Ecology 2 - Food Webs

Based on the website

This discussion begins with a review of how energy transfers through food webs and then engages students in assembling a food web with a small set of ocean organisms.

Evolution Box Block Plan

Week 1 - Pretrip

Monday - Observation Mariposas in the classroom, camouflaging into the room, see whose lasts the longest between 6th and 7th grade.   

Ecology 1 - Carbon Cycle

Based on a “Carbon Adventures” lesson plan developed by  the GK-12 Project at Arizona State University. For details on the original activity, go to (

College Biology Box

This series of activities is designed to complement a semester long introductory biology course for non-majors (general education) at a 4 year university. These activities are designed to be used to review material from the week's lecture in an activity-based way that is practical to implement in a  section of 25-75 students.

The original course is structured in 3 segments:

Biology for Future Elementary Teachers

Here's my current syllabus for an introductory college biology course for undergraduates planning on entering elementary teaching. This is NOT your traditionalcollege biology course. The goal of this course is to give students mastery over theconcepts required of K-8 students in California in a hands-on, experiential way.

Ecological Footprint Survey

Project - Raising Trout

Raising trout from eggs to fry in the classroom is a fabulous way for students to observe and study the life cycle of vertebrates and simultaneously learn about threatened species in local watersheds. Many states have programs where teachers and students raise trout in their classrooms in partnership with the Department of Fish and Wildlife for later release into a designated lake, creek or river. Described here is information for teachers on how to partner with state agencies, fish hatcheries, and local fly-fisher groups to raise rainbow trout in the classroom. A worksheet for the trout release field trip is provided. Best of all, many Trout in the Classroom Programs are fully supported by local fly-fisher groups and the California Department of Fish and Game (such as the California program that I participated in), and thus there is no materials cost to the teacher beyond the costs of organizing the trout release field trip at the end of the project.

Field Trip - Marine Science Institute

Sail aboard a research vessel and explore the living treasures of the San Francisco Bay. The Marine Science Institute (MSI) provides some of the best hands-on science and environmental education in the Bay Area. On the Discovery Voyage, students spend 4 hours learning about the San Francisco Bay ecosystem by examining water quality and collecting organisms at every level of the food web from microscopic plankton to mud dwellers to bat rays and fish. The diversity of life in the Bay is astounding and surprising to students who have spent their whole lives living by its water but never “diving in”.  If a half-day voyage isn’t for you, many other fantastic programs are available including Inland Voyages (where live marine organisms come to you), Ocean Lab (where students explore animals of the rocky coastal ecosystem in MSI’s Discovery Lab classrooms), and Tidepool Expeditions (where MSI naturalists provide a guided tour of the tidepool creatures at Pillar Point).

Project - Terraqua Column Experiment

Once students have some experience working with a basic terraqua column (see the Terraqua Columns Lesson), they have an opportunity to design and conduct their own investigations with their mini-ecosystems. There are hundreds of variables students can manipulate with a minimum of materials – temperature, light, pollution, type of water, type of soil, etc. As a class, students brainstorm variables that might affect the plants, soil, and/or water in a terraqua column. In teams, students propose a project, and once approved, set about testing their ideas and observing the effects of their manipulations on their mini-ecosystem. If your school participates in a local science fair, this is a fantastic activity to introduce students to experimental design, variables, and control groups.