Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Ecosystem Game - Section 4: Playing the Game


Why Ask Questions During the Game

By stopping after each round of the game to ask questions, I am limiting the number of games the students are able to play.  We may only get through three games during our 45 minutes of class.  Even though it takes up a lot of time, asking the questions is a very important part of the game.  If students just played, they would not be focusing on what the game is suppose to be teaching them.  The game mimics a real ecosystem in that the prey are competing against each other for survival.  They have to get everything they need to survive without getting eaten (tagged) by the predator.  By asking questions before playing, I make sure students are able to identify a predator/prey relationship and explain how the predator (which is usually a carnivore) gets energy from the sun.  This is the focus of standard PS3-1: Use models to describe that energy in animals' food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.  Questioning them also allows me to see if students can apply what they have learned about food chains to an abstract model.  The visuals for the items in the ecosystem aren't really there, they have to come up with them on their own.  I also throw in some new ideas to see if students can infer how these ideas may affect an ecosystem.  For example, we discuss what would happen if there were a shortage of water and I only choose 3 students to represent water.  Students would have to be able to think about the needs of the organisms and what would happen if they are not able to meet all of there needs.  This allows them to see that the organisms that cannot get water will either die or move to a new location, both decreasing their population.   

  Why Ask Questions During the Game
  Discourse and Questioning: Why Ask Questions During the Game
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Ecosystem Game

Unit 3: Transfer of Energy and Matter Through Organisms in an Ecosystem
Lesson 13 of 14

Objective: SWBAT identify what organisms within an ecosystem compete for and how their population is affected if their needs are not met.

Big Idea: Students become the predators and prey in this game to see who can survive.

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predator prey game
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