Energy and biomass distribution in the ecological sciences have long been approximated by complex, often idealized scientific models. When utilized appropriately, these models are powerful tools for students, who must organize evidence and make data-driven predictions surrounding trophic level interactions. However, the abstract nature of ecological models can present a significant challenge to students who generally require concrete experiences to make sense of complex scientific ideas. Inquiry-centered field experiences serve to bypass this barrier, providing much-needed context by leveraging student data to develop a deep conceptual understanding of foundational ecological principles.

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