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ERIC Number: EJ863740
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
Building Ecological Complexity in the Classroom Using Pea Aphids & Components of Their Community
Richardson, Matthew L.; Hari, Janice
American Biology Teacher, v71 n5 p286-290 May 2009
Teachers face the challenge of introducing ecological concepts in an authentic way that students can apply to their lives and surroundings. Fieldwork helps achieve this goal and can have a range of beneficial impacts on participants, but opportunities to conduct fieldwork can be limited, especially in urban environments. Urban environments are human-centered habitats and often lack green spaces; additionally, urban schools may have large class sizes and limited funds, which prohibit fieldwork. However, many engaging and authentic biology experiments using live flora and fauna can be done in the classroom, providing some of the same benefits as fieldwork. Insects make an excellent model system for any life science class because of their prevalence and importance even in anthropogenic habitats, such as urban and agricultural environments. The authors present an inquiry-based research project on insects that they used at the end of an ecology unit with 82 students in eighth grade (ages 13-14) at an urban school. The authors used this project to help students learn how to do science by applying concepts learned during earlier lessons and integrating those concepts with new concepts and techniques. In order to make students aware of complex ecological interactions, the lesson sequence addressed three major units: (1) designing research and collecting and interpreting data; (2) how adaptations in predators and prey shape their interactions; and (3) the effects of abiotic and biotic factors on aphid populations. (Contains 1 figure and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A