|Students explore COSI ecosystems|
|Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:06 PM|
During the morning assembly, students were energized about the program through a dynamic 45-minute presentation given by Outreach Educator Joe Butler, who introduced the science of ecosystems, animal adaptations and their life cycles and how parts of a biological community are connected within their environment.
Kindergarten students seemed to really enjoy the “Pyramid Power” station where they built fungi and bacteria food chains with wood blocks. With the assistance of volunteer Sharon Gasser, the students used rectangular- and triangular-shaped blocks, designed with fungi, animal and land element icons on them, to build a pyramid (ecosystem). The ecosystem is interdependent on all the elements for survival to maintain equilibrium.
After building the ecosystem, Gasser instructed the students to remove one or more of the blocks, which created a physical imbalance simulating the cause and effect of an event altering the balance in an ecosystem. This activity lends itself to a better understanding of the relationships between predator and prey organisms, as well as the relationships to plants and soil.
Another favorite, especially with the older students, “Who’da Trunk It” station, presented the students with the opportunity to observe and study sections of tree rings and identify natural and environmental changes impacting a tree’s growth, color and denseness of its wood.
Marge VonSossan explained the study of Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, which is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings, also known as growth rings. The concentric layers of wood develop during an annual or other regular period growth. Varying widths between the rings indicate differing geographic variations of the role of light, temperature, and water as climatic changes. VonSossan quizzed the students about the Ohio Buckeye Tree (Latin name is Aesculus glabra), which was designated by legislature in 1953 as Ohio’s official tree. The students also discussed the darker coloration and hardness of the wood from the Black Walnut tree (Juglans nigra).
Other stations included:
For more information, please visit cosi.org/educators/outreach.