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JASON Science: Eco Defenders

What it is: Eco Defenders is another excellent Filament Games simulation/interactive.  In this game, students design “alien” invasive species and set it loose on an imaginary ecosystem.  Students must use their knowledge of ecosystems, adaptations, and competition to design a simulation of an invasive species.  Students find out that when an invading species occupies the same ecological niche as native species, they can cause problems for the ecosystem.  The game allows for a lot of customization and decisions for students as they choose one of three ecosystems and then design their own alien.  As students go through the simulation, JASON host researcher, Russell Cuhel, will ask questions about how invasive species invade an ecosystem giving students the chance to be the expert.  Before students play the game, ask them to click on the “Learn More” link where they will receive a tutorial for the game and some background information about invasive species.  Students can learn about different kinds of invasive species that exist in our world. How to integrate Eco Defenders into the classroom: In the Eco Defenders game/simulation, your students will: design their own invasive creature, watch their creature as it interacts in the ecosystem and competes over resources with native creatures, and analyze the interactions among the organisms in the ecosystem.  Students will select a creature to target in the ecosystem they have chosen and then design a species that will compete in the same ecological niche.  Students will design and then run a simulation to test their invader.  Afterward, they will discuss what happened with the virtual host scientist, go over the results, and analyze the data.  The great thing about this game/simulation is that no two students will have the exact same results.  Eco Defenders is best in a computer lab setting where each student can play individually.  After students have experimented and run through the simulation, come together as a class and discuss what students observed.  What made their invader successful?  What would they change for the next time?  As students learn more about ecosystems, eco niches, and invaders throughout the unit, have them run through the simulation again and see if they come up with different results.  If you can’t manage access to a 1 to 1 computer setting, play the game as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  The class should discuss each decision, weighing the pros and cons, before making a move.  As the students work through the simulation, talk about what they are observing and what tweaks might change the outcome of their simulation. Tips: JASON Science is worth a look.  The tag-line of JASON Science is “Education through Exploration”.  I couldn’t agree more! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Eco Defenders in your classroom.

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Project PLN November Issue: Sharing issue

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, professional development, Project PLN, Teacher Resources | Posted on 29-11-2012

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I’m a little behind this week (actually this year has been one big game of playing catch-up).  Last week, Nick and I published the latest issue of Project PLN.  It is worth reading through, it gave me just the right jolt of inspiration to tackle some of the catch-up project that have been on the outskirts for too long.  I hope it does the same for you!  You should know, right now I am giving myself giant pats on the back for posting the November issue here BEFORE December.  Sometimes it is the little things that keep you going :)

Here in the US we are polishing off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.  Luckily those things that we are thankful for linger much longer than the turkey.   You know what we are thankful for?  Our PLN!  You all are truly incredible.  We are so thankful for the ways that you share with us (and educators around the world).  A BIG thank you to all of our contributors for the November Sharing Issue. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you. That is the truth!

This issue is jam-packed full of great lesson ideas(grammar can be fun, Count of Monte Cristo on trial!), helpful techy tips (great Google Chrome extensions), inspiration to keep plugging ahead, and much more!  Take some time to relax and be inspired this week. Consider this issue a big THANK YOU for all that you do for education every day.

We are now accepting submissions for the March Issue. We have decided to label it the “Innovation Issue”. We want to dedicate this issue to creative/innovative ideas in education and in classrooms.  What are you doing in your school/classroom that others should be?  What needs to change?  What adjustments must be made to allow room for this innovation?

If you think you have something awesome to share, please send an email to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com and we will add it to the March Issue. Please follow the guidelines for submissions below so we can quickly and easily load your posts to the site.

Please email the article or link to the article to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com

Please include a small bio that includes your blog, Twitter handle and other information you would like to share. A picture is encouraged, but not required.

It may be a piece you have published on your blog already. A good idea is still a good idea even if you had it a few months ago.

Please submit posts by Monday March 4. We expect for the issue to go live on Tuesday March 12.

Thanks again for all of the support you have given Project PLN over the years.

Have an awesome school year,

Kelly  and Nick

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