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NOVA's Nature module is filled with video clips, text, and multimedia tools that will draw your kids into science. Exploring how matter cycles through an ecosystem? Open your class with the gross, two-minute video "How Vultures Can Eat Rotten Meat." Your kids will be riveted. Afterward, talk about how humans might affect the carbon cycle if they give livestock medications that also affect vultures. Have your kids check out the "Population Explosion" interactive -- it isn't as fun as others but offers great representations of how a large influx of acorns could influence other populations. Students could use information from this simulation to write an explanation of how different factors affect carrying capacities in ecosystems (an NGSS Performance Expectation). Students can also examine actual photographic evidence from the "Extreme Ice Survey" and hear how scientists are using it to learn about climate change. In all, NOVA: Nature's value is in the excellent ways it showcases quality images, articles, and videos to capitalize on kids’ curiosity about their world.
- How Vultures Can Eat Rotten Meat: Watch and learn how these scavengers can eat rotting animals without getting sick.
- Photographing Climate Change: Examine photographic evidence from the Extreme Ice Survey.
- How Water Is Reshaping the West: Read about the ways that humans have diverted water and affected the environment.
Key Standards Supported
Earth and Human Activity
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.