Tree of Life

The Tree of Life:  Exploring Biodiversity Using Genomic and Computational Methods

The Tree of Life is a family tree of all biodiversity and can serve as an organizing principle for exploring evolution, genomics, and ecology.  Participants in this workshop will gain an introduction to the Tree of Life through lectures, discussions, and an animated movie (developed in part by the leaders of the workshop), TreeTender (available for viewing at www.treetender.org).  Short segments of the movie have been packaged for conveying key concepts, and participants will develop teaching modules to accompany these movie segments.  They will also identify other concepts and segments that would make strong additional segments for packaging and will share these ideas with both the science team and the animation team that developed the movie.  Following this introduction to the Tree of Life, participants will learn more about how scientists reconstruct evolutionary history to reveal an estimate of the Tree of Life, with activities ranging from DNA extraction and PCR to accessing gene sequences from GenBank to using software to build the Tree of Life.

Further exploration of the Tree of Life will focus on comparative genomics and how similar or different organisms are at their underlying genomic level.  The penultimate module of the workshop will explore the geographic and ecological distributions of species in nature.  Activities will include (i) learning how to generate models of the environmental space occupied by a species, (ii) projecting those models to learn where species are likely to be distributed in the future, (iii) linking spatial distributions with the Tree of Life to estimate patterns of phylogenetic diversity from local to continental scales, and (iv) considering the implications of these patterns for conservation efforts.

Throughout the workshop, emphasis will be placed on translating the genetic, genomic, ecological, and evolutionary principles into effective teaching materials, and the workshop will conclude with presentations by participants on the teaching materials they have developed during the course of the week.

The program will take place on the University of Florida campus, Gainesville from Sunday, July 15 – Thursday, July 19.

Lead instructors: Distinguished Professors, Drs. Pam and Doug Soltis

Double-occupancy on-campus housing, breakfast, and lunch are provided.

There is no registration fee. Participants selected to attend are responsible for their own travel to and from Gainesville and meals other than those provided by the program.

Program Files:

SSI 2018 ToL Schedule

SSI 2018 ToL Program Book

 

  • Each participant created two learning activities, 1) using computational and genomic tools and 2) using TreeTender. There are a lot of them!! These are still in draft form as the teachers implement and modify them during the school year. You are welcome to utilize them in your classroom as well, but we ask that you give proper attribution to the original author.

ToL Learning Activities using Computational and Genomic Tools

Teacher:   Renae Allen

School: Union County High School

Allen_Ecological Niche Modeling of Florida Temperature Changes and Endangered Rabbit Survival

Abstract:

Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) can be used to show many biological and environmental relationships. Applications can be used to promote conservation of species by making predictions of the future status of organisms due to climate changes, environmental changes and human impact. The Florida Marsh Rabbit is a species of concern while a subspecies that is native to the Florida Keys – Sylvilagus palustris hefneri – is endangered. This rabbit lives in shallow water environments. This species of rabbit may be adversely impacted by changing water levels along Florida coasts. Layering information on Florida sea level data with marsh rabbit abundance data may show a relationship between the productivity of the marsh rabbit. Since the Florida Keys subspecies is now endangered, it would be expected that data shows a greater impact due to more intense sea level change in that region of Florida. QGIS 2.18 software program will be used to analyze and layer data with maps in order to unite multiple data bases. Students will learn that many data bases containing useful information for scientific analysis are available for public use as well as a model example of how such databases may be used for research application.

Teacher:   Robb Bartenslager

School: Palm Beach Central High School

Bartenslager_How Biodiverse is Your Environment

Abstract:

Students will identify as many plant species in a given area.  The NCBI BLAST site will be used to find the DNA sequence for the gene rbcL which is common to most plants.  The DNA sequences will then be uploaded into the Mega site which will generate a phylogenic tree showing the relationships of the plants in the area.

Teacher:   Brenda Breil

School: PK Yonge DRS

Breil_Identifying and acting to mitigate and environmental problem

Abstract:

Students identify an environmental problem of personal concern, research the topic, plan an action to help resolve/mitigate the problem, carry it out, write it up, and present it.

Teacher:   Joina Chiomadzi

School: Memorial Middle school

Chiomadzi_The use of Natural history Collections Data to learn about ecosystems and biodiversity

 

Abstract:

This activity aims at engaging students in learning about species distributions, co-occurrence and conservation using institutional collections of data. A computational tool called iDigBio can be used to show on a map the spatial distribution of species through georeferencing. Gray bat whose scientific name is Myotis griserscens (mammal) is one of the endangered and threatened species in Florida. Using the provided data, students are going to use iDigBio to see how spatially distributed these species are hence analyze the data and come up with ways to protect them.

