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Classroom Activities

  • Estimating Populations Using Mark-Recapture Mark-recapture is one of the most common methods used by ecologists to determine population size. Engage your students with this exciting activity to get hands-on experience with the Mark-recapture method. View »
  • Modeling the Coriolis Effect The Coriolis effect can be a tough concept to explain, but it's fairly easy to model. Try this simple and inexpensive balloon activity. View »
  • Plant Biodiversity Field Activity This field activity introduces students to biodiversity through the study of plants and animals in a designated area. But here’s the twist—instead of using a quadrat to designate the area of study, students use a Hula Hoop® instead. View »
  • Science Notebook: An Owl Pellet Inquiry This introductory owl pellet dissection is a springboard for teaching the techniques of using a science notebook while having students engage in the scientific practices. View »
  • Teaching with Ecosystem Aquariums By creating and maintaining an aquarium ecosystem in the classroom, students can understand the web of relationships that link organisms to one another, and they can develop a growing sensitivity to living things and what they need to survive. View »
  • Air Pollution: Tropospheric Ozone, Particulates, and Indoor Carbon Dioxide "Bad" ozone, dangerous particulates, and significant CO2 buildup—in and around your school! Access a series of field tests students can use to measure your school’s tropospheric ozone levels and the number of deposited particulates in different locations, and to study how carbon dioxide concentrations indoors vary throughout the school day. View »
  • Imploding Soda Cans: An Inquiry Approach Your students have probably seen someone crush an empty beverage can with their bare hands, or have even crushed one themselves. But have they ever seen an open can seemingly crush itself, like magic, without the presence of a visible, physical force? View »
  • Copying Nature’s Success: Teaching Students About Biomimetics Ready to create a model home that draws on biomimetics? In this activity, students research, design, and build structures that incorporate ideas inspired by the natural world. View »
  • Two Quick, Easy Ways to Collect Insects for Diversity Studies Get your students outside and engaged with the world around them. In this activity, we’ll look at 2 techniques that make collecting insects in the field quick and easy. Use one or both to collect insects from microenvironments around your school and then examine diversity using Shannon’s or Simpson’s diversity index. View »
  • End the Year with an Outdoor Classroom Everything’s better in the great outdoors. Celebrate the warmer weather and engage your students during the final stretch of the school year with these fun activities. View »
  • Making a Scientific Claim: Ocean Acidification Students can use this graphic organizer to write an argument for decreasing atmospheric CO2. View »
  • Urban Stream Syndrome Urban streams often suffer from urban stream syndrome, which is characterized by changes in nutrient levels, hydrology, biodiversity, and other factors. In this activity, students learn how to identify streams that suffer from urban stream syndrome based on visual evidence. View »
  • Invertebrate Biodiversity and Abiotic Factors Understanding the relationships between biotic diversity and abiotic factors in an ecosystem can be a difficult task. Using soil invertebrates, students can identify both the number of species present in a soil sample and the number of individuals within a species. View »
  • Pill Bug Behavior Choices This introductory investigation into animal behavior uses pill bugs and choice chambers. Students begin with an experiment to test how pill bugs respond to humidity and can go on to design an inquiry to test another environmental factor. View »
  • The Ups and Downs of Weather Use this demonstration to show how temperature, pressure, and the Coriolis effect drive weather. View »
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