Sunday, September 18, 2016

Community and the Local Ecosystem

Students in House 2 have begun working on their "Community and the Local Ecosystem" projects. In this unit students identify how they interact with their ecosystem and how their connections with the ecosystem are part of a larger interconnected local community. Students began the topic by investigating the interconnectedness of organisms in the local environment. They collected samples of goldenrod from behind the school that had goldenrod gall:

Students made observations of the goldenrod gall before opening the gall and discovering the pupa of the gall fly inside! Students used their ipads the answer their own questions about the gall fly's life cycle and connection to the goldenrod.

Later in the unit students learned about invasive species in Lake Champlain. They looked at how the sea lamprey and the spiny waterflea affect various fish species in the lake and how humans have tried to intervene to mitigate the effects of nuisance species. After exploring these topics in ecosystem communities, students moved on to choose a project that explored their own place in the local ecosystem. Students are currently working to create projects that include a qualitative and quantitative investigation of a topic that is personally meaningful to them. Some examples of topics so far include: "Why do we hunt?" "What are the best local fishing spots?" "What invasive species have made it to our local ponds and lakes?" "How is yarn made?" "How has Jasper Hill Farm changed over the years?" "What regulations are there for egg farmers?" and "How is my forested land altered for human recreation?"