Potential Biology Lesson

July 7, 2010 at 4:09 am Leave a comment

I beginning teaching Biology 11, as my own course, for the first time this fall and hopefully again the following semester.  Usually, in Biology 11, a plant collection of sorts is completed, usually to various levels of success (some students take it very seriously, others literally print the image of the plant from the Internet the night before, past it in their book and submit it).  Talking with some teachers, an alternative to conducting a plant collection project seems to be a tree identification assignment.

My proposed project involves modifying the project slightly, with the use of geotagging and Google Earth.  Here is the proposed (very basic) outline for the project.  Before I continue, I know I am doing this backwards, the project should be based off of the the objectives determined beforehand, so needless to say this is more to get the idea down than to say that this is the definitive final version.  I will outline my objectives for the term, and then if this assignment seems a good fit I will tweak it to fit the objectives and goals.

The plan:

Students will find various plant and tree samples around the Boundary region, and either submit a physical specimen (in the tradition of a plant collection) or a high-resolution digital image of the plant and identifying features.  Students will be required to blog about their collections and explain the identification process (using a dichotomous key).  The student will also be required to note the geographical region the organism was found and then post that location on Google Earth (as close to location as possible)

Using Google Earth, a class project will be to identify the range of common plants collected or noted by the students – segueing nicely into a potential unit on ecology and competition?

Obsticles:

  • Student access to digital technology may be limited, such as a high resolution digital camera, GPS unit for position location, or a camera/cell-phone enabled with GPS geotagging capabilities – may have to teach students how to geotag the old fashioned way (using a map and compass).  Maybe there is a potential to work with the Geography 12 class to solve this problem?  Some cross curricular studies…
  • Not all students will be familiar with using Google Earth (this will have to be taught), nor with the concept of blogging / maintaining a forum – these are lessons that will have to be taught early in the course as I plan on making use of these techniques throughout the program.  I don’t want students struggling to identify plants whilst at the same time struggling to use the technologies that are to “aide” them in their assignments

More to come…

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