577 Ecology/Environment

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

ECOLOGY – the science that deals with the relations between all living things and the conditions that surround them.

ECOSYSTEM – the science of all the animals, plants and bacteria that make up a particular community living in a certain environment.

BIOMES –  areas with very different geology and plant and animal life.

Backyard Nature  – Here’s how you can teach yourself to be a pretty good backyard naturalist.

Biodiversity: Everything Counts – Learn about the rich diversity of life on earth with these hands-on and online activities from the American Museum of Natural History.

Biomes of the World – What’s It Like Where You Live? Visit the earth’s rainforests, tundra, taiga, deserts, temperate and grasslands biomes. Also freshwater ecosystems (rivers & streams, ponds & lakes, wetlands) and marine ecosystems (shorelines, temperate oceans, tropical oceans).

Citizen Science (freshwater science, ecology) – Funded by the National Science Foundation, Citizen Science is an adventure puzzle game that teaches scientific literacy. In this game, players are taken back through time to help stop the pollution of a local lake. They are challenged to not only learn about the overlapping and many causes of freshwater lake pollution, but also the social factors and different constituents that play a role in the cause of certain pollutants. Players conduct research and gather evidence by exploring the environment, asking questions, and gathering data with various scientific tools. The game can be played online for free at http://www.filamentgames.com/projects/citizen-science.

Ecosystems: Invasive Species – Site describes invasive species and their impact on native species, valued ecosystems, and human and wildlife health. Download a copy of the Microbes to Mammals brochure that describes the USGS Invasive Species Program (PDF). Download a copy of the Invasive Species Program Fact Sheet (PDF).

Encyclopedia of Life – The EOL brings together information about all life on earth – text, images, video, sounds, maps, classifications and more – all freely available online. But EOL is much more than 1.9 million taxon pages. Explore EOL to find information for a paper, poster or class project, make a collection of species of interest to you, listen to a podcast, watch a video, make a field guide, join a conversation or share your expertise.

Endangered Species Program—U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – This site provides information on threatened and endangered species in the United States, including methods of preservation and protection.

Habitats – Simplified explanations from the World Wildlife Fund. Some habitats, such as tropical forest and coral reefs, support extremely rich assemblages of species, while others, such as tundras and deserts, are more austere. But all are unique expressions of life.

Habitats: Home Sweet Home – Beginning just beyond the window, and extending past the boundaries of your town or city across the Earth’s surface, an amazing variety of habitats awaits – along with the plants and animals that live in them. National Geographic’s Geography Action! invites you to explore the habitats you live in or ones nearby. Find lesson plans for your classroom on all the habitats: cities and suburbs; deserts and tundra; forests; fresh water; oceans and coasts; and prairies.

Institute for Global Environmental Strategies – Click on “Education,” then “Educator & Student Resources” to access educational resources for the classroom, covering topics that investigate global climate and the environment, which are geared toward students of varying grade levels.

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration and Seasonal Change – An Internet-based science education program that engages students to track migration and signs of spring. Each year, thousands of students and their teachers across North America come together to experience the annual cycle through observation, inquiry, research, and the sharing of data. Access to the Journey North website is free; once registered, you can share your own observations of the changing seasons.

TeachEarth.com – Resources for teaching and learning about earth system science – how our air, land, water and life are an interconnected system. Find quick links to web-based resources and activities, organized by subject and grade.

Virtual Courseware for Earth and Environmental Sciences – Interactive simulations and tutorials on global warming, seismology, and biology. The activities are designed to enhance an existing curriculum and include online assessments. They can be used by students ranging from middle school, high school, or college classrooms.

Waterford Press – Have you been looking for games and activities that make natural science lessons fun? You’ve come to the right place. One of Waterford’s guiding principles is to encourage young peoples’ interest in the world around them. We are pleased to present a variety of free materials and activities to promote environmental education and conservation. Simply join the Waterford Activity Zone by registering below and you’ll be able to download hundreds of free games and activities suitable for all ages. Register for the Waterford Activity Zone HERE.

WolfQuest (wildlife biology) – An immersive wildlife simulation game, WolfQuest challenges players to learn about wolf ecology by living the life of a wild wolf. Based on real topographic maps of Yellowstone Park and realistic 3D graphics, players join a wolf pack made up of friends in the multiplayer version or seek to perfect their hunting skills and build their own pack in the single player version. Players must balance individual and pack needs to increase their collective ability to hunt, defend territory, avoid danger, and protect their young. The WolfQuest website includes a page of classroom activities as well as an active community of wolf enthusiasts who post tips and strategies, chat with wolf experts, share personal wolf artwork and stories, and test their wolf knowledge. The game is free to download at http://www.wolfquest.org.

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