Teacher:  Liesl DeLuera

School: Suncoast High School

DeLuera_Kissing Cousins From Cladogram to Phylogenetic Tree

Abstract:

Kissing Cousins? From Cladogram to Phylogenetic Tree is a collection of activities that may be completed in class, assigned as homework, or a combination of the two. A variety of methods and resources are presented that can be used to clarify the concepts of evolution and the methods used to support the ideas of evolutionary relationships. NOTE: The computational analysis section is designed to facilitate the use of Chromebooks, therefore the analysis of DNA sequences requires internet access.

Teacher:   Krystie Diaz

School: Dr. Phillips High School

Diaz_TT_What the Biome

Fisher_TT_Florida is the Model

Abstract:

Students will pick a plant or animal of the United States of their choosing and using www.idigbio.org (idigbio is more or less a US database, so picking a panda or elephant might not yield great results as those animals would be found mostly in zoos) they will determine where collectors have found the specimen.  They will then answer questions as to what would happen if the niche went away

Teacher:   William J. Furiosi II

School: Oviedo High School

Furiosi_TT_Symbiosis in Stress Effects of Climate Change on Biomes & Symbiotic Relationships

Abstract:

Evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Phylogenetic trees are means of hypothesizing the evolutionary relatedness of life. Consequently, a corollary was developed saying that, “Everything in biology makes more sense in light of a tree of relationships.” Using common Florida species native to a specific locale (in this case, Seminole County was used), students will explore evolutionary trends by developing phylogenetic trees and homology tables using sequence alignment tools. Each student groups’ species list will be a subset of a larger class set. Groups will have overlapping information and will see how their trees compare based on species differences. In summary of the activity, the class will attempt to compile their data into one larger tree; the result is that students will see that science doesn’t always involve clean data and emphasizes the need for more powerful computational methods to handle the vast amount of data available.

Teacher: Carol Goldenberg

School: William T. Dwyer High School

Goldenberg_DNA to Phylogeny

Goldenberg_TT_Tree Tender Activity

Abstract:

DNA is universal.  Every living organism on earth shares the same molecules, including DNA.  The same processes are used by all living things in order to grow, reproduce, metabolize, etc.  The Human Genome project mapped all of our genes and since then we can determine which genes are responsible for which traits.  This has led to amazing medical treatments and will continue to do so.  Because of the universality of genetics, genes can be swapped between organisms, evolutionary relationships can be seen, medical advancements have been made.  Restriction enzymes have been used to cut and paste genes within an organism’s genome.  DNA can be extracted and used for medical research, forensics and showing evolutionary relationships.  All of this can lead to a better understanding of ourselves and how the rest of the living world works.

Teacher:   Kathryn Kehoe

School: Ponte Vedra High School

Kehoe_ Using DNA data to generate phylogenetic trees

 

Abstract:

This activity can be a stand-alone activity to demonstrate how DNA sequence is used to generate a  phylogenetic tree.  The intended use of the lesson is as a final activity of a Comparative Proteomics unit that explores alternative methods for analyzing evolutionary relationships between various species of fish.   Students will first analyze potential evolutionary relationships based on environmental niche and morphology.  Generating protein profiles using extraction and SDS-PAGE becomes a second method for considering species differences that students can utilize to develop their own cladograms.  As a final activity, DNA and a web based bioinformatics tool will be used to generate a final version of a phylogenetic tree.  DNA can be isolated and used for sequencing, the DNA sequence used in the online tool DNA Subway.  Alternatively, DNA sequence obtained from NCBI can be loaded.  Students can generate DNA sequence to be analyzed using NCBI-BLAST.  DNA sequence for mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene for six common fish is provided.  Cytochrome c oxidase was chosen because of its use in DNA barcoding.

Teacher:   Margaret Lawrence

School: William T. Dwyer High School

Lawrence_DNA, RNA and Protein Synthesis

 

Abstract:

DNA is the carrier of the genetic information that determines everything about living organisms. Everyone’s hair color, height, blood type and skin color are all determined by the DNA.  To convert the information from the DNA to the characteristics in the genes, a process referred to in biology as the “central dogma” occurs.  This process involves the transcribing of DNA into RNA, and then the translating of RNA into a protein.

DNA is made up of building blocks called nucleotides.  The nucleotides are made of nitrogen bases called Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine, (A, T, C, G) whose arrangements will determine the types of genes found in living organisms.  Translating the DNA sequences into an amino acid sequence which are the building blocks of proteins will determine the expression of a gene.

