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Keywords: ecology, PowerPoint, video
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Earth Science, Science
Grades 6 through 8
School: Margaret Buerkle Middle Sch, Saint Louis, MO
Planned By: Cathy Helfrich
Original Author: Cathy Helfrich, Saint Louis
Many of my students do not have access to a lot of technology. Being a former ecology teacher, I've seen our students struggle with ecology concepts on standardized test each year. With this in mind, I created lesson lasting several days that will help teach my students to use new types of technology as they gain an understanding of key ecology concepts.

As a team, the science teachers and I have created a list of ecology terms and concepts that will help students understand our ecology objectives. Terms include but are not limited to: herbivore, decomposer, producer, biotic, and energy. We have several visual examples of each term on our campus or in our very small outdoor classroom.

In class, groups of 2-3 students will be given one ecology term. They will use what they have learned in science class to define the word. Then, students will find at least four examples of their term. Once the team of students has found the example, they will take a photo or short video of the example and using the GPS unit, they will note where the object is located. Students will then create a PowerPoint presentation about their term. Their presentation will include:
at least 4 photos/videos of the term
GPS location of terms
why each photo/video is an example of the term
a definition of the term
and why their photographs/videos are vital to the ecosystem.

Students will present their PowerPoint projects to their classmates. As a class, the class will also tour the school grounds using the GPS locations of some of the examples. Each group will be expected to show the class where at least one of their examples by using their GPS unit.

The same process will be repeated 2 times with different ecology terms. Our goal is to increase standardized test scores and promote a lifelong love of nature by infusing the technology into what they are learning about ecology in a real way.
We would love to have more cameras than what I've listed. This amount gives us a class set of GPS units and students will share the cameras.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This activity connects Science and Technology
The same process will be repeated 2 times with different ecology terms.
Materials: Flip Video, Point and Shoot, Camera Bags, Tripods, Memory Cards, Sound Libraries
Other Items: 12 Flip Ultra U1120 Camcorder, $130.00 each, total of $1560.00
12 Fujifilm FinePix Z30FD 10 MP Digital Camera, $180.00 each, total of $2160.00
12 SD Memory Card, $11.00 each, total of $132.00
32 Garmin eTrex H Handheld GPS, $99.00 each, total of $3168.00