As part of BI 337- General Ecology, I’m trying out a flipped classroom this semester. One “benefit” of COVID-19 and virtual/hybrid instruction, was the development of pre-recorded lectures which can support integration of flipped classroom techniques this semester now that we have returned to face to face instruction.
In BI 337, we started off this semester with some outdoor activities exploring populations, distribution, biotic/abiotic variables, and unitary/modular organisms next to the beautiful pond on campus.
We followed up the next class period back out by the pond to examine quadrats and mark recapture estimates of population size. The next week we headed back into the computer lab to work with data on calculating population size and identifying relationships between body size and reproductive output for understanding resources allocation (resources and summaries available by request).
The description of the game and the supplementary resources they provide on Google Sites (https://sites.google.com/site/theclassroommatinggame) made this game a very easy project to take on during a 50 minute lecture period. I supplemented the resources they provided with a YouTube video on Mating Systems as a pre-assignment and some reflection questions on Canvas.
Here is a video of experience using the mating game in class:
Dr. Connie Mitchell, educator, founder of Rivers Edge STREAM, and B-CU chemistry alumni, has been out at Turie T. Small Elementary School helping students prepare for their Florida Standards Assessments with engaging hands on STEM activities.
Dr. Mitchell reached out to our lab to help discuss science concepts for 5th graders. Dr. Krejci (IES and Natural Science), Shawana Brooks (Center for Trans-disciplinary Data Analytics), and Cameron Eskew (IES undergrad) set up and instructed three stations examining sand, soil and mud.
Sand Station- students examined sand samples from Daytona Beach by looking at sediment grain size and uncovering the biological and human impacts of on our local beaches.
Soil Station- students examined soil horizons and hypothesized on what biological and physical processes occur to create these different layers.
Mud Station, “aka the fun station”- students learned about biological indicators of water quality by examining macro invertebrates from a pond. Students got to dig around in the muck looking for snails, worms and bugs. We even spotted a spring peeper tadpole and a fish!
Along the way, students filled out their data sheets and answered questions on the sediment samples.
It was a great way for B-CU to contribute to our local schools and support our teachers! We look forward to the next opportunity to bring our research to these budding scientists 🔬🦠🧪
I’m excited to announce our new publication in Sustainability!
Abstract: The promotion of global sustainability within environmental science courses requires a paradigm switch from knowledge-based teaching to teaching that stimulates higher-order cognitive skills. Non-major undergraduate science courses, such as environmental science, promote critical thinking in students in order to improve the uptake of scientific information and develop the rational decision making used to make more informed decisions. Science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) courses rely extensively on visuals in lectures, readings and homework to improve knowledge. However, undergraduate students do not automatically acquire visual literacy and a lack of intervention from instructors could be limiting academic success. In this study, a visual literacy intervention was developed and tested in the face-to-face (FTF) and online sections of an undergraduate non-major Introduction to Environmental Science course. The intervention was designed to test and improve visual literacy at three levels: (1) elementary—identifying values; (2) intermediate—identifying trends; and (3) advanced—using the data to make projections or conclusions. Students demonstrated a significant difference in their ability to answer elementary and advanced visual literacy questions in both course sections in the pre-test and post-test. Students in the face-to-face course had significantly higher exam scores and higher median assessment scores compared to sections without a visual literacy intervention. The online section did not show significant improvements in visual literacy or academic success due to a lack of reinforcement of visual literacy following the initial intervention. The visual literacy intervention shows promising results in improving student academic success and should be considered for implementation in other general education STEM courses.
Now that we are on winter break, we will be working on setting up our new microscopes and Orion Versa Star benches meter. Hopefully the students will take this time to work on data collection in preparation for Spring research conferences!
One of our new lab additions was a birth of Lined Seahorses, Hippocampus erectus, from the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. They have both Lined and Dwarf seahorses on display. Their new male gave birth on Monday and our students will be learning how to rear these juveniles.
Lined seahorse juvenile are pelagic for around 7-10 days after birth and require slightly different care than the dwarfs. Dwarf juveniles immediately attach to vegetation after their born, are less work to raise, and have higher survival. Both species eat the same food from birth but Lined seahorses are trained to eat frozen mysid shrimp after a few months. Adult Dwarfs will continue eating live brine shrimp (Artemia).
Jennifer Spain has successfully defended her MS Thesis “COMPARING RECRUITMENT PATTERNS BETWEEN OYSTER BAGS AND OYSTER CORE MODULES”. Jennifer is the Aquatic Research Labs first graduate student and we are proud of her accomplishments and hard work. Final revisions and publication submission are up next 🎉