The activity in this lab involves a simplified way of transcribing DNA to RNA, and then translating RNA into a sentence that would represent an amino acid sequence that results in a protein.  Following the simplified hands on activity, a computational method, BLAST, will be used to illustrate the process in a “real world” manner using a real DNA strand from a national database and translating it to a protein found in various animals.  By observing similar animal species with this specific protein, and preparing a phylogenic tree using these animals, one could identify the relatedness of different organisms in the Tree of Life.

Teacher:   Valerie Ledford

School: Belmont Academy

Ledford_Ecological Niche Modeling What Processes do Scientists Use

Abstract:

Ecological niche modeling is a method of using digitized species information, perhaps from collections, and making maps of a biological species’ potential distribution.  Using technology allows scientists to use large data sets to get more accurate models as data is added.

Ecological niche mapping is a means of showing speciation and biodiversity. Modeling thousands of species and piling distribution maps on top of each other allow scientists to get species richness data. In addition, scientists can compare current and future data models to make predictions on species distribution based on climate models or other ecological projects. It is important to note that ecological modeling looks only at the organism’s fundamental niche. Interactions with other organisms and other elements may not be considered.

In this activity, students will simulate actual processes used by scientists to create ecological niche predictive models. This is a computer-based activity.

Teacher:   L. Clara Mabour

School: Northeast High School

Mabour_“Ecological niche modeling for Hula Hoop ecosystems”

 

Abstract:

Biodiversity is not limited to large scale ecosystems, scientists can measure species diversity in small areas. An organism serves roles in their ecosystems through and are indirectly connected to the abiotic and biotic materials/beings with the ecosystem. Phylogenetic trees help scientists predict the degree of relatedness between organisms and can help indicate relationships evolutionary relatedness or coevolution among organisms in similar environments. In this activity, students will use a hula hoop to mark a random area of land from which they will collect data to identify small scale biodiversity, species relatedness, and then map the locations of those organisms within the given area. Students will also produce a cladogram or phylogenetic tree to demonstrate how relatedness among the organisms.

Teacher:   Elizabeth Miller

School: Pace High School

Miller_Can we predict invasive species

Abstract:

Invasive species can harm the environment, the economy, or even human health. How can an invasive species so easily take over? Can we predict invasive species? In this activity students will use QGIS and Maxent software to model niches and distributions of a chosen species in their native habitat. The model expresses a probability distribution where each grid cell has a predicted suitability of conditions for the species. Students will then analyze other regions using the same bioclimatic variables to determine if their chosen species could potentially inhabit the new region or become invasive.

Teacher:   Teresa Nick

School: Merritt Island High School

Nick_TT_Team Tree Tender You Can Be The Change

Abstract:

Florida is inundated with invasive plants and non native species. Through this project students will research and create a poster on two species that may compete in a florida ecosystem. They will use IDigBio.org as a reference and complete a CER (Claim, evidence, reasoning) model to support their claim. The CER information will then be displayed on a poster and presented to the class.

Teacher:   Jennie Rankin

School: Episcopal School of Jacksonville

Rankin_Branching Out Using NCBI, BLAST, and MEGA to construct a phylogenetic tree

Abstract:

In this lesson, there are two different levels available for students: a basic application (part 1) and a more difficult extension (part 2). In part 1, students will use a data set provided (FASTA formatted nucleotides)  to BLAST in the NCBI database to find homologs (homologous organisms) to make a phylogenetic tree using blast. In part one, students may choose to do an extension where they find the common name and images of the organisms to add to the tree. In part 2, students will do an extension where they locate a different common gene and find the nucleotide sequence to BLAST and make a new phylogenetic tree.

Teacher:   Carla Dee Reedy

School: North Marion High

Reedy_Branching Out Using NCBI, BLAST, and MEGA to construct a phylogenetic tree.

Abstract:

In this lesson, there are two different levels available for students: a basic application (part 1) and a more difficult extension (part 2). In part 1, students will use a data set provided (FASTA formatted nucleotides)  to BLAST in the NCBI database to find homologs (homologous organisms) to make a phylogenetic tree using blast. In part one, students may choose to do an extension where they find the common name and images of the organisms to add to the tree. In part 2, students will do an extension where they locate a different common gene and find the nucleotide sequence to BLAST and make a new phylogenetic tree.

