This project is packed with NGSS Aligned skills and standards. I have used it for my biology classes during the Ecology unit, and my Environmental Science classes as well. Students gather data and research, model a U.N. Panel, make arguments from evidence and evaluate claims. Many students will role-play a specific person, or represent a specific position on trophy hunting, while others will be judges, using the Environmental Decision Making Model to inform their decision on "Should Trophy Hunting be Banned?" The project is multidisciplinary; involving concepts from ecology, evolution, geography, social science, and economics. My students love this project, and learn a ton.
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Looking for a different kind of activity for Ecology? Try Animal Cracker Ecology. My students love it. It is NGSS Aligned.
Get it here: Animal Cracker Ecology
The download file comes complete with instructions, rubrics, links for students, and other resources for students.
A. NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS HEREIN
DCI’s: LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans
Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Developing and Using Models
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
B. SUGGESTED USES
Prior Knowledge: Students do not necessarily require much prior knowledge. However, for students to understand, and communicate, some of the important ecological, conservationist arguments, they benefit from a conceptual understanding of food webs, ecological interactions, and natural selection.
They should be able differentiate between credible and non-credible sources, and will benefit from information about effective communication/persuasion skills. Students adept in PowerPoint or Google Slides may benefit as well.
Implementing the Lesson: In a class of 24 or so, I usually make 5 or 7 students judges (an odd number ensures one side wins), and the remaining students are divided up (somewhat) evenly into the pro and against positions. If there are more students than positions, I allow some positions (economist, ecologist, conservationist, and land owner) to be represented by more than one student.
Because the project incorporates so many of the concepts within ecology, I spend a significant amount of time on it. I usually give students two or three classes to do research and work on their presentation (judges are working on their tasks as well). I encourage students to be pithy with their presenetion to avoid having the process last too many classes.
Then, depending on the length of the presentations, and the number of questions that the judges ask during each presentation, the UN simulation can take a full class or two.
I allow the presenters to begin their reflection paper in class, while the judges deliberate. Finally, the judges announce their decision, with an explanation. I allow the judges to make any decision, with any stipulations, that they deem fitting. In my experience, the students really enjoy this activity, and learn a lot about an important issue.
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