Interview Summaries

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Interview Protocol

1) First, the student will receive a picture of a coastline. Ask if the student considers the picture as a whole an ecosystem. From there, box off different sections of the picture such as an area of land, an area of only water, etc. Ask whether or not those sections are ecosystems. Be sure to ask WHY or WHY NOT certain pictures are ecosystems. These answers have the potential to lead into asking 1. Do they think that humans are part of the ecosystem, 2. Can an ecosystem have just plants or just animals and 3. Whether or not the ecosystem has to be closed or open. We are assuming the subjects have heard of these words and have an understanding of what they mean. If we feel that the subjects have very little knowledge on the topic we may need to push further and possibly lead. Pictures are attached.
2) Have the students make their own food web with 5 different parts within their web. Take a certain organisms out of their personal food web and ask the how the web would now work. Ask what happens if the animal (whatever they drew) in their food web dies? What happens to the stuff the animal is made of? Now show them your food web picture. Ask them how this one is different from theirs? Which parts seem to be important within this food web (lead into decomposers? assuming they know what they are). Are they surprised to see bacteria at the top of the food chain? Why/Why not. What do they think is the function of the bacteria? Are they required? What do they think would happen without bacteria/decomposers? Ask them to point to where humans would fall into the food web or if they even fall into the food web itself.

3) Interactions between living things was just discussed...
Can you name any non-living things that an ecosystem can't survive without? Whatever they name- Where does it come from? Ask them to track its movement within a system. (ex. they say rain, ask and then what happens to the rain… if they don’t mention any animals as part of the water track ask if the water (or whatever non living thing they mentioned) is ever found in living things. How does it get there? Where does it go when they die?) If the subject does not name carbon we will ask questions which lead into carbon and see if the subject has any knowledge on what carbon is, where one can find it, is all the carbon the same (carbon in sugar, carbon in trees, carbon in humans, etc) and hopefully they will bring up the carbon cycle without any help.

Group Interviews Summary

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Back to Ecosystems & Cycles

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