The Traveling Biome
by Marie Doucet
The following activity describes a Biome Exchange which was originally set up for
the 1994/95 school year. Included are:
- The letter of introduction which both described the activity and set up the communication
- Project instructions
- Evaluation rubric
I. LETTER OF INTRODUCTION
August 10, 1994
Lake Charles-Boston High School
1509 Enterprise Blvd.
Lake Charles, LA 70601
In preparation for next year, Calcasieu Parish Environmental Science teachers and
classes in southwest LA are interested in setting up a BIOME exchange with teachers
throughout the nation.
Although some of us experimented with a similar project in previous years, there are
always questions and new ideas.
After assessing the previous experience, there are several considerations that should
be made by the teacher when participating in this project.
We have utilized the Rubric check list instead of conventional directions. Scoring
is left up to the individual teacher.
- Select, collect, and prepare materials for shipping early. (This part can become
intimidating as it seems to be monumental as the deadline approaches).
- Remind students about environmental impact on your local area. Caution students
about the effects of haphazard collecting.
- Send the boxes on time.
In addition to the "REAL WORLD" experience, the interaction of the students from one
state to the next was especially exciting and definitely rewarding for them and the
The activity is a model that can be adapted to your area. It is deigned to be used
by a cooperative group as a culminating activity after studying BIOMES in an Environmental
Science class. However, you may find it more convenient or easier to approach it in your own way and use it in any Life Science or Biology class as an alternative.
Plans are underway for the incorporation of journal-type questions for student collaboration
using telecommunications. We will let you know more about this aspect of the project
as soon as possible. A copy of the activity follows.
If you are interested please send a response by Sept. 15, 1994 so that your class
can be coordinated with one of the classes on our list.
II. THE TRAVELING BIOME
In this cooperative activity, students will collect authentic items from their area
representing that biome to exchange with classrooms around the U.S.
ditto paper box, collection jars, ziploc bags, cardboard for mounting, index cards,
art supplies, packing materials, etc.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of the components of the biome and
- Students will recognize and represent various local ecosystems within the biome.
- Students will collect local climatic data of the area.
- Students will explore the influence of the biome on the traditions, activities,
and habits of local cultures.
III. EVALUATION: THE TRAVELING BIOME
- Divide students into groups of 3-4 and assign them the following roles:
will prepare and label the specimens and materials gathered for display,
will research and provide background information about collected materials on
index cards, and
will collect and organize climate data into charts, graphs, etc.
- The students will gather, identify, and prepare each item they wish to include
in their collection which they want to share with students in other biomes around
- The best parts of each group's collection will be compiled into the Traveling
Biome Box which will be exchanged with Biome Boxes from other schools.
STUDENT/ TEACHER /AUDIENCE
Native Plant Specimens
Native Animal Specimens
- 2 wildflowers
- 2 trees (any 3 for each)
- One EVIDENCE of vertebrates
(skulls, tracks, skins, feathers, etc.)
NO LIVE OR DEAD SPECIMENS!
- Two invertebrates (dried/preserved)
2 specimens total
1. Climate conditions for 1 week
recorded in charts, graphs, tables, etc.
(1 of the following must be raw data
collected by using weather instruments)
INFLUENCE OF BIOME/ECOSYSTEMS ON CULTURE
c. wind direction
d. barometric pressure
1. Local Food Samples
2. One Recipe including a food from #1
- One Native food
- One Agricultural product
3. One local celebration - photos/articles, etc.
4. Essay describing one local tradition
5. One Place of Interest in your area -
postcards, travel brochure, discussion
of importance to community, etc.
6. Information about 1 local business or major industry in the area
SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY SCRAPBOOK
1. Maps (any 2)
- topographical map of area
3. school/city logos
- business or industry
4. air quality index of community
5. local history and geography of area
OPTIONAL: Extra Points for any one item above which
you feel is a unique representation of your biome.
Description of Item: