Biodiversity Differences using “Squat Spots”
Thought this would take two entire periods but no, they got right to it, focused and mostly on task and did both easily in one class. Birds tweeting overhead, bugs running around, the gentle trickle of marshy creeks just audible on this shiny blue morning.
Kids squatting down with their clipboards asking each other if it’s a Jepson’s pea or a Sierra Nevada Pea plant. How great is that? I was worried about cavorting off into the hills but they were BUSY. I think they liked the feeling of doing something so professional-feeling. This really is similar to what field biologists do for Environmental Impact Reports for example. Although maybe they use a line transept instead of a modified point transept (basically what we are doing with the squat.)
Had a student ask “I only found two kinds of bug. Is that okay?” It’s a common fear – that there is a ‘right’ answer, that low numbers are less good than big ones. So important to reassure that it is what it is, that the true numbers may point to something really interesting going on.
Later in the day, I let them do the squat spots with a partner of their choice. NOT so good – more chatted instead of finishing.
Ecosystem Biodiversity Photo Posters came in today. Better than last year, think the photography training made a difference, and the clear rubric. Some kids confused that we wanted however many species they saw, not 5 like in the example. Monkey see, monkey do was Karen’s comment on that 🙂 Feel like we’re pushing the stone up the hill, trying and trying to engage kids and get them to think for themselves. Like trying to open minds that have been already somewhat closed by 12 years old.
Class Management Technique to quiet ’em down…
From Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion” I think, and from Karen who said it transformed her 7th period class. When a student interrupts, I turn to face them and just look at them until other kids nudge them or they feel the awkwardness. It was honestly amazing. 7th period pin drop quiet. No one humiliated or getting to be the class clown. Felt fairly respectful too. Using social pressure – where the alpha looks, everyone looks is how Karen explained it. Cool.
Entry filed under: Biodiversity and Ecology. Tags: biodiversity, class management, co-operative learning, ecology, environmental science, field work, group work, inquiry, middle school science, OIS, photography.