Target Audience: 6th-8th Grades
Students will define the problem by identifying dead pine trees in aerial images of the Uinta Mountains. They'll determine whether the amount of dead trees currently found is significantly different than the historic average and identify the resources a tree needs to survive along with clues that can tell them which resources the trees may not be getting. Students will analyze tree samples and images to gather evidence that can help explain what's happening to these trees. Finally, they will use historical temperature and precipitation data to develop an explanation for why this montane environment is changing.
Students will query collections for organisms from montane forests in the Uinta Mountains. They’ll classify organisms (predator, competitor, mutualist) based on their relationship to the lodgepole pine using field notes and previous knowledge, then create a model to communicate and reason about the impacts of change on these interactions.
Students will use a food web model to gather data and classify which roles (producer, consumer, and decomposer) each organism plays in this mountain ecosystem. In doing so, students will reason how energy and matter are impacted by the change taking place in this environment. Students will develop and use models to explain their thinking.
Students will build an energy pyramid model to visualize populations of producers, consumers, and decomposers in this mountain ecosystem and how biotic and abiotic changes may impact those populations.
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