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A Stream Ecosystem in the Classroom

To build a model of the world of nature is never an easy task. In this case the lotic ecosystem for the classroom is no exception. However, with the right materials, some time, and student involvement you can have an operational classroom ecosystem, complete with organisms, physical environment, interactions and relationships, and natural succession. The classroom stream ecosystem provides a focus for biology class projects, lessons, experiments and research. It provides students with a sense of ownership in the class if they are involved in the development of the system early in the school year. I have found students simply standing and observing, conversing about their ideas, and actively wondering what is going on in the stream on a daily basis. The model is a magnet for student curiosity. If you have a chance to build one and use it, I recommend it strongly, and wish you luck in your new quest to make biology real and relevant to your students.

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