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View Resource Simulating Sampling Communities and Calculating Diversity Indices with Scrabble Game Tiles

Using tiles from a Scrabble game, we present methods to create simulations of sampling exercises and to develop diversity indices. The tiles represent species, and so a known sampling universe (100 tiles) allows comparing a sample with the known distribution of species. We then offer several variations to simulate different kinds of sampling (larger sample size, more samples), alter the rarity...

View Resource Measuring Soil Microbial Activity

This activity examines how soil microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, are involved in carbon cycling. Students design experiments to explore the relationship between microbial respiration rates and soil variables such as temperature, habitat, soil type, and agricultural management choices. Four methods for measuring CO2 released from soil are provided, one in the field (CO2 probe), and three in...

View Resource False eye-spots on an owl

These photos of a Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum) were taken in Kruger National Park in 2015. From the front, this diminutive owl looks like any other. From the back, it has false eye-spots (presumably to startle predators).

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View Resource How the Bioblitz Boosts the Zoology Course

Collection of invertebrates on campus, as part of the BioBlitz, increases the interest in students in animals as they get to go out to the field and collect specimens. They also learn about collection techniques and equipment. These activities also provide an opportunity for experimental design. Students are also contributing to the species count of the BioBlitz.

View Resource Literature circles as active learning packets for use in the natural sciences: Transforming traditional supplemental instruction into guided study

At Paul Smith's College, we have worked to transform the model of weekly SI (supplemental instruction) into GSG (Guided Study) for General Ecology (Bio 210). We modified literature circle worksheets based off of the work of Harvey Daniels to be used in the natural sciences. We then created a step-by-step instructional framework to implement literature circles in the natural sciences. This...