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Life Science: EcoColumn

Taking Inventory and Pondering Change

The EcoColumn that you’ve designed includes a variety of aquatic and terrestrial organisms. In a study system like this, it’s important to describe the living things that you stock it with before you introduce them into their habitats. “Taking Inventory” will assist you in doing this, and “Pondering Change” will help you predict changes that you think will occur as your EcoColumn develops over time.

Materials Needed

Instructions

Taking Inventory

  1. Assemble the aquatic and terrestrial (including compost) organisms to be introduced into your EcoColumn.
  2. Observe each item and identify with a common and/or scientific name.
  3. Using your Taking Inventory Data Sheet, describe identifying and interesting characteristics for each organism.
  4. Take and record measurements of each organism.
  5. Make a sketch of each organism, including scale.
  6. Make a graphic inventory of your EcoColumn, showing where each organism is to be placed.

Pondering Change

  1. Use your Pondering Change Data Sheet to make predictions about change in your EcoColumn over time.
  2. Decide the length of a study period for your EcoColumn.
  3. At regular intervals during your study period, observe your EcoColumn and record changes that occur.
  4. At the end of your study period, make another graphic inventory.

Activity Questions

At the start of your study period

  1. What organisms will you introduce into the aquatic habitat of your EcoColumn?
  2. What organisms will you introduce into your terrestrial habitat?
  3. What organisms will you introduce into your compost habitat?
  4. Which of these are producers? Consumers? Decomposers?
  5. How will the energy needs of these organisms be provided for?
  6. What do you expect to happen in your aquatic habitat over time? Your terrestrial habitat? Your compost habitat?
  7. How do you expect the components of each habitat to affect the other habitats?

At the end of your study period

  1. What types of changes occurred in your aquatic habitat? Your terrestrial habitat? Your compost habitat?
  2. What do you think caused these changes?
  3. How would you describe energy flow in your EcoColumn?
  4. How would you describe material cycling in your EcoColumn?
  5. What evidence, if any, indicated that the components of different habitats were affecting each other?
  6. How would you change the design of your EcoColumn for future studies of energy flow and material cycling?

SHARE YOUR RESULTS: Taking Inventory and Pondering Change

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