Life Science: TerrAqua Column
The TerrAqua Column
The TerraAqua Column (see building instructions) is a bottle system that is composed of terrestrial and aquatic habitats. The terrestrial habitat, or terrarium, houses organisms in soil and above ground sub-habitats. The aquatic habitat, or aquarium, houses floating and submerged organisms, as well as organisms that live on top of or in aquatic sediments. The terrarium and the aquarium are connected to one another through water — the terrarium drains into the aquarium, which, in turn, provides the terrarium with water that is drawn through a wick that runs between the two.
The Essential Science for Teachers TerrAqua Column is designed as a companion to the video for Sessions 1 (“What Is Life?”) and 2 (“Classifying Living Things”). This system provides opportunities for learning about the characteristics of life by observing living things in their environments over time. It is also well suited for activities that involve distinguishing between organisms based on habitat, the roles they play, or the features that classify them as plants, animals, or other life forms.
Essential Science for Teachers suggests several activities for the TerrAqua Column that are excellent introductions to a scientific study of the living world. “Get a Life!” features the “necklace” worn in the video by Bottle Biology creator Paul Williams. In this activity, the challenge is to test whether an object is alive by creating life-sustaining conditions in small tubes that can be worn around the neck.
“Taking Inventory” emphasizes careful description of the living things that are introduced into the system, while “Pondering Change” allows you to keep track of changes in the system over time. “Is it Alive?” parallels an activity seen in Session 1 in LauraJo Kelly’s second-grade classroom where items are classified as living, dead, or nonliving.
The fascinating world of microbes is made visible with “Now You See It.” “What is It?” provides a systematic approach to classifying living things into the groups that scientists use to organize the living world.
For more background information and additional activity ideas, you can visit the Bottle Biology website at www.bottlebiology.org.
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