Polar Chains and Webs
Sandra Kolb, (TEAntarctica 1996-97 and 1998-99; TEArctic Healy 2000), Poulsbo, Washington email@example.com Rick Griffith, (TEA Associate), Central Kitsap School District, Silverdale, Washington firstname.lastname@example.org
Through developing skills in teamwork and planning, this activity will allow students to understand the similarities and differences of the Arctic and Antarctic, their animal life and the food chains and webs supporting them.
· Locate the Arctic and Antarctica on globes and maps
· Identify similarities and differences in Arctic and Antarctic animal life
· Show and explain the food chain of a specific species and the food web of that species while discussing their interrelationships.
· Science as inquiry
· Life Science
· Pre-teach the locations of the Arctic and Antarctica using globes and maps
· Introduce the concept of food chains and webs using locally relevant examples. For example, in the schoolyard bacteria in the ground feed fungi. Slugs, mice and rodents feed from the fungi leading to birds and small animals feeding from them. Dogs and cats may dine on birds and smaller animals.
· Plan fieldtrip logistics for visiting a local body of water (optional, but recommended) for the study and observation of food chains and webs
· Poster paper and markers
· Model supplies (individually determined by each team)
1 day Pre-teach a locally relevant food chain and explain a food web
1 day Fieldtrip (optional, but recommended)
1-2 days Pre-teach the Arctic and Antarctic
1 day Design a rubric with evaluation criteria
2 days Student investigations
3-5 days Student in-class time for their team’s project (or assign some out of class time)
1 day Presentations to the class with rubric evaluation
Engagement and Exploration (Student Inquiry Activity
· Take students outside to introduce the concept of schoolyard food chains and webs.
· Scheduled guest speaker (preferably a TEA teacher) who has been in the field at one or both poles. This connects a real face to experiences and investigations. If a TEA teacher is unavailable, select good video documentaries to view.
· Lead students to begin to focus on the similarities and differences of the Arctic and Antarctica. Guide students in addressing locations and climate conditions in a compare/contrast format.
· Have students investigate the Arctic and Antarctica on the Internet and in the library.
· Have students establish Internet connections with real people (teachers and scientists) live in the field at the poles or who have been there. Focus on obtaining information about the food chains/webs of penguins and polar bears.
· Recommended, but optional: Students go on a fieldtrip to a local body of water to observe and discuss relevant food chains and webs.
Teacher guided discussion questions:
· What animal life is found in the Arctic? In Antarctica?
· Why are polar bears in one place and penguins in the other? What does it take for their survival? How does the geographic location address their survival?
· What are the animals that survive both in water and on land?
· What is the food chain/food web and how does it work?
· What are producers and consumers? How does it affect polar bears and penguins?
· Suppose a main species of the food chain is decreased or absent one year possibly due to an environmental condition such as a draught or other unusual extreme weather condition. How would this impact the food chain or web? How might this affect polar bears or penguins?
· How might global warming affect the formation of sea ice? What if there is a year with decreased production of sea ice? What part of the polar food chain is dependent upon the formation of sea ice? How might this influence the survival of various species of the polar food chain during subsequent years?
Elaboration (Polar Applications)
· Make a “Differences-Similarities” list of the animal life of the Arctic and Antarctic.
· Choose to make a model of a food chain for either polar bears or penguins.
· On poster paper, design a food web for the animal selected above.
Once the above student activity assignment is introduced, hold a classroom discussion on possible evaluation criteria of this project. Brainstorm and list on a transparency or other visual aid. Come to a consensus on 3-5 criteria.
· Thoroughness of preparation
Next develop a simple rubric (i.e. check sheet format of excellent, good, fair, poor) for the evaluation of these criteria. The process of brainstorming, consensus and rubric design will take about one 50-minute class period.
Exchange (Students Draw Conclusions)
Evaluation (Assessing Student Performance)
· Teacher and student groups evaluate each presentation using the class rubric. Optional teacher choice to include student evaluation in the grading