Water Ecology Group – Concept Map
Julia, Brittany, Jim, Becci, LaToya

Blurb about our station:

For the concept interviews, our group took on the challenge of assessing the students’ prior knowledge regarding water ecology. To do so in a fun and informative way, we created a game that involved the students working together to create a concept map with sticky notes. The students were tasked with coming up with as many responses as possible (one response per sticky note) to the following questions:

1. What plants/animals are found at the beach?
2. What do people do at the beach?
3. What sort of tools/technologies are used to study the water/plants/animals at the beach?
4. What reasons do you think the beach might be closed to swimming?
Each group of students was given one minute to write down as many answers or thoughts as possible and stick them up in the appropriate circle on the concept maps. From our perspective, the majority of the students we had the opportunity to meet seemed to be engaged and having fun with the task. We did notice that once a student put an answer up, many students noted it and used the same response. That resulted in the concept maps looking very full, which was definitely a positive.
A second part of our station involved giving the students an opportunity to examine specimens (gobies, zebra mussels, pond water). This part of the task seemed to be fairly popular, too. In particular, we noted that the students found the gobies to be the most interesting. Significantly, many of the students recognized the gobies and some even had prior knowledge how problematic the gobies were at Lake Ontario. A few students also seemed to have prior knowledge of the zebra mussels as well.
For the final (closing) part of our station, we asked the students what else they’d like to know/learn/explore about the beach. They were instructed to write/illustrate their answers on additional stickies and post them up on the concept map. Most of the students were able to come up with a question, though time was an issue.

What we learned from the station:
At our station the children were very engaged and had no trouble participating. This shows us that the students will probably be outgoing at the beach and active participators. We also learned that many of the students know that Ontario beach closes often and that there is a pollution problem. Many of the students showed an understanding that there is bacteria in the water and algae resulting in beach closing. Our group learn that with a large group of teachers that out number students is important to prior to working to with the students discuss group dynamics and decided whose going to say what and when. In our group we were not clear on each teachers job role and because of that one person talked the majority of the time and other teachers weren’t able to have as much interaction with the children. This is something before camp our group needs to address to avoid anyone feeling left out or less important because camp is meant to be a learning experience for everyone.

From our station we learned that you have to be considerate of your audience. When dealing with older/ more mature students teachers and the activities need to adjusted so they are able to feel comfortable and get engaged in the activity. Younger/ less mature children seem to have more energy while older/ mature students tend to be more laid back and want to be treated like adults.

Student Responses to the Questions:

Student Been to the beach? Plants/Animals Things to do Tools/Technology Beach closures What else
Terrence Yes seaweed swim microscope stank How can we clean it?
catfish sleep dirty
people sun tan stuff in it
seal eat Ahhhh!
Daren Yes: Charlotte sharks tan drainer dead animals Any dangerous animals?
frogs ride a boat beaker being cleaned out
drawing of a squid jog thermometer water dirty
cook out
Briyanna Yes: Charlotte seagulls walk around thermometer algae Why is the water so dirty
people volleyball nets cow poop Why does animals (fish) keep dying
fish catch boats pollution
algae swim graduated cylinder spray farmers use to kill bugs
sharks playground
seashells merry-go-round
Juan Yes fish swim thermometer pollution
birds play graduated cylinder lifeguards
bacteria get wet
wash off sand
Josh Yes: Charlotte Plants relax thermometer bacteria
animals tan animals
fish eat dirty
swim dead fish
sand castle
Yeslyann Yes algae walk graduated cylinder dangerous animals Why is it so dirty?
goose exersice microscope disease
fish sports thermometer pollution
ducks swim test tubes bacteria
Brian Yes: Charlotte algea sports sonar bacteria Whats the acidity of the lake?
seagulls swim pH paper polluted
fish tan
Liam Yes: Sodus crabs volleyball beakers no lifeguard Any other salt water fish that can live in fresh water
fish collect shells microscope weather
seaweed feed birds test tubes trash
algea sand castle polluted water
swim other stuff
Jiren Yes: Charlotte crabs swim test tubes dirty Can gobis kill fish bigger then them?
algea walking beakers weather
sharks tennis microscope trash
fish basketball thermometer pollution
plankton volleyball littering
clown fish bird feeding
Hadaree Yes: Ontario algea sand castle test tubes weather How to clean water?
seaweed water gun distillation no lifeguard
crabs swim to clean up
clam picnic
fish collect trash
Hannah Yes: Many plankton soccer Out of time Out of time
algea chill
seaweed tan
fish volleyball
spongebob swim
Aslan Yes: Many fish boating Out of time Out of time
green things stare at it
Jhade Yes: Charlotte rocks swim Out of time Out of time
manatees sports
sand jetski
fish sail
sting rays relax
seahorse tan
Demari Yes: Many crabs tan Out of time Out of time
fish soccer
seaweed swim
plankton fish
beavers skip rocks
crane run
ducks football
What we are going to use at camp:
In this section is a list of the possible ways we can incorporate our data into camp:

Using the concept maps and data:
1. We can compile a group list for each of the groups (once we know which campers are in which group). These lists would include all of the campers’ answers for all of the questions, but the individual answers would be anonymous so students did not feel as though they could be picked on for not contributing many answers or for contributing too much. As a group the campers could then revisit the questions to provide additional answers they may not have thought of during the 1 minute time that we provided for them for the concept interviews. This could facilitate a group discussion.
2. Each camper could be presented with a list of their answers that would not be displayed to the entire group and then the group could have a discussion around the questions and provide their answers as well as additional answers during the discussion.
3. The concept maps themselves could be displayed with or without the names for all to visit and discuss.

The discussion could take on a variety of forms:
1. Discussion can just be about combining the answers of the campers in your group and adding additional answers they did not originally think of. Perhaps focusing more on Ontario/Charlotte beach. (This may be particularly important for the students who missed out on completing all four questions.
2. Discussion could be about introducing the idea of Water Ecology by have the campers think about the connections and interactions between the 4 questions and their answers. How do the things people do at the beach affect the plants and animals? How do the plants and animals affect why the beach might be closed? How do our reasons for closing the beach affect the tools used to study the beach? How do the things people do at the beach affect the tools we use at the beach? etc etc. There are possible connections between each of the four questions and the other 3.
3. Discussion could make it more clear whether the campers understand the difference between fresh and salt water ecosystems. Many of the campers used salt water organisms for answers, this was allowed because we let them tell us answers that had to do with any beach and any body of water, but it is important to decipher whether the students knew they were talking about salt water organisms or if they didn’t know there was a difference.
4. Our closing question regarding what the students were interested in exploring further regarding the beach may be taken into consideration when determining what to study for camp. A group discussion on what they want to study and whether it is feasible (the pros and cons of studying that topic) would be beneficial.

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