Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Very Cool Science-Class Stuff

In science, we're talking about competition, commensalism, mutualism, etc., in animal populations. (I love this stuff. I'd rather talk ecology any day than dissect those nasty grasshoppers.) The main topic for today was predator-prey relationships, so I googled "predator prey lesson plan" and came up with this. Very cool!

We had so much fun playing the predator-prey game this morning. We weren't able to finish it, so we'll either continue it or start it over next Friday after they've finished the ITBS. (I know, I know ... another scheduling snafu, and I call it a snafu because no one told me that I was going to lose a week of teaching science. Grr.) Anyway, they'll also learn to plot two populations over 20 generations on a graph (something they've never done before) and see how the predator-prey populations rise and fall. Very cool!

And I won't complain too much about losing a week of classes. Half the high school will be in D.C. the week after next, and I'm planning to take my girls hiking for a day while they're gone. Because we lose a week, we'll start the biomes unit a week late--which will be the week we go hiking! Now, won't it be cool to take them to Great Smoky Mountains National Park or Pisgah National Forest, less than an hour away? With 6,000+-foot peaks, lots of waterfalls, and awesome trails, these deciduous forest biomes have up to five forest types, plus features of other biomes, plus some of the greatest biological diversity in the world. Very cool!

I'll also have time (since we lose a week) to go out to the trails and find a trail that's short enough and easy enough for them, yet will still allow them to see different forest types and learn about the critters and plants that inhabit them. So everything will work out after all. (I know. A little voice in my head is snickering and saying, "famous last words ...")

Wait ... I just realized ... five forest types ... five students in my class ... can someone say "Presentation Time?" :-D Yes! I can have them do research/presentations on the forest types before we go hiking ... that way they'll know what they're looking at, and each student can identify her own forest type! Very, very cool! This will be so much fun! Never in my wildest dreams have I imagined a job where I could pretend to be my favorite college biology prof and get paid for it!

I really love this stuff. And we're gonna take my favorite wildflower ID guide on the hike, too. :)

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