Children today do not spend as much time outside as they did in previous generations; consequently, they are not building connectedness to nature and are less likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviors. Environmental education is one way to ameliorate this problem. However, teachers are limited by their access to natural habitats, time, and field expertise. To address both of these issues, I present an inquiry-based activity for both Advanced Placement and general high school biology that requires students to spend time in nature, use authentic field methods for collecting data, and apply their findings to pertinent conservation issues. This four-day activity uses a simplified approach, called the meter stick random sampling method, to measure plant biodiversity of different local habitats. Time-efficient and not reliant on species identification, this method is designed so students can repeat this procedure in their backyards or at a local nature preserve. The data can be used to discuss how human disturbance of habitat affects biodiversity, the importance of biodiversity for the stability of ecosystems, and how to restore biodiversity locally.
Using an Outdoor Activity on Local Plant Biodiversity to Teach Conservation Ecology and Promote Environmentally Responsible Behaviors
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McKenzie L. Doup; Using an Outdoor Activity on Local Plant Biodiversity to Teach Conservation Ecology and Promote Environmentally Responsible Behaviors. The American Biology Teacher 1 May 2018; 80 (5): 359–364. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2018.80.5.359
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