We’ve developed and implemented each module and series of lessons over the past few years. All of the GPSE materials – modules, lessons, and activities – are designed such that educators can implement them at their school or institution. Please feel free to use and alter these materials to fit your class’s needs and specific curriculum.
Although you do not need to contact GPSE to use these materials, we would greatly appreciate a brief email to let us known whenever you do. Furthermore, we would love your feedback about the materials. Please let us know what worked in your classroom and how we might improve our activities and lessons.
Introductory Module: Animal Behavior, Microbiology and Ecology
This is the first module that was developed by GPSE. We initially implemented it during the fall semester of our program when we were designing science fair projects in the spring.
The premise of this module is to introduce middle school students to the scientific method and data collection through three main focal areas of biology: Animal Behavior, Microbiology, Ecology.
These three lessons were designed for middle school students but could easily be altered for high school and introductory college level classes. Each lesson differs in location, but all are designed to be conducted in two, one-hour sessions. The microbiology lesson was designed for a basic classroom, while the animal behavior lab was designed for a zoo and the ecology lab was designed for a park.
deals with the most abstract content: how the physical features of natural habitats
determine who lives in them and how those residents are distributed. As with the
Microbiology module, this experiment seeks to highlight to students that important
patterns in nature often require careful observation and scientific thinking, not to mention
the use of technology (pH and temperature meters), before they become obvious. This
module also should teach students that organisms have a “comfort zone”, or a set of
environmental conditions in which they do best, and outside of which they do poorly or
are absent altogether. One additional goal should be to discuss with students how these
concepts translate to larger scales, such as regional, continental or global.
How do populations change over time? What are the forces that drive evolution on Earth? Let your students experience these forces hands on through this natural selection activity.
Phylogenetics and Arthropod Diversity
Arthropods, especially insects, are the most diverse and speciose group of
animals in the world, and they display a range of morphologies, behaviors, and life styles. The
higher-level phylogeny of arthropods is also well-established, with strong scientific consensus
down to the order level in most cases; thus, there is a “correct” phylogeny to compare against.
The purpose of the activity is to formalize knowledge of arthropod diversity, and use that
knowledge to practice building a phylogeny by putting concepts about evolution into action.
The primary goal of this activity is to get kids engaged and get them a chance to see how populations change over time, as well as how environments drive populational changes. The students will play the role of a predator to moths living on the bark of trees. These moths have to major phenotypes a white much lighter coloration and a darker one. This is a historical example of the peppered moth. Where the lighter coloration was the dominant phenotype living primarily on like colored barked trees. However, with increasingly poor air quality with the coming of the industrial revolution this stained and darkened the bark of the trees and killed off many light-colored lichens. There then was a large switch in phenotype proportions towards the favor of darker melanistic moths, due to a selective pressure caused by predation due to the lack of camouflage.
Energy Meets Biology
Over a three year period, we developed and implemented a module consisting of numerous lessons.
This module aims at integrating basic themes of biology – photosynthesis, metabolism, foraging, thermoregulation, sustainable food webs, coloration and migration – with the underlying importance of energy.
Wildlife Migrations - Energetic Causes and Consequences
Optimal Performance Temperatures
Ocean Fisheries and Sustainability - Energetic Inputs and Energy Removal
Optimal Foraging- Costs & Benefits
Students act as hungry animals during the Optimal Foraging Lesson to learn the trade-offs that animals face when hunting for food. Through multiple rounds of scavenger hunts, students must gather points and avoid predators to survive. The placements of low-point foods in the open and high-point foods under the guard of predators help students quickly understand the decisions that hungry animals face in the wild.
Form, Function, & Food
Life History Strategies
Carbon Budget and Storage
Ocean Acidification and Marine Connectivity
Resource Distribution and Predator-Prey Dynamics
Marine Food Webs
These are additional STEM lessons that have been developed using the 5E model that our mentors have developed through the years.
Where does all the stuff go? A compost experiment to introduce the concept of decomposition.
address biological and environmental concepts and terminology. Students are going to be able to bring
in some of their own food scraps or clean garbage from home and watch it decompose throughout the
semester. The big idea here is to teach students about decomposition in a fun lab environment using
some of their own materials from home.
Food Microbiology and Chemistry
Virus Spread in population
Sounds In Nature
After the Quake: Seismology in Action
You Are What You Eat!
Introduction to Social Psychology
Our Drinking Water
Race To Displace: Sonaran Desert Edition
Hopwood, J. L., Flowers, S. K., Seidler, K. J., & Hopwood, E. L. (2013). Race to Displace: A Game to Model the Effects of Invasive Species on Plant Communities. The American Biology Teacher, 75(3), 194-201.
Astrobioloy: Mission Brio
Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe. Though it is only within the past center] century or so that the discipline has matured in to a robust science, figures like Aristarcus and Giordano Bruno have imagined that the stars in the night star could be suns in their own right, warming and brightening the planets of creatures far away. In this activity, students will get a taste of the kinds of questions that astrobiologists ask, and what we look for when searching for life in distant places by performing a mini NASA mission of their own
Lights and Flames
Introduce the idea that light exists at different wavelengths which correspond to different energies. Introduce the visible EM spectrum and how perceived colors relate to wavelength and energy. Explore the concept that adding energy to different substances causes them to give off light of specific energies, and hence colors. Explain that light reflects and absorbs different wavelengths based on the properties of the object the light is interacting with. Use diffraction lenses to explore how white light and colors are actually composed of many different wavelength colors.
Race to Renewables
This first goal of this lesson is to explain to students what climate change is and how it impacts our planet. The second is to help students understand what renewable energy is and how it can be used to offset climate change.
Our Material is Open Source – Please Use!
All of the GPSE materials – modules, lessons, and activities – are designed so educators can implement them at their school or institution. Please feel free to use and alter these materials to fit your class’s needs and specific curriculum. Although you do not need to contact GPSE to use these materials, we would greatly appreciate a brief email to let us known whenever you do. Furthermore, we would love your feedback about the materials. Please let us know what worked in your classroom and how we might improve our activities and lessons.