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Environment Unit


Evolution Selection Games

7th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Agriculture, Animals, Cells, Environment, Genetics, Cells, Evolution, Natural and Artificial Selection, Inheritance, and Population Dynamics

Lesson Overview: Students act out scenarios of evolution using chromosome cut outs. These could be directed by the instructor, or eventually if they get the hang of it could be “performed” by the students with one of them narrating what is happening. The different scenarios help the students understand how the rules of inheritance and that evolution is a process that is constantly ongoing and affects their daily lives regardless if they are in the medical field, a businessman, a farmer, a biologist, a civil engineer, a pet owner, or simply a human trying to stay alive on this planet. Each scenario comes with a real life context, rules for inheritance, and some twists to make additional points.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of how different organisms pass on traits (heredity)
  • Understand and apply knowledge of interdependency of organisms, changed in environmental conditions, and survival of individuals and species.

Content Objectives:

  • Recognize that heredity is the passage of genetic instructions from one generation to another.
  • Identify DNA as the molecule that contains the instructions for traits
  • Explain the organization of DNA into genes and chromosomes.
  • Explain how traits are passed from one generation to the next.
  • Explain how biological adaptation occurs through natural selection.
  • Recognized that genetic diversity enables members of a population to have different variations of a trait.
  • Explain how variations in traits can enable some members of a population to better survive in their environment

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Bacterial Diversity and temperature dependent growth

7th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Environment and Nature of Science

Lesson Overview: Students will perform an experiment to explore the influence of temperature on bacterial growth rates. They will use own bacterial swabs from around the classroom, which will allow them to see bacterial diversity and illustrate that although we don’t see them, bacteria are nearly everywhere.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of interdependency of organisms, changed in environmental conditions, and survival of individuals and species.
  • Design and conduct different kinds of scientific investigations.
  • Select and use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret data.

Content Objectives:

  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.
  • Communicate and defend procedures and explanations.

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Hyenas Evolution Simulation

9th - 12th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Evolution, Animals and Natural Selection

Lesson Overview: The students will simulate mutations among a populations of hyenas in changing environments.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of biological evolution

Content Objectives:

  • Summarize the process of natural selection.
  • Summarize evidence for natural selection as the mechanism for evolution.
  • Identify the role natural selection plays in the diversity of species.

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Importance of Observation and Communication

7th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Environment, Organisms and Nature of Science

Lesson Overview: Student pairs get an organism that they are to make quantitative and qualitative observations on. Students work on making accurate sketches, detailed written observations, and measuring. Subsequently students either peer-evaluate another group’s observations, or preferably do a mix-and-match game, where students are given several descriptions and several organisms and match them up.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand that different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations.

Content Objectives:

  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.
  • Use evidence to develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models.
  • Communicate and defend procedures and explanations.

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Rabbits and Foxes Ecology Simulation

9th-12th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Environment and Ecology

Lesson Overview: The students will simulate an environment containing resources, rabbits, and foxes to show how density-dependent factors affect population sizes.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of the interdependence of organisms.

Content Objectives:

  • Understand how density-dependent factors like predation and competition for resources affect population size.

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Density

7th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Earth Science

Lesson Overview: Students should be learning about the 5 major layers that make up the earth; from the surface we walk on to the center (crust, upper mantle, outer core, and inner core). The purpose of this lesson is to introduce what density is and how objects with different densities settle: this will be accomplished by several small activities concluding with constructing a density column. By the end of the class, students can see the relationship between density and why the earth is layered the way it is.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of the structure and processes of the earth system and the processes that change the earth and its surface.

Content Objectives:

  • Explain how objects/solutions with different densities settle in realtion to each other.
  • Explain how density relates to the layers of the earth.

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Why Does It Rain?

7th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Earth Science

Lesson Overview: Students should be learning about the hydrological cycle and how water is recycled through Earth and its stmosphere. The purpose if this lesson is to introduce them to the key aspects and functions of the hydrological cycle and give them hands on experience in making a closed system that represents Earth and the hydroloigcal system.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of the structure and processes of the earth system and the processes that change the earth and its surface.

Content Objectives:

  • Understand the processes of the hydrological cycle and Earth as a closed system.

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Ocean Acidification

7th-8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Chemistry and Environment

Lesson Overview: This lesson is designed to teach students about pH and how is plays a such a vital role in our everyday lives by its effect on the oceans.

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Pigments in Leaves

7th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Plants and Environment

Lesson Overview:Plants are essential to our life; they provide food, clean air, shade and more. Plants come in many different shapes and sizes, but most plants have green leaves during summer and spring. It's not until fall tha twe see an array of reds, oranges, and yellows. The purpose of this lesson is to demonstrate that there are several different color (pigments) found in green leaves that may not be easily seen. In this activity the students will seperate different pigments from a green leaf.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of the complementary nature of structure and function and the commonalities among organisms.

Content Objectives:

  • Explain why leaves are usually green.
  • Recognize that there is more than just green color in a leaf.
  • Explain with in the fall leaves change colors.
  • Explore how to seperate a mixture into individual components.

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