Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CASE AFNR Days 5, 6, & 7: Lions & Tigers & Elodea! Oh my!

Well, maybe there weren't any lions or tigers at the AFNR CASE institute over the past few days, but there was plenty to learn about animals and plants alike!

As we reached the midpoint of the institute, we dove into many scientific applications of plant & animal science through various hands-on experiments. Here are a few photos of what we have been investigating over the past few days.

Each group created a poster to explain the flora (plants), fauna (animals),  location,  and major characteristics of any biome within the United States.  Where do you think a grassland would be located? What biome do you live in? 

The name of this experiment was "Passing Gas."   If that doesn't catch your students' attention, I don't know what else will!  Utilizing lots of Elodea and a few snails, we set up an experiment to measure the pH and dissolved oxygen levels.  Which organism would lower the pH of the water? The dissolved oxygen level?  Justify your hypothesis using the formula for photosynthesis and respiration.  The results are quite gaseous!

What happens to the rate of photosynthesis in a plant that hasn't seen sunlight in a week? Utilizing some boiling isopropyl alcohol to boil a few plant leaves and adding Lugol's solution, we found out quickly!  

And last, but not least, build-a-bloom! How many times have you had students label a diagram on a piece of paper? This activity allows students to be creative and build their own flower model utilizing a few crafty items then labeling the 3-D model.  Can you recognize any of the parts of a flower? Is this flower complete or incomplete? Your students could answer these questions after building their own flower.
The 10-day institute is quickly winding down with more and more homework assignments being completed and checked each day.  In order to receive their CASE certification, teachers participating in the workshop must complete a portfolio of assignments that are checked by the lead teachers.  These assignments will serve as samples of work to students during the first year of instruction for the AFNR curriculum.  

Each day, more collaboration, energy, and enthusiasm is evident between participants talking about extension activities, modifications, and how CASE will look in their classroom this fall.  It is hard to believe how quickly this time has gone and how the institute has created such a positive momentum for Agricultural Science Education and challenged everyone to expand their repertoire of tools for the classroom!

Stay tuned for the final installments of CASE AFNR 2013!


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