Reflection: Rigor Ecosystem Match-up - Section 2: Explore

 

Many students want to write down a word or two in each box, or maybe a phrase or sentence (if you're lucky!), and then claim that they are done with their research. For the purpose of this assignment (and most assignments, for that matter) this is not enough! The students must become experts on their ecosystem, and they can't do that by writing down a few sentences or words, which are probably copied right from the Web. They need to dig deep into the information, not only copying it but discussing it with their partners and developing an understanding of how it fits together. When my students claim to be finished with their research, I challenge them with a few questions to gauge their knowledge and understanding, such as:

  • Tell me three things you learned from your research.
  • On what continent/s is this found?
  • Could a human live here?
  • How is this different from another ecosystem you know about?
  • How is this similar to another ecosystem you know about?
  • What adaptations may have developed in order to survive here?
  • What is the most important component in this ecosystem? 
  • What challenges do animals in this ecosystem face?
  • How have humans affected the life in this ecosystem?
  • How are living things classified in this ecosystem?

As you can see these questions grow in complexity, which means I don't have to ask them all. I can stop once I get to a question they cannot answer. Once I get to that question, I explain that they are not done until they can answer each and every question I ask of them. Yes, they will get frustrated. Yes, they will try it again - jotting down a few words and claiming they're "done". Yes, they will want to know why they have to do more. And yes, they will even complain that the assignment is hard or is taking too long. And when they do, I usually choose to respond one of three ways:

  • "My job is to make you think and to help you learn. See how I am doing my job? Now do yours!"
  • "Desire to have things done quickly prevents them from being done thoroughly."
  • You're right! You are currently done with D (or F) level work. Are you happy with that?"

You can choose the appropriate response, depending on your students and how you know they will respond to you! 

  How much research?
  Rigor: How much research?
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Ecosystem Match-up

Unit 2: Zoology
Lesson 5 of 17

Objective: SWBAT identify factors influencing distribution of animals in an ecosystem, what factors defines a specific ecosystem, and differentiate between ecosystems and habitats.

Big Idea: Animal diversity within an ecosystem is affected by many factors.

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