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Epic Bioscience

Four upcoming investigations, developed through a National Science Foundation DRK-12 grant, use museum collections to examine multiple phenomena that impact ecosystems and the organisms that live in them. Each investigation takes students through the same research questions and processes used by our own museum scientists and allow students to gather and reason with data they collect through the study of these collections. In each investigation, students will be guided by museum scientists and use digital interactives to engage in their research.

Target Audience: 6th-8th Grades

Standards Alignment:
Utah SEED standard 6.4 and NGSS MS-LS2, as well as, DOK levels 1-4 and ELA Common Core Standards.
Download Full Curriculum Alignment


EPIC Bioscience Investigations:

To Eat or Not To Eat? (beta version)

Total Estimated Time: 2-3 class periods, 130 minutes

This upcoming, standards-aligned investigations is designed to engage your students in a unique phenomena that drives some ecosystem relationships and interactions - Mimicry. Students will explore the phenomenon first by using a game-based interactive to consider the kinds of physical cues predators use to make decisions on what to eat. Along the way, students are guided by input from a NHMU entomologist and science-based comics. Then, students will use museum collections to compare select specimens as they look for evidence that may reveal the physical cues that do drive prey choice. Working through real research and using the same science processes our own scientists use will help students understand how knowledge is generated and provide a foundation for transferring these ideas to other organisms and different ecosystems.

If you would like to help test the beta version of this investigation please contact mlarson@nhmu.utah.edu

PART 1: Be the Predator!
How will you find food? Is that prey delicious or disastrous?
(20-30 minutes)
PART 2: How to Fool a Predator
Analyze which physical features influence predator behaviors.
(45-60 minutes)
PART 3: Predicting the Future!
Will rapid changes affect predator-prey interactions?
(20-30 minutes)



Total Estimated Time: 2-3 class periods, 170 minutes

This upcoming, standards-aligned investigations is designed to engage your students in evaluating the impacts of change in an ecosystem on resource availability critical to animals’ diets. To do this, students will examine how adaptable the diet of bats – critical to healthy ecosystems all over the world - are in responding to changes in their food sources – insects! Students will explore the phenomenon first by virtually dissecting bat stomach contents to learn what different species of bats eat. Then, led by a research scientists who studies bats, they will use museum collections to gather data designed to help them compare and analyze the diets of several bat species. Their research will help them figure out which bat populations are likely to survive, thrive or decline as a result of changes in insect populations.

Do all bats compete for the same food resources?
(30-45 minutes)
How do bats’ physical features influence what they can eat?
(30-45 minutes)
Will bat populations thrive or decline as food resources change?
(30-45 minutes)


Why Register?

It’s free!

Full access to all investigations and their activities.

Instructional Guides, Research Assistant Notebooks, and more for each investigation.

Assessment rubrics for student learning