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Part 1: Students read some background on biological magnification, and answer pre-reading questions. Part 2: Students create a visual/mathematical model of biological magnification for a marine food chain. Part 3: Students create a graph of to represent the data. Part 4: Students answer conclusion questions based upon their model.
A. NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS HEREIN
LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
ESS3: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity, Cause and Effect, Patterns, Systems and System Models, Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles, and Conservation
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Developing and Using Models
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
B. SUGGESTED USES
: No specific prior knowledge is required for this lab.
Mission to Mars is fun Ecology project, in which students create a self-sustaining mini-ecosystem to feed astronauts on the long trip to Mars. It is packed with Next Generation Science Standards.
Get it here: Mission to Mars
"Animal Cracker Ecology is a great activity to start with before using Mission to Mars. It is NGSS Aligned.
Get it here: Animal Cracker Ecology
Do you want to grade your class's ECOLOGY test with the click of a button? I created a 50 question Ecology test that grades itself.
Get it here: Self-Grading Ecology Test
Do you want your students to carry out a study to conserve water? Here is a NGSS aligned lab for that.
Get it here: Design a Study to Conserve Water
All you need for this activity are the following:
A. This download
C. Something small to represent mercury (my favorite is punched holes, but you can use large sprinkles, large confetti, rice. It must be something that you can count individually, and glue onto the model).
D. Colored pencils or markers.
1. Begin with the Phenomenon question about tattoo ink (first slide of the “visualizing ppm” powerpoint).
You can have students write a response to the question, or simply discuss it verbally as a class. The point of the question is for students to understand that tattoo are “forever” because the ink can’t be broken down in our bodies, and therefore get “stuck in our tissues”
2. Have students read the “pre-reading” section, and answer the pre-reading questions. Depending on the class, it can be helpful to stop after the pre-reading section, and go over the answers. This is at the teacher’s discretion.
3. Have students complete Part 2: Modeling Biomagnification. It can be a bit challenging for them to make sense of the math/proportions, so circulate around the room, ensuring that they are doing it correctly. This is students will need glue, mercury (punched holes, or whatever), and the page that models the number of organisms eaten at each trophic level.
4. Once the students have finished the model (gluing the organisms, and “mercury” on to the diagram template), have students complete parts 3 and 4; the graph and conclusion.
5. I’ve included a few slides that help students get a “feel” for the ppm system of units. The visualization works well on a large screen (SmartBoard, etc.), as the students can see the tiny dots. I usually show them this at the end.
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