Assessment - Rotten Log Lab (with Termites!)

Summary
This is an alternative assessment activity in which students pull apart a rotting log as an example of a microhabitat that can be explored in the classroom. As they dissect the log and discover the myriad of bizarre creatures on and inside the log, the notes the students keep can be used as an assessment of many of the major concepts in this unit. Another use for this lab is as an engaging way introduce a very special organism-organism relationship, symbiosis. Termites have a symbiotic relationship with the protozoa in their gut. The protozoa that digest the cellulose in the wood for the termites, can be extracted from the termites’ gut and observed under a microscope. One of my students who witnessed the extraction and then saw the protozoa proclaimed “That was the coolest thing I have ever seen. Ever.” Finally, if you are just fascinated by termites and want to become completely enamoured, try putting a termite on a line drawn by a Bic pen…

Objectives
Assessment or continued exploration of microhabitats

Vocabulary (Optional)
Symbiosis
Pheromone

Rotten Log Lab - Logistics

Rotten Log Lab - Background

Rotten Log Lab - Getting Ready

Rotten Log Lab - Lesson Plan

Rotten Log Lab - Going Further

Rotten Log Lab - Sources and Standards