Disruptions in Ecosystems: If/Then Applied Digital Skills Project
Aliso Viejo Middle School students in Valarie Broadhead’s seventh grade Science class explored the environmental impact of introducing the grey wolf into Yellowstone National Park as part of a Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) unit. To support their understanding of the potential impact of introducing a new species, Valarie worked with the site’s Instructional coach (also a Google Certified Innovator and Trainer), Judy Blakeney, to use the new If/Then Applied Digital Skills curriculum.
Students used the Applied Digital Skills lesson first, to gain the digital skills and develop the thinking needed to create an If/Then story of their own choice, organizing, including how to create links, and making a Google Slides presentation user-friendly. After collaborating in teams to create these, students progressed to the next level of learning, applying this conditional thinking approach to NGSS standards (MS-LS 2-4 and MS LS 2-5).
Students explored the impact of the grey wolf on other organisms within Yellowstone’s Ecosystem, using materials created by UC Berkeley’s The Lawrence Hall of Science. Then, as part of their review for the assessment on environmental impact on organisms, students created their own position If/Then presentations, which included the impact of bears, elk, mites, plants, etc.
To further their understanding, each student was responsible to review two peers’ presentations and complete a Google Form survey to provide feedback to their peers. Valarie was thrilled with students’ comments like:
- “I liked how the slides looked and how easy they are to use. They are also very informative and showed me more things like on they impact humans have on the earth.” “
- “Your position is unclear because you support wolves but your evidence doesn’t support wolves.”
- “I thought that the slides were very informational. They should just make all of their slides the same theme so that it flows more nicely. Either they should have used the blue theme or the blank theme.”
Even after students completed their presentations, they wanted to continue to refine their work. Note, this project and review took place just before and after state testing when some students might be less engaged in school. This was not the case in Valarie’s classes, where the learning continued to progress, students gained valuable digital skills, and applied high level thinking about a challenging and controversial environmental issue. Students really enjoyed learning through this process. They were excited and could not stop talking about how much fun they had.
Thanks, Google for the Applied Digital Skills curriculum! We will be using it next year as well!
Capistrano Unified School District
San Juan Capistrano, California
Google Certified Trainer and Innovator (#SYD17)
7th Grade Science
Aliso Viejo Middle School
Aliso Viejo, California
NASA Tier II Educator, MAVEN Ambassador, CEF Certified Instructor,
GLOBE Certified Instructor, Sally Ride EarthKam Tier II Instructor,
NASA Robotics, Certified Instructor, NASA CLIMB Climate Instructor,
MSL Curiosity Tier II Educator, ACS, IUPAC Member
Resources used in this lesson:
Applied Digital Skills Curriculum.- If/Then Stories
Google Classroom Instructions to students for If/Then Yellowstone)
|YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: IF-THEN PRESENTATION (w/partner).
DUE by end of class on Date
Slide 2: What would happen if…..
Slide 3: This slide should include TWO Then options;
All slides and options should move in succession from Carnivore, to Omnivore, to Herbivore, to Primary Producer, and Decomposers and then Nutrient Cycle.
For example: If there were no wolves in Yellowstone, then the Elk population would increase ……, if the Elk population increased, the _____ plant would decrease. There would then be no dead carcasses for the decomposers to eat, and thus reduce the number of nutrients in the nutrient cycle.
Student Presentation Template (shared via Google Classroom)
Student Sample Presentations
Student Peer Review – Link Collection using Google Sheet (students post link to their presentations)