Through a series of hands-on model-making activities, the Systems and Ecosystems program helps students learn about interconnectedness and interdependence in ecosystems. The program begins with a storytelling exercise in which the facilitator uses a visual model to walk students through the history of wolves in Yellowstone - a classic example of a trophic cascade. Next, students create a visual model of a kelp forest ecosystem and use the model to tell the story of otters in kelp forests - another example of a trophic cascade. Lastly, to help students understand how interconnectedness and interdependence are relevant to everyday life, students create a visual model of the key relationships in their own life and reflect on the ways that their choices have direct consequences on the people and things immediately around them as well as indirect consequences on those farther away. The program addresses multiple items from both the CCSS and the NGSS.
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