Teacher:   Michelle Rivas-Reyes

School: Driftwood Middle School

Rivas_Understanding the Tree of Life A Framework for Building Ecosystem Resilience

Abstract:

This lesson plan explores biodiversity and its role in sustaining life on Earth. It begins by introducing students to the key concepts in ecology, biology, and environmental science at the root of speciation and natural selection, and leads them into engaging collaborative learning group activities on interdependence. Students will develop a conceptual understanding of this lesson by participating in a guided classroom discussion on TreeTender- a short film advocating eco-awareness and the significance of phylogenetic diversity and the environmental-societal factors threatening the health and balance of Earth’s system. This type of open dialogue and debate over these topics will allow students to construct and share their knowledge of what they believe is contributing to the current state of our planet, and our planet’s response to these conditions. To emphasize the importance of building ecosystem resilience, students will then move into an eco-survey of endangered species to demonstrate how human activity and the degradation of suitable habitats is interfering with the distribution and diversification of ecological communities.

Teacher:   Mb Torres

School: Pineview School for the Gifted

Torres_Using Computational Biology

Abstract:

Students will use nucleotide to blast 2 genes found in plants.  While we are studying the photosynthetic properties of Euglena and the Kingdom of Protists.  Students will review the base pairing rules.  Students will see the conversions and capabilities of the software to convert base pairs to nucleotides and then to proteins.  Discussed will be the rbcl gene and natK

Gene for an enzyme Rbcl that guides photosynthesis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/?term=rbcl lists of all the organism

function of rbcl

The rbcL gene is a valuable tool for assessing phylogenetic relationships. This gene is found in the chloroplasts of most photosynthetic organisms. It is an abundant protein in leaf tissue and very well may be the most abundant protein on earth (Freeman 2008). Thus this gene exists as a common factor between photosynthetic organisms and can be contrasted with the rbcL genes of other plants in order to determine genetic similarities and differences. It codes for the large subunit of the protein ribulose-1, 5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (rubisco) (Geilly, Taberlet, 1994).

Another Plant gene NatK Gene query      NC_000964.3

Function of nat K enzymes that play a role in signal transduction across the cellular membrane

signal transduction =  the process by which a chemical or physical signal is transmitted through a cell as a series of molecular events so the cell can respond

 

ToL Learning Activities using TreeTender

Teacher:  Renae Allen

School: Union County High School

Allen_TT_Biomes and Species Success in Ecosystems

Abstract:

Biomes are areas found throughout the earth that occupy distinct regions defined by climate, flora and fauna. They include ecosystems in marine, fresh water and terrestrial environments. The diversity of life varies by latitude around the globe, with greatest biodiversity being found nearest the equator. Many species found within Earth’s biomes are now threatened or endangered. According to ecologists, current extinction rates are at an all-time high. Habitat loss due to human impact is a major contributor.  Your class will participate in a two-part activity.  First, students will research world biomes, identify specific flora and fauna and determine where on the Earth they may be found. Research facts and photos will be organized to produce a poster.  The second activity applies information gained from the biome research to determine which species of flora and fauna are most important to ecosystem survival. Through collaborative small-group discussion students will decide which species are most likely to become endangered or extinct and diagram the phylogenetic relationship between their example fauna. Students will apply a variety of learning strategies to complete these activities; research, poster-production, cooperative learning, polling, and small-group discussions. As a result of these activities, students will gain improved understanding of the elements of ecosystems within biomes and which example species are most important to sustain ecosystem function and success.

Teacher:  Robb Bartenslager

School: Palm Beach Central High School

Bartenslager_TT_Saving Biodiversity One PSA at a Time

Abstract:

Students will create a public service announcement to promote awareness of a threatened or endangered animal. Background research will be conducted by the students to find information about the animal, including its population change, role in the environment, and plans for its survival.

Teacher:  Brenda Breil

School: PK Yonge DRS

Breil_TT_Strategies for Dealing with Problems Caused by Over Fertilization Carmack_TT_

Abstract:

After having learned about the 4 major cycles (water, C, N, P) students will consider how fertilization affects the cycles.  They will then visit UF’s SEEP (Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project) and learn how the design helps reestablish the ecological function (service) of water filtration.  Students will then have to explain how the SEEP works and its effect on the cycling of water, N and P; identify other ways of dealing with over fertilization; come up with a plan for mitigating/avoiding the problems associated with over fertilization.

