plus PCCI educator director (and former KBS K-12 partnership coordinator) Sara Syswerda to lead students through activities on PCCI grounds. Students were split into three groups and rotated through three activities: water sampling, macroinvertebrate sampling, and a geology hike.

leech

A student shows off a very large leech from the retention ponds

During the water sampling activity, students were trotted down to the beautiful Cedar Creek and were guided through sampling of water temperature, flow rate, pH, and dissolved oxygen. Leader Sara S. engaged the students with lots of questions and hypothesis formation on how the creek’s abiotic factors contributed to the diversity of animals that could be found there.

water_sampling

Water sampling of Cedar Creek with Sara Syswerda, education director at PCCI.

On the geology hike, the students learned how the Pierce Cedar Creek watershed was formed by glaciation long ago. One of the most interesting revelations was that a large, circular hill, called a kame, in the middle of the property was caused by sedimentation deposited at the base of a huge waterfall in the glacier long ago.

walk

Enjoying the beautiful fall weather!

Perhaps the students’ favorite activity was the macroinvertebrate sampling in the retention ponds near the visitors’ center parking lot. Tons of wriggling and squirming critters including tadpoles, water boatman, dragonfly nymphs, frogs, and a plethora of leeches were counted and identified. Considering the volume and diversity of critters found in dip net samples, the students concluded that the PCCI retention ponds were very healthy!

All participants in the field trip thoroughly enjoyed the day! Thanks to all who made such a wonderful and educational visit possible.

di_bus

Fellow Di Liang shepherds students back on to the bus for the return trip to Plainwell.

 

 

 

Sep 202014
 
Steve & Bonnie LTER tour 2014

Fellow Bonnie McGill gives a research overview on the LTER/GLBRC tour, assisted by her advisor, Steve Hamilton

On Friday September 19, KBS welcomed new faculty and other interested researchers with the annual LTER/GLBRC Field Tour. The tour highlighted current agriculture-based research undertaken on KBS grounds and opportunities available for new researchers. GK-12 Fellows Di Liang, Bonnie McGill, and Brendan O’Neill helped plan the event, showcased their research with the LTER and GLBRC cropping systems, and entertained attendees with ‘PI trivia’ at the dinner following the tour.

Sep 052014
 
Jake_Dani_2014

Jake Nalley and Dani Fegan phenotype plants at the 2013 K-12 Partnership Summer Institute.

On Tuesday August 12, GK-12 Fellows Dani Fegan and Jake Nalley presented at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Sacramento, California. Their talk was titled:  KBS GK-12 BioEnergy SusTainability (BEST) Project: Using schoolyard research plots to grow ecological and energy literacies (abstract here) and was included in a special organized session: Achieving Energy and Ecological Literacies for All: Towards Best Practices in Science Education and Outreach at the Interface. The talk highlighted the initial and realized project goals, the BEST plots, challenges, success-stories, and some of the amazing products that have been developed by participating Fellows (e.g. classroom-ready lesson plans and Data Nuggets). Despite an initial technology failure during the talk, the presenters used their hard-won GK-12 presentation-skill-mastery to give a brilliant team talk, receiving some rave reviews! Jake and Dani also handed out GK-12 lesson plans and newsletters to interested attendees of a materials ‘Share-fair’ associated with the session.

 

 

 

 

Aug 152014
 

Jake

Former GK-12 Fellow Jake Nalley is featured in this week’s BEACON Researchers at Work. Jake, lab-mate Danny O’Donnell, and REU undergraduate Farhana Haque blog about their summer research projects  on how phytoplankton  may respond to global climate change. Check out the article on the BEACON website HERE. If you’re interested in learning more about Jake’s work, check out his website and some of his GK-12 lessons for K-12 classrooms available here, here, and here.

Aug 082014
 

decomp

Decomposition is a complex process happening all around us.  The goal is to identify where decomposition is happening (in the fridge in the forest), examine important factors – biological, chemical and physical, and used an inquiry-based approach for students to set up their own experiments

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand the concepts involved in decomposition – physical, chemical and biological.
  • Connect these concepts with their everyday experiences and knowledge and relate them to models of food webs and carbon cycling.
  • Use concepts to construct a decomposition experiment that unites the above concepts.

Resources:

Lesson plan created by fellow Brendan O’Neill and partner-teachers Jodie Lugar-McManus and Jennifer Boyle, 2014

Aug 082014
 

Current GK-12 Fellow Brendan O’Neill has received a SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant for research investigating soil health in agricultural systems. Agricultural management typically utilizes basic soil testing to inform management – helping farmers decide when and how much fertilizer or pesticides to apply to their fields. The SARE grant will allow O’Neill and other MSU researchers to complement traditional soil testing in local area farms with new tests gauging soil health through physical, chemical, and biological assays. O’Neill is interested in how new soil health testing results may be useful to and influence farmer management decision making and hopes that the new information will improve agricultural sustainability practices.

Congratulations to Brendan on this achievement!

 

 

Aug 042014
 

Former GK-12 Fellow Tyler Bassett’s research on prairie restorations was recently featured in the August edition of the KBS e-Station to Station newsletter. Check out the short article HERE, as well as other news and events currently happening at KBS.

 

tyler

Aug 042014
 

emily

Soil properties can often dictate the types of plants that can live in a particular habitat. The composition of soil affects everything from the amount of water available, to the types of nutrients and minerals present, to a plant’s root structure and growth. This lesson will focus its investigation on the particle sizes of various soil types. During this lesson, participants will look at sand, silt, and clay particles under a microscope and use this information to estimate the proportion of these components within various soil samples they have collected. They will also test the permeability of their soil and relate this to its makeup and particle size. Finally, plant adaptations to live in various soil types will be discussed, and a case study will incorporate data interpretation from a plant species that is adapted to live on a unique soil type. This lesson not only addresses both Earth Science and Natural Science curricula, but it also incorporates inquiry based learning, microscope work, and data interpretation.

