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Prairie Research

Prairie Soil Study

Description:  Utilizing both technology interface and observation skills, students collect and analyze data to draw conclusions about the quality and type of prairie soil at their site.  Soil investigations include analysis of soil texture, moisture, temperature, infiltration rates, color, pH and identification of decomposers.  Students use Vernier LabQuest scientific handhelds, soil temperature, pH and moisture sensors, soil core samples, and soil texture, plant tolerance and color charts.

Length of Program:  This program is available in a 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day format
For each available format, the program is conducted within the following time considerations:
1-day format:  Day One:  2.5 - 3 hour period.
2-day format:  Day One:  Traditional class period.  Day Two:  Double class period.
3-day format:  Day One, Two, Three:  Traditional class periods each day. 

Site Requirements:  Access to prairie ecosystem or grassland.

Cost:  None.  All equipment, teaching materials, and technology are provide free of charge.

Full program description, learning objectives, 2010 Indiana Academic Standards for Science and Math and Excellence in Environmental Education - Guidelines for Learning (Pre K - 12)

 

Prairie Ecosystem Investigation and Comparison

Description:  Students investigate the concept of biodiversity by conducting scientific ecosystem investigations in two different environments.  Data collection and measurements for each ecosystem include:  date, time of day, weather conditions, wind speed, air temperature, soil temperature, water temperature, infiltration rates, soil sample, soil moisture, plant transect, and animal observations.  Different methods of data collection – scientific handhelds and sensors, personal observations, and experimentation – are used throughout.  Collected data is analyzed and conclusions drawn about overall biodiversity of the ecosystem.

Length of Program:  This program is available in a 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day format
For each available format, the program is conducted within the following time considerations:
1-day format:  Day One:  2.5 - 3 hour period.
2-day format:  Day One:  Traditional class period.  Day Two:  Double class period.
3-day format:  Day One, Two, Three:  Traditional class periods each day. 

Site Requirements:  Access to prairie ecosystem or grassland.

Cost:  None.  All equipment, teaching materials, and technology are provide free of charge.

Full program description, learning objectives, 2010 Indiana Academic Standards for Science and Math and Excellence in Environmental Education - Guidelines for Learning (Pre K - 12)

 

Plant Biodiversity and Photosynthesis

Description:  Is there a correlation between prairie plant size and photosynthesis?  Students investigate this question through guided scientific inquiry, hypothesis formulation, experimentation and analysis of results.  Students identify prairie plants, measure plant height, leaf shape, leaf structure, stem structure, blooms, etc.  Using Vernier LabQuest handhelds and CO2 and O2 sensors, students measure the rate of CO2 and Oduring respiration and photosynthesis.   Students compile and share their results, formulate an answer to the question and draw conclusions.

Length of Program:  This program is available in a 1-day or 2-day format. The 3-day format is an option, but not recommended.
For each available format, the program is conducted within the following time considerations:
1-day format:  Day One:  2.5 - 3 hour period.
2-day format:  Day One:  Traditional class period.  Day Two:  Double class period.
3-day format:  Day One, Two, Three:  Traditional class periods each day. 

If school schedule allows, the program can be one day, 3 hours.

Site Requirements:  Access to prairie ecosystem or grassland.

Cost:  None.  All equipment, teaching materials, and technology are provide free of charge. 

Full program description, learning objectives, 2010 Indiana Academic Standards for Science and Math and Excellence in Environmental Education - Guidelines for Learning (Pre K - 12)

 

Plant Health and Nutrient Evaluation

Description:  Students evaluate overall plant health by examining the availability of the environmental components (sunlight, water, and nutrients) that plants require to survive.  Using Vernier LabQuest scientific handhelds and soil and plant tissue nutrient test kits, students measure sunlight percentage, sunlight intensity, soil moisture, and soil and plant tissue nutrients.  Collected data is analyzed and conclusions are drawn as to whether or not the surrounding environment provides a sufficient amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients for the plant’s survival.

Length of Program:  This program is available in a 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day format
For each available format, the program is conducted within the following time considerations:
1-day format:  Day One:  2.5 - 3 hour period.
2-day format:  Day One:  Traditional class period.  Day Two:  Double class period.
3-day format:  Day One, Two, Three:  Traditional class periods each day.

Site Requirements:  No specific site requirements.  Program can be done on most school sites.

Cost:  None.  All equipment, teaching materials, and technology are provide free of charge.

Full program description, learning objectives, 2010 Indiana Academic Standards for Science and Math and Excellence in Environmental Education - Guidelines for Learning (Pre K - 12)