The students need to understand the concepts, link them, and apply them to a New Zealand example. The problem is that there are a lot of concepts and to teach them in the "traditional" way (or should I say, my usual way...?), I will not have time for the students to choose a context for doing their case study.
- adaptations (structural, behavioural and physiological)
- habitats and communities
- interactions within communities (commensalism, predation, parasitism etc)
- food webs (and the effects of changes to these)
- nutrient cycles
- natural selection and evolution
I would also like to look at the threats to the New Zealand ecosystem, with particular focus on our rocky shore, marine reserves and/or forests.
As I feel we will struggle to have enough time to do justice to this topic prior to the exam, I am going to try something I haven't done before, but was inspired to try during ULearn12. I am going to get the students to choose an indigenous New Zealand animal or plant (marine or terrestrial) and do research on it. They will have to put their findings into a blog post on our Class Blog:
I will outline the key things they need to identify and discuss about their chosen animal/plant, but not the order in which they learn them. Yes, in some lessons, I will guide them to certain activities in the book that may help, and we will do some class activities which demonstrate the dynamics of a successful (vs. threatened) ecosystem, but ultimately, the students will chose their own pathway for learning the content in their own chosen context.
Ideally, students will gravitate into groups who want to learn the same concepts at the same time, then apply them to their chosen animal/plant. However, realistically, I expect they will gravitate into groups doing the same (or similar) animals/plants then agree on a unified learning pathway (probably with my guidance).
So, now it is time do design the activity and its instructions.... Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!