159 – Beavers and Catch Up Lecture

Today in honors biology we discussed the keystone species. Primarily, we focused on the beaver. In Scotland, after being extinct for 400 years they decided to introduce a small population. The organization responsible published some educational materials in advance to help kids get on board. One of those activities is a nice card matching game. Cards of organisms are paired up with the written statement about how the beaver interacts with the ecosystem. I really like this activity for a number of reasons: it only lasts 10 minutes, the informational cards allow for discussion of keystone species and niche, and kids really like it. Niche is often a hard concept for kids to master. By having the informational cards, kid can develop an idea of what the biotic “role” of the organism is. It would be a nice activity for next year, having kids choose an organism and develop their own cards. 

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In AP biology, I am going to catch up a bit on content with a 20/10/20 pattern of lecture, formative check, lecture. My goal this year was to lecture less, but there will be times when I have to do it for complicated topics or when I get behind. In those cases, my goal is to limit any lecture chunk to 20 minutes without some sort of active, processing break. 

The break I will use to day comes from a series of probes I developed using Far Side cartoons. I selected specific biology related Far Side cartoons (with Gary Larson’s blessing) and used them as a way to analyze specific performance indicators or learning objectives. 

This is an easy 10 minute break kids can work on after a topic has been introduced. 

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