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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:
  1. The letter of introduction which both described the activity and set up the communication network.
  2. Project instructions
  3. Evaluation rubric

I. LETTER OF INTRODUCTION (1994):

August 10, 1994

Marie Doucet
Lake Charles-Boston High School
1509 Enterprise Blvd.
Lake Charles, LA 70601
318-433-0475 (school)

Hello!

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.
  1. Select, collect, and prepare materials for shipping early. (This part can become intimidating as it seems to be monumental as the deadline approaches).
  2. Remind students about environmental impact on your local area. Caution students about the effects of haphazard collecting.
  3. Send the boxes on time.
We have utilized the Rubric check list instead of conventional directions. Scoring is left up to the individual teacher.

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 teacher.

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

Purpose: In this cooperative activity, students will collect authentic items from their area representing that biome to exchange with classrooms around the U.S.

Objectives:

  1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the components of the biome and its variability.
  2. Students will recognize and represent various local ecosystems within the biome.
  3. Students will collect local climatic data of the area.
  4. Students will explore the influence of the biome on the traditions, activities, and habits of local cultures.
Materials: ditto paper box, collection jars, ziploc bags, cardboard for mounting, index cards, art supplies, packing materials, etc.

Procedure:
  1. Divide students into groups of 3-4 and assign them the following roles:

    the curator will prepare and label the specimens and materials gathered for display,

    the recorder(s) will research and provide background information about collected materials on index cards, and

    the researcher will collect and organize climate data into charts, graphs, etc.

  2. 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 country.

  3. 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.
III. EVALUATION: THE TRAVELING BIOME

STUDENT/ TEACHER /AUDIENCE

BIOTIC FACTORS

Native Plant Specimens
  1. 2 wildflowers

  2. 2 trees (any 3 for each)
    1. bark
    2. leaves
    3. flowers
    4. fruit/seeds
Native Animal Specimens
  1. One EVIDENCE of vertebrates
    (skulls, tracks, skins, feathers, etc.)
    NO LIVE OR DEAD SPECIMENS!

  2. Two invertebrates (dried/preserved)
Native Monera/Protista/Fungi
    2 specimens total
ABIOTIC FACTORS

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)

    a. temperature
    b. precipitation
    c. wind direction
    d. barometric pressure
    e. humidity
INFLUENCE OF BIOME/ECOSYSTEMS ON CULTURE

1. Local Food Samples

  1. One Native food
  2. One Agricultural product
2. One Recipe including a food from #1

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)

  1. school
  2. city
  3. parish/county
  4. state
  5. topographical map of area
2. Photographs
  1. students
  2. school
  3. city
  4. business or industry
3. school/city logos

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.

___Yes
___No

Description of Item:


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