At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Use a microscope
  • Understand basic differences between sand, silt, and clay
  • Estimate the relative amounts of sand, silt and clay in soil samples they collect
  • Understand how physical properties of soil affect its permeability
  • Brainstorm adaptations that plants need to live in different soil environments

Resources:

Lesson plan created by GK-12 Fellow Emily Dittmar and Partner-Teacher Russ Stolberg, 2014

Jul 252014
 

FoodWeb_Picture

This lesson teaches the importance of understanding how the context of the entire food web can shape whether or not we find species in an ecosystem or not. Both the life requirements and controlling factors (abiotic & biotic) that combine to determine where species can live are discussed.

Using two freshwater ponds, students will generate hypotheses about what they expect different food webs to look like and whether or not they will support focal species based on differences in environmental conditions. The biodiversity at multiple trophic levels and the water chemistry of the two ponds will be sampled by students to generate food webs and test the validity of their hypotheses.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about how species of interest are influenced by the community in which they are found.
  • Construct food webs that show how species are linked in a community through their feeding linkages.
  • Identify pond organisms at both the microscopic and macroscopic scales.

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Pat Hanly and Partner-Teacher Marcia Angle, 2014

 

Jul 232014
 

hydro

The aim of this project is to help students to gain deeper understanding on how and why mineral elements are necessary for plants to grow. Plants will exhibit certain symptoms of nutrition deficiency when suffering from malnutrition, which can be best studied by a water culture (hydroponics) system.  This lesson starts with a brief introduction on what plant nutrition is and why fertilizer is important for plants. After the theory session, instructors and students will build seed starting and hydroponics experimental systems together. Different treatments, i.e. nutrient solutions that are absent of certain mineral elements, will be set up and students will be divided into small groups to observe how plants react and adjust under various environments. Students will spend time on 1) recording plant nutrient deficiency symptom; 2) maintaining hydroponics systems; 3) collecting plant morphological and physiological data.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Tell the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients
  • Understand the functions of N, P and K on plant development
  • Identify typical deficiency symptoms on plant organs associated with the absence of essential elements
  • Explain why water is an alternative medium for plants to grow
  • Explain and apply basic hydroponics techniques
  • Graph data of plant height, plant biomass and chlorophyll generated during the experiment

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Di Liang and Partner Teacher Marty Green, 2014

Jul 162014
 

Image for blog

In this lesson, students will learn about the “other” carbon, that is, inorganic carbon and how it is important for understanding how mountains erode over millennia, how farmers utilize it to maintain soil health, and its role in the carbon cycle. This lesson will introduce students to the scale at which ecosystem ecology works. A small lab activity demonstrates the chemical reaction at the heart of this lesson (involving TUMS, hence “inorganic carbon cycling in your belly”). The lesson involves working with a scientific journal article and data from it. The journal article illustrates how scientists quantify how humans affect the ecosystem, more specifically, how the inorganic carbon in the river water tells a story about how humans use the land. Together, we walk through a series of graphs from the paper to arrive at conclusions by synthesizing information from multiple graphs. Then we break into pairs, make predictions, graph more real data from the article, and discuss the results as a group.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe the scale at which ecosystem ecology works.
  • Explain the difference between organic C and inorganic C and their cycles.
  • Explain what geological weathering is.
  • Describe the chemical reaction when carbon (C) in TUMS (CaCO3) is added to vinegar and how this relates to the environment.
  • Explain the role of agricultural liming in buffering soil pH.
  • Synthesize conclusions from a sequence of different graphs.
  • Make predictions of river alkalinity export based on % crop or % forest area in a watershed.

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Bonnie McGill and Partner-Teachers Meredith Hawkins and Sandy Erwin, 2014

Jul 142014
 


LeastCost_HeaderPhoto

Animals move across the landscape for many reasons – such as migration, dispersal, or simply to find enough food. These movements often force animals to move through less-than-ideal habitat where they’re more exposed to predators or dangers associated with human activity (think of a deer moving out of a forest to cross a highway). Because not all habitats making up a landscape are the same, there are often more- and less-costly paths an animal can take as it moves from one point to another.  In this lesson students will explore the costs of moving across a complex landscape.  The students’ goal is to find the least-cost (i.e. safest) path for a particular animal given knowledge of that animal’s habitat needs and preferences and the dangers associated with different habitats.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain how habitats, humans, and other wildlife can affect an animal’s ability to move across a landscape.
  • Describe negative impacts that human land-use practices have on wildlife and predict the consequences of future land-use change.
  • Discuss and compare the habitat requirements of some East African wildlife.

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Andy Booms and Partner-Teachers Jamie Bowman and Shaun Davis, 2014

Jul 142014
 

susan_photo

Interactions are a way of life. All organisms interact with many other organisms on a daily basis. Some of these interactions are positive, benefitting all organisms involved. Some of these interactions are negative, which may cause harm. Plants, animals and all other living things interact, and these many interactions are readily observable in our own backyards. In this activity we will explore these interactions and predict how they will help or harm species when their environment changes (biotic or abiotic changes).

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify interactions between different species (observation)
  • Name and describe the different types of species interactions
  • Recognize that species may develop more than one relationship
  • Predict the impact of environmental changes (biotic or abiotic) on the relationship or individual organism

Resources:

Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Susan Magnoli and Partner-Teachers Caleb Fishers and Becky Drayton, 2014