Materials

Task Library

Task Library

California Wildfires Task

In this high school task, students evaluate and compare sources of information presented in different formats to explore what is causing wildfires, the negative impacts of wildfires on biodiversity and human communities, and several potential forest management strategies to mitigate these impacts in two different areas of California. This task intends to elicit student learning of the following NGSS dimensions:

Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems (HS)
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information (HS)
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Scale, Proportion, and Quality (HS)
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Farming Systems

In this middle school task, students evaluate two competing solutions for soil management, conventional tillage and no-tillage, to determine how each system impacts soil health and crop production. This task intends to elicit student learning of the following NGSS dimensions:

Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems (MS)
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions (MS)
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Engaging in Arguments from Evidence (MS)
  • Developing and Using Models (MS)
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Patterns (MS)
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Food Fermentation

In this middle school task, students develop an explanation for how one organism’s (lactobacillus) population growth in an ecosystem may cause the population growth of other organisms in the same ecosystem to decrease. The ecosystem students explore is food. This task intends to elicit student learning of the following NGSS dimensions:

Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems (MS)
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data (MS)
  • Engaging in Arguments from Evidence (MS)
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Cause and Effect (MS)
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Frog Fungus

In this high school task, students evaluate a series of mathematical models to determine how a mysterious fungus impacts various populations in a pond ecosystem. This task intends to elicit student learning of the following NGSS dimensions:

Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems (HS)
  • LS2.C: Ecosystems Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience (HS)
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Developing and Using Models (HS)
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Cause and Effect (HS)
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Genetics Task

In this middle school task, students will write an argument that justifies the selection of a particular bull to be mated with a group of cattle to meet the criteria set forth by the producer. First, students will identify trait heritability and make connections between trait heritability and making cattle produce beef more efficiently. Then, students review basic probability of outcomes for calf traits based on the expected differences between two bulls. Students are introduced to a concept called Expected Progeny Difference. Next, students are asked to focus on a growth production trait and compare the genetic difference between two calves on several economically and environmentally important traits. Last, students justify a decision to select a particular bull to be used in a selective breeding program to get the desired outcome. [permalink]
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Grazing Task

Based on the concept of rotational grazing, this elementary task takes students on a journey to learn about how cattle and the ecosystem are deeply intertwined. Matter cycles, food webs, and interdependent relationships all come into play as students explore how various agriculture practices can cause an ecosystem to improve. [permalink]
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Monday, Tuesday, Happy Graze

This high school task focuses on human impacts on earth systems. Throughout the task, students evaluate two different grazing techniques as possible strategies to manage natural resources. Students interpret a model, calculate data, and read an article to gather information to decide on the best resource management system to maximize profits and minimize negative impacts on biodiversity. This task intends to elicit student learning of the following NGSS dimensions:

Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems (HS)
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions (HS)
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data (HS)
  • Engaging in Arguments from Evidence (HS)
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Cause and Effect (HS)
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More Cheese, Please

In this middle school task, students use models and data to explain why lactose intolerant people experience lots of gas, bloating and diarrhea when they eat certain dairy products. Here, students explore models of lactose-tolerant and lactose-intolerant people to see how the inputs, outputs, and processes of each person’s digestive systems affect how they function to process dairy products. They then develop their own comparative model to explain why only lactose intolerant people experience these painful symptoms. At the end of the task, students examine new data to recommend what types of dairy products lactose intolerant people might eat to cause less painful symptoms. This task intends to elicit student learning of the following NGSS dimensions:

Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • LS1.A: Structure & Function (MS)
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Developing and Using Models (MS)
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data (MS)
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Systems and Systems Models (MS)
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Soil Task

In this middle school task, students use their knowledge of soil, soil weathering, soil properties, grassland ecosystems, cattle grazing, and the relationship between the soil and other moving parts of grassland ecosystems to make predictions about the impacts of rainfall to the ecosystems as well as the resources available to humans. As students make sense of the impacts grazing has on soil ecosystems, they must use and analyze data to construct a model to explain these cause-and-effect patterns. [permalink]
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Water Stewardship

In this middle school life sciences task, students will evaluate existing beef cattle production/industry practices and determine their impact on water quality and biodiversity. Using scientific evidence for support, students will identify potential solutions that could improve key biodiversity variables among water ecosystems. [permalink]
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