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Name: Catherine M Myers
Status: Teacher
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
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Date: N/A 

How would you teach your field to K-6 students?

I would teach the basics. First I would teach the idea of balance and diversity in an ecosystem. This would include the idea of successional communities during the year (from season to season). Then I would teach the idea of absorbing a change. Such as: how would a community change if I a) built a road. b) built a dam. c) added hot or contaminated water to a river. d) added a pollutant to the air. A good game for this is called the food web game. Everyone is some part of the food web, and each holds a string that connects him (her) to the organisms that depend on him (her) for food. You can also include other factors like light, warmth, or clean water.

Anyway, if one organism dies (or factor changes) the kids can see how it affects the other organisms, because each organism that is affected, itself than affects other organisms all the way up the food chain. It can be a little shocking. Then I would look at communities that had been damaged and identify what damaged it, how it happened, how could it be fixed, and how could future damage be avoided. It is important to stress SOLUTIONS because invariably the problem is caused by man trying to make money, and without a SOLUTION someone looses a livelihood. The little guys can be taught simple things like balance versus change. Change versus irreparable damage. This is a great subject for developing critical thinking skills.

Stacie M Clark

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