Scale Model of the Solar System

Discipline:

This activity introduces students to the scale model and how it is used in science. Students collaborate (or compete!) to construct a scale model of the solar system using colored cards. This task works especially well as a warm-up in the first meeting of a small class, and may be useful in any class—not just one on astronomy—where scale models are introduced.

Discussing a Science Article from the Popular Press

Discipline:

This activity engages students as critical readers of popular science writing. Any recent article will do, as students will seek out the methods, assumptions, and evidence in the piece. This task works especially well as a warm-up in the first meeting of a small class, but suggestions for an expanded assignment are given.

Divider

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This activity introduces students to experimental design, data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of findings. Students gather data on people's sensitivity to touch. This task works especially well as a warm-up in the first meeting of a small class.

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: National Debt

Discipline:

This brief activity acquaints students with rough estimation through problem solving and discussion. This task works especially well as a warm-up in the first meeting of a small class. Though the task is written around the case of national debt, a list of alternative cases is provided.

Invasive Species and Population Dynamics

Discipline:

Time series plot of balsam fir growth and moose population in Isle Royal National Park 1959–2003.

In this assignment, students will consider the effects of invasive species on ecosystems, and look at population dynamics in predator-prey relationships. In examining data from previous studies, students will apply their understanding of graphical displays of data and of statistical concepts (mean, standard deviation, variance, correlation, significance) to interpret research findings. This document serves as a student handout; an answer key is provided in an accompanying document.

Invasive Species and Population Dynamics

Discipline:

Time series plot of wolf and moose populations in Isle Royal National Park 1959–2003.

In this assignment, students will consider the effects of invasive species on ecosystems and look at population dynamics in predator-prey relationships. In examining data from previous studies, students will apply their understanding of graphical displays of data and of statistical concepts (mean, standard deviation, variance, correlation, significance) to interpret research findings. This document serves as an answer key; a student handout is provided in an accompanying document.

UNDP Convention on Biological Diversity

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This handout provides a review of major biodiversity concerns identified at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Convention on Biological Diversity. It is intended to initiate a class discussion on what students can do to address biodiversity issues.

Invasive Species: The Cane Toad Crisis

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In this class activity, students will consider the impact of invasive species by examining the ecological and evolutionary interactions between Australia's cane toads and their predators and prey. This document serves as a student handout; an instructor guide is provided in an accompanying document.

Invasive Species: The Cane Toad Crisis

Discipline:

In this class activity, students will consider the impact of invasive species by examining the ecological and evolutionary interactions between Australia’s cane toads and their predators and prey. This document serves as an instructor guide; student handouts are provided in an accompanying document.

Biodiversity of Pollinators

Discipline:

Median pollen deposition per visit.

In this class activity, students will analyze data from an investigation of the relationship between bee diversity and pollen deposition in farms and natural areas. Students will learn about the effects of biodiversity in a given ecosystem, and will apply their understanding of statistical concepts (mean, median, standard error). This document includes student handouts; an instructor guide is provided in an accompanying document.