Week 11

Monday, November 11, 2019: No School (Veteran’s Day)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019: Unit 1 Final Project Presentations (4 of 6 groups)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019: Unit 1 Final Project Presentations (last 2 groups)

After completing the final presentations for the unit, we reviewed the major economic benefits shared by each group with respect to farming photosynthetic aquatic organisms.  We concluded with the key idea that plants use the process of photosynthesis to remove carbon dioxide from the environment in order to create glucose which they then use as both an energy store and also to build biomass.  We call this process “fixing” carbon – taking carbon dioxide from the air to build biomolecules – helps drive home the point that carbon dioxide gas (difficult to observe under everyday conditions) can be removed from the environment and utilized by photosynthetic organisms to make glucose (an energy-rich molecule) which can then be used by all organisms as a source of food and raw materials to build other biomolecules (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids).


For the final few minutes of class, students watched the TedTalk video below where scientist / artist / designer Suzanne Lee shares her efforts to create clothing from fabric derived from bacteria  found in kombucha tea.  The bacteria consume glucose (produced from plants during photosynthesis) and produce cellulose fibers that may one day be engineered to have properties that make these clothes a must-have for wardrobes of the future:

Unit 2: Ecosystems

Thursday, November 14, 2019: Our ecosystem unit begins with a virtual road trip to Yellowstone National Park.  To help introduce students to Yellowstone, we watched the video below:



Working with a partner, create a Google Doc and include your responses to the following tasks:

  1. Plan your route: Map how you will travel from Burien to Yellowstone and back.
  2. Research the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park. (Check out the Old Faithful Live-Stream)
    • List the top five non-living natural wonders you want to see while at the park.
    • List all the living things you hope to see while visiting the park.

Friday, November 15, 2019 (LS2-6):

Agenda for the day:

  1. Define biotic and abiotic factors.
  2. Watch Yellowstone video below and write down all biotic and abiotic factors observed.  Update Google Doc with any new factors.
  3. Read article by Emily Gertz (see below).
  4. Write a summary comparing the video and the article in your Google Doc (title = Effect of wolves on Yellowstone).  Does the evidence support or not support the claim that reintroduction of wolves has changed Yellowstone?  Use evidence from both sources to support your position.

Now that we have a plan to virtually travel to Yellowstone, we set our sights on the ecosystem of the park.  For today’s lesson, students will learn about how the reintroduction of wolves nearly 75 years after their extinction appears to have led to profound changes to both the biotic (living) and abiotic (not living) factors in the ecosystem of the park.

The video (below) features images about the wolves and other organisms in Yellowstone, with George Monbiot narrating.  The narration is actually a segment from a longer TED talk by Mr. Monbiot.

During the video, make a list in your Google Doc (from yesterday) of the biotic and abiotic factors you see in Yellowstone.  After watching the video, write down the claim being made by the narrator in the Google Doc, and then make of list of evidence used to support the claim.  Next, students will read an article titled Has The Reintroduction Of Wolves Really Saved Yellowstone? published on March 14, 2014 by Emily Gertz in Popular Science.  After reading the article, students will write a summary of what they learned and write down evidence presented in the article that refutes the claim that wolves have altered Yellowstone.


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