Think about how you currently teach about biodiversity...

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1 Integrating Biodiversity Issues into an Evolution Unit Laura Lenz and Maia Willcox SEPUP Lawrence Hall of Science Berkeley, CA NABT Denver, 2009 Think about how you currently teach about biodiversity... What does the concept biodiversity mean to you? What key biodiversity concepts do you teach? What lessons/activities do you use?

2 Key Biodiversity Concepts Definition: Biodiversity is the collected variety on a population, organism, and genetic level, of living things in an ecosystem. There are three levels of biodiversity Ecosystem Population Genetic The more biodiversity the greater its stability and resilience. Biodiversity can be altered by human actions. Issue-oriented Science: SEPUP s Model Science courses, units, or activities that involve students in learning science concepts and processes and applying their understanding and evidence to a problem, issue, or decision. The issue is not an add-on, but is woven into the curriculum and the issues and content are closely related.

3 Why use issue-oriented science? Integrates sciences with other subjects, portraying a realistic view of how science contributes to solving problems and of the role of science in careers. Provides real-world connections and shows students how science is useful in daily life. Engages students in learning science and applying it to make evidence-based decisions. Encourages students to look at both sides of an issue and evaluate the trade-offs involved in a complex decision. Issue-oriented Science and Inquiry in SEPUP Less Emphasis On Discussing science in isolation Working alone Acquiring scientific information More Emphasis On Discussing science concepts and understanding in the context of personal and societal issues Working with a group that simulates the work of a scientific community or policy group Acquiring conceptual understanding and applying information and conceptual understanding in making personal, societal, and global decisions Testing students for understanding at the end of the unit Closed questions with one correct answer Embedded assessments throughout the unit and culminating assessment activities Open-ended questions that require students to explain phenomena or take positions backed by evidence

4 Examples of Issues Health: How should research money be allocated to address world health problems? Food and nutrition: Should foods be genetically modified? Ecology: Can fisheries be managed sustainably? Policy Supporting the Use of Issues in the Science Classroom National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) Standard D: Science in Personal and Societal Perspectives Benchmarks for Science Literacy. (AAAS, 1993) For example: Standard 1c: The Scientific Enterprise, Standard 3: Technology and Science Standard 7: Human Society Standard 8: The Designed World

5 Biodiversity related issues Turn to a person sitting next to you, and together brainstorm a list of societal or global issues that relate to key biodiversity concepts. Learning Outcomes are Enhanced Traditional instruction Content driven Science process skills Issue-oriented instruction Issue and content driven Science process skills Science in personal and societal perspectives standards

6 Human Effects on Biodiversity Overview Engages students in reading scenarios that depict human interactions with different species. Students determine the nature of the interaction and the role biodiversity plays in each. National Science Education Standards Humans have a major effect on other species, which occurs through actions such as land use and pollution. (Science and Technology in Local, National, and Global Challenges) Human beings live within the world s ecosystems Increasingly, humans modify ecosystems. Human destruction of habitats is threatening current global stability, and if not addressed, ecosystems will be irreversibly affected. (The Interdependence of Organisms) Human Effects on Biodiversity Procedure In your group of four, read the Introduction and complete procedure steps 1 through 3. With your group answer the following, How would you describe the biodiversity of the population mentioned in each scenario?

7 Human Effects on Biodiversity Summary How did the biodiversity of each population affect its resilience when it interacted with humans? Based on this activity, why is biodiversity important? The Birindy Island Scenario Imagine you are part of a team that is considering expanding conservation efforts on the fictitious island of Birindy. You will use what you know about biodiversity, ecology, and evolution to make recommendations about conservation efforts on Birindy.

8 Two Conservation Perspectives Ecosystem Services Considers the links between ecosystems and their benefits for humans. Focuses on conserving species that provide important services for humans. Protected Area Considers biodiversity alone and the evolutionary processes that produced it. Focuses on conserving as much biodiversity as possible within a set of reserves. As a side benefit, humans have access to the services provided by the protected ecosystems. Conservation on an Island Biodiversity Hotspot Challenge What are the tensions between stakeholders who are affected by or involved in decisions about conservation?

9 Conservation on an Island Biodiversity Hotspot Procedure With your group, read the perspective you are assigned. 1 Community Member for Conservation 2 Community Member against 3 Biologist for Ecosystem Services 4 Biologist for Protected Area 5 Business Owners 6 Research Scientists Conservation on an Island Biodiversity Hotspot Procedure Cont. Summarize the perspective so that you can explain it easily to someone else. Attend a stakeholder meeting. At the meeting you will discuss your ideas about what should occur with the conserved land.

10 Conservation on an Island Biodiversity Hotspot Summary What role do stakeholders play in the issue of biodiversity conversation on the island? Conservation Plan for Birindy You are a conservationist on the team with a background in evolutionary biology. In this activity you will analyze data collected for three potential conservation sites and recommend which should be conserved. Challenge Where should the conservation efforts in Birindy be focused?

11 Mammal Species on Birindy The tree below shows that: Species T, U, V, and W are more closely related to each other than any are to X, Y, and Z because they share a more recent common ancestor. Species X, Y, and Z are more closely related to one another than any are to T, U, V, and W. Mammal Species Living on Birindy Students learned that: Mammal species X and Y live in Forest 1 Mammal species T and U live in Forest 2 Mammal species V and W live in Forest 3 Based on the tree, mammal species in Forests 2 and 3 are more closely related than those in Forest 1. This means species in Forest 1 contribute to the biodiversity of mammals on the island.

12 Conservation plan for Birindy Procedure Complete Steps 1-5. Note: Bold parts of trees on the cards represent the lineages of species that live in the forest. Comparing Possible Conservation Sites Forest # Criteria Diversity of mammal and primate taxa in the forests Reasons to conserve from protected area perspective Reasons to conserve from ecosystems services perspective Human well-being if conserved Human well-being if not conserved Benefits and drawbacks of protected area perspective Benefits and drawbacks of ecosystem services Perspective Focus on ONLY the first three rows.

13 Conservation Plan for Birindy How the concept of biodiversity is approached in the teaching of the activity: Trees show the evolutionary relationships between species. Species that are further apart on the tree are likely to have more variation. More variation means more biodiversity, which means the species are resilient and sustainable Biodiversity in terms of role and function of organisms in ecosystem. Two perspectives: Ecosystem Services Protected Area In conclusion... Engaging students in activities that explore the dynamics of societal and global issues related to biodiversity can lead to More robust learning outcomes Instruction about perspective Exploration of issues from different perspectives The use of evidence in the decision-making process

14 Contact Information The Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) at The Lawrence Hall of Science Berkeley, CA Laura Lenz Maia Willcox (510)

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