It’s a fungi-eat-wolf-eat-elk-eat-grass world out there!

Today, students acted as ecologists – scientists who study the relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment – as they learned about the energy pyramid and food webs. Students learned that all our energy on Earth comes from the Sun and about how this energy travels through different trophic levels of organism: producers (plants), lower-level consumers (herbivores), higher-level consumers (carnivores) and decomposers.

Working as a team, they then constructed a food web of the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem. While constructing their food webs, students were confronted with ecosystem disruptions. They were forced to adjust their food webs to the addition of a new species or the loss of a native species. Students learned that food webs are very complex, with many intertwined organism relationships and that adding or removing a single species can have far reaching consequences!

 

La Cadena Alimenticia y la Pirámide de Energía

Hoy los estudiantes se convirtieron en ecólogos, que son los científicos que estudian las relaciones de los organismos entre sí y con su entorno; y aprendieron sobre la pirámide de energía y la cadena alimenticia. Los alumnos aprendieron que toda la energía de la Tierra proviene del Sol y que esta energía viaja a través de los organismos en diferentes niveles tróficos: productores (plantas), consumidores primarios (herbívoros), consumidores secundarios (carnívoros) y descomponedores.

Trabajando en equipos, construyeron la cadena alimenticia del ecosistema del Parque Nacional Yellowstone. Mientras trabajan en su cadena alimenticia, los estudiantes se enfrentaron a perturbaciones en el ecosistema. Por ejemplo, se vieron obligados a realizar ajustes debido a la incorporación de una especie nueva o por la pérdida de una especie nativa. Los alumnos aprendieron que la cadena alimenticia es muy compleja, con muchas intrincadas relaciones entre los organismos y que incorporar o eliminar una especie puede tener consecuencias de gran alcance.

 

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Author

Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

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