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ERIC Number: EJ863750
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
From Local to Global: A Birds-Eye View of Changing Landscapes
Wilson, Courtney R.; Murphy, James; Trautmann, Nancy M.; Makinster, James G.
American Biology Teacher, v71 n7 p412-416 Sep 2009
As part of a curriculum development project entitled Crossing Boundaries, these authors designed an inquiry-based activity that introduces students to landscape change and potential impacts on associated biological communities. Using pairs of current and historical satellite images, students explore landscape change in a variety of U.S. and international settings. Rather than engaging in a quantitative study of biodiversity, this exercise frames student thinking about a variety of landscape change agents and their potential effects on associated plant and animal communities. Students use Google Earth, a free software program, to fly from one location to the next on a virtual globe, exploring change over the past couple of decades at a variety of sites. This article presents the dual perspectives of the curriculum developers and an 8th grade science teacher (James Murphy) in field-testing the activity with his middle school classes. Together the authors worked with five classes that included a total of 98 students. Overall, the students' presentations indicated that they had accurately interpreted the images and identified plausible impacts of change on biological communities. Implications of this activity for teaching are discussed. (Contains 3 figures and 1 table.)
National Association of Biology Teachers. 12030 Sunrise Valley Drive # 110, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-406-0775; Tel: 703-264-9696; Fax: 703-264-7778; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A