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Learning Exercise

Material: Plants and Animals (Succession) of Mt St Helens
Submitted by: Rebecca Aden on Dec 05, 2004
Date Last Modified: Dec 05, 2004
Title: Construction of Old and New Forests
Description: This assignment is for the Plants and Animals (Succession) website which describes the effect of the volcano eruption on the forest. After learning about old growth forests, students will work in groups to teach and construct new forests.
Type of Task: Student-centered, Team
Time Required One class period (can be stretched to two)
Topics: It fits in well during a unit of ecology, after teaching about succession and ecological disturbances.
Course: Middle School Science or Basic Biology
Audience: High School, Middle School
Learning Objectives: Students will teach each other characteristics of plant and animal in new forests.
Students will contrast the differences between old and new growth forests and learn how natural disturbances affect an ecosystem.
Technical Notes: Amount of technology depends on how the web site will be presented, and how students will draw and construct their old and new forests.
Text of Learning Exercise: 1. Divide the class into groups of six. Each group will work
around a computer, but if each computer use is limited, hand out a packet
printed from the site. Assign roles to group members, especially in a middle
school setting.
2. Every student reads about old growth forests. Each group draws a picture,
with labels, of an old growth forest. They will also list uses for the standing
dead trees.
3. Each group receives a part of the forest as it was after the eruption:
standing dead, blowdown, ashfall, debris avalanche, mud flow, and pyroclastic
flow. Groups create a mini presentation (less than 5 min) of the
characteristics of their region and how plants and animals recolonized.
4. In the end, the class can construct a picture of the new forest.
5. Students can also think of natural disturbances that may occur in their
part of the country, and how this would affect the plants and animals.
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