Introduction to Systems, Questions, and Field Investigations


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Slideshow for the Conservatoin Education Tutorial on STEM, Project Based Learning and Field Investigations.

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Introduction to Systems, Questions, and Field Investigations

  1. 1. Introduction to Systems, Questions and Field Investigations AFWA Connecting Students, STEM andStandards through Field Investigations, PBLM and Systems Thinking Series
  2. 2. Pages referred to on the following slides can be found in the Field Investigations: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning of Scientific Processes Guide. Field-Investigations-Guide.pdf Please have this guide on hand eitherdigitally or in print as you go through this presentation.
  3. 3. What is a System?Write down your definition of system on a scratch piece of paper.
  4. 4. Systems Definitions• An assemblage of inter-related parts or conditions through which matter, energy and information flow. (WA EALR’s)• An organized group of related objects or components that form a whole. (NRC)• A collection of things and processes that interact to perform some function. The scientific idea of a system implies detailed attention to inputs and outputs and interactions among system components. (AAAS) (Field Investigation Guide, pg 1 and pg 77)
  5. 5. Systems Definition• What other systems exist? – Economies – Society – Human Environmental Impacts – An weather event
  6. 6. Engaging your Students in Understanding SystemsFor instance ask your students to draw and label a local system and answer... “What questions do I have about this system?”
  7. 7. Benefits from Engaging your Students in Understanding Systems• Not just describing a horned toad, but looking at where they live, what they eat, what eat’s them, how a farmer impacts them, and how a farmer is impacted by them paints a clearer picture.• What other questions can you think to add to the list above?
  8. 8. Parts of a Local Forest SystemAirMoss Tree stump Deciduous Tree Ferns Coniferous Tree Bare Soil
  9. 9. Parts of an Urban Ecosystem Tree (deciduous) Tree (conifer)Building AirCar Bush Sidewalk Decaying Bare Ground leaves
  10. 10. Parts of a Local Schoolyard SystemConiferousTree DeciduousGrass Shrubs Weeds Wood chip path Gravel path Bare Soil
  11. 11. Systems Questions• We want to ask students systems questions: – Function of parts – Energy forms and transfers – Roles of parts in ecosystem – Interconnections in ecosystem – Lifecycles – Adaptations – Inputs and outputs Systems – Subsystems Questions
  12. 12. Why is Systems Understanding Important?• Content background (systems understanding) is crucial to asking good questions.• Good questions are integral for a successful field investigation.
  13. 13. From Systems to Field InvestigationsNow let’s take the time to look at what the Field Investigation process entails.
  14. 14. Field Investigation Process (pg. 3-4)• Good Questions Three types of Investigative Questions• Hypothesis/Prediction• Materials• Procedures• Collect, Organize and Analyze Data• Conclusion• Discussion
  15. 15. Types of Questions• Essential Questions• Investigative Questions• Why? Questions• Book – Researchable Questions
  16. 16. Types of Questions• Essential Questions Our Focus• Investigative Questions• Why? Questions• Book – Researchable Questions
  17. 17. Essential Questions• Big picture questions• Cannot be answered with one investigation• Connect various investigations
  18. 18. Essential Questions“How healthy is my stream?”
  19. 19. Investigative Questions• Descriptive• Comparative• Correlative Read the definitions on page 11 in the Field Investigations guide.
  20. 20. Descriptive Questions (pg. 11)1. How many ___ are there in a given area?2. How frequently does ___ happen in a given period?3. What is the (temp., speed, height, mass density, force, pH, etc.) of ___?4. When does ___ happen during the year? (flowering, fruit, babies born, etc)5. Where does ___ occur over time? (What is an animal’s range?)
  21. 21. Descriptive Question When Lewis and Clark were on their expedition they were conducting a descriptive investigation.Their question: “What flora and fauna live in this area?”
  22. 22. Field Investigation ProcessOnce we have completed a descriptiveinvestigation of our schoolyard ornatural area identifying the animals,plants, and even the decomposersthat live there, we are then preparedto conduct a comparativeinvestigation.
  23. 23. Comparative Questions (pg. 11)1. Is there a difference in ____ between group (or condition) A and group B?2. Is there a difference in ___ between or among different locations?3. Is there a difference in ___ at different times (seasons)?
  24. 24. Comparative Question Darwin’s finches are an example of a comparative study.“What are the differences in beaks among finches on the Galapagos islands?” http://www.biology-
  25. 25. Correlative Questions (pg. 11)1. What is the relationship between variable #1 and variable #2?2. Does ___ go up when ___ goes down?3. How does ___ change as ___ changes?
  26. 26. Correlative Examples1. What is the relationship between variable #1 and variable #2? – Such as between algae populations and the birthrate of small mouth bass2. Does ___ go up when ___ goes down? – Such as temperature, pH, water levels, salinity WHEN salmon #’s, # of anglers, # species of trees3. How does ___ change as ___ changes? – Such as barometric pressure, viscosity, shadow length AS precipitation, temperature, time
  27. 27. Correlative Question Examples1. Do animal tracks increase with greater forest canopy cover?2. Does the salmon population go down when dissolved oxygen levels go up?
  28. 28. Comparative vs. CorrelativeThere is a fine line between these two investigation questions becausesometimes it seems that you are collecting the same data.Here is how they are different:Comparative – only collecting one set of data. Example Question: Does the average height of same-aged Douglas Fir trees differ at 100 feet, 500 feet or 1000 feet above sea level? – Students are comparing the height of trees at different predetermined elevations. – Data collected = height of treesCorrelative – actually collecting two sets of data. Example Question: How does the average height of same-aged Douglas Fir trees change as elevation increases? –Students are looking for a correlation between height and elevation. –Data collected = height of trees AND elevation.
  29. 29. Activity: Investigation Questions for Sorting• After reading these instructions, press ESC to exit this presentation and return to the main Moodle site.• Download Field Investigation Questions for Sorting document and determine the type of investigation for each question: descriptive, comparative or correlative.• Check your answers using the Field Investigation Questions for Sorting - Answer Key (also on the main Moodle site).• Then, re-open the Introduction to Systems, Questions and Field Investigations PowerPoint, return to this slide and continue with the presentation.
  30. 30. A Sample Temperature Investigation: Webinar• Click on the link below and the archived webinar page will open in your browser: http://www.eeweek. org/webinars/field_ investigations Then… Click Here and Watch Minutes 22:47 to 39:00
  31. 31. Now What?Continue through the Field Investigations section so you will be ready to give it a try!Page 42 in the guide explains thoroughly how to use your student’s questions to build a field investigation. And…as a bonus: Studies show that kids wholearn outside learn more, and achieve higher grades!Have fun and encourage kids to think outside the classroom!