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.
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.