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Life Science: TerrAqua Column

Taking Inventory and Pondering Change

The TerrAqua Column 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 TerrAqua Column develops over time.

Materials Required


Taking Inventory

  1. Assemble the aquatic and terrestrial organisms to be introduced into your TerrAqua Column.
  2. Observe each item and identify it with a common and/or scientific name.
  3. Using your Taking Inventory Data Sheet (PDF), 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 TerrAqua Column, showing where each organism is to be placed.

Pondering Change

  1. Use your Pondering Change Data Sheet (PDF) to make predictions about change in your TerrAqua Column over time.
  2. Set the length of the study period for your TerrAqua Column.
  3. At regular intervals during your study period, observe your TerrAqua Column 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 aquatic organisms will you introduce into your TerrAqua column?
  2. What terrestrial organisms will you introduce?
  3. Why did you choose these organisms?
  4. How would you describe diversity in your aquatic habitat? Your terrestrial habitat?
  5. What do you expect to happen in your aquatic habitat over time? Your terrestrial habitat?
  6. Do you expect to find “newcomers” in either habitat that you didn’t introduce?
  7. If so, what do you think these newcomers will be?
  8. How do you think newcomers might be introduced into each habitat?

At the end of your study period

  1. What types of changes occurred in your aquatic habitat? Your terrestrial habitat?
  2. What do you think caused these changes?
  3. Did you find any newcomers in either habitat? What were they? How did they get there?
  4. Were there any problems in either habitat?
  5. How would you change the design of your TerrAqua Column for future studies?

SHARE YOUR RESULTS: Taking Inventory and Pondering Change

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