Teacher:  Donna Carmack

School: West Hernando Middle School

We are Family Tree Tender Conservation Extension

Abstract:

Throughout time, scientists have sought a way to link all organisms together via a common ancestor. The phylogenetic tree allows students to see the relationships organisms have with other organisms and how they are all interdependent.  Students will come to understand how the extinction of a plant or animal, or any organism, can create a chain reaction and subsequently, have an impact on the future of many other organisms.  Extinction of a species has been a normal progression of life.  Today, however, humans are exponentially increasing the rate.  Classes will participate in a 2-day learning activity.  The first day all students will view the Tree Tender video.  Students will be given one organism to research.  They will list its characteristics and its classification.  On day 2, students will work in groups of ~6, discuss the characteristics their organisms, and create a phylogenetic tree.  After each group has completed this task, the class will work together creating a larger tree to include each group’s organisms.  While the tree is under construction, the teacher will encourage a student-lead discussion asking how would extinction of a particular organism on the list effect the rest of the tree.  The pedagogy used here is differentiated instruction through active learning and co-operative learning.  Students will be looking at the possible real world implications extinction can have today and will experience experiential learning, inquiry-based learning, as well as engaging in open-ended discussion/learning which will allow them to explore real ways they can help our planet.

Teacher:  Joina Chiomadzi

School: Memorial  Middle school

Chiomadzi_TT_Go Extinction! Exploring the tree of life Extinction simulation presentations

Abstract:

Phylogenetic tree is used by scientists to look at similarities and relationships that exist between organisms. The phylogenetic tree is designed by looking at different characteristics of organisms throughout time. According to the tree tender film, all organisms are connected through the phylogenetic tree, though very distant at times. In any ecosystem for example coral reefs, as discussed in the film, organisms depend on each other for survival. If a species extinct, like dominos, many other species that may depend on it may extinct as well. Humans are a major player in the extinction event, the anthropocene extinction. My class will participate in an activity exploring how mass extinction can be reduced if not avoided at all. My students have already done ecological concepts like different traits of animals and plants and levels of classification. They have also grouped these traits of animals on a linear line to represent the tree of life. My class activity gives students an opportunity to collaborate with each other on changes they can make to save an ecosystem. The main pedagogy used here is differentiated instruction through active learning and cooperative learning. By looking at real –world issues, students will also experience Experiential Learning, Inquiry Learning, and Open – Ended Instruction, allowing them to explore real ways they can help our planet with their peers.

Teacher: Krystie Diaz

School: Dr. Phillips High School

Diaz_TT_What the Biome

Abstract:

The viewing of the Tree Tender movie could help spark an interest in the biomes of the planet by inciting the students to consider how all life on Earth is connected and how small changes, both good and bad can change how organisms interact within a biome.

Teacher:  Larry Fisher

School: Orange County Public School

Fisher_TT_Florida is the Model Presentation

Fisher_TT_Florida is the Model

Abstract:

Is there any hope in a world with climate change, too many people, pollution and species extinctions?  A drive around your town may reveal endless blacktop and development. However, a long drive through most parts of Florida reveals extensive areas of wildlands. Could it be that Florida, the third most populated state in the USA and the 8th most densely populated, may be a model for sustainable land use? This activity will present to students current land use trends and ask them to create a model map of a sustainable Florida.

Teacher:   William J. Furiosi II

School: Oviedo High School

Furiosi_TT_Symbiosis in Stress Effects of Climate Change on Biomes & Symbiotic Relationships

Abstract:

Biomes, ecosystems, and interspecific interactions are all key components to understanding ecology. Tragically, climate change is greatly impacting each of these three. In this lesson, students will utilize maps and models to determine the implications of continued climate change. From their investigations of current climate trends, they will predict the impact on interspecific interactions and present their findings to the class.

Teacher:   Carol Goldenberg

School: William T. Dwyer High School

File Name: Goldenberg_TT_Tree Tender Activity

Abstract:

In the film, Tree Tender, the tree of life is explained.  The Tree of Life demonstrates that all life, both extinct and extant, are all related by common ancestry.  Relationships among different species are examined to show how life is dependent upon other species.  Current problems with extinction are discussed using examples.  Why the tree of life is important to us as well as all life is demonstrated.  This activity is meant to get students thinking about the world around them and what is happening.  This activity is meant to educate students the current status of life on Earth and promote optimism on our ability to find solutions for the future.

Teacher:   Kathryn Kehoe

School: Ponte Vedra High School

Kehoe_TT_“How the Tree Works!”

Abstract:

This activity is intended to follow the viewing of the film TreeTender.  In particular, the video clip in the learning modules, shows how the Tree of Life can be used to determine the relationships between all organisms on life and reinforces the concept of a common ancestor to differing species.  This activity provides students with the opportunity to test these concepts using internet based resources.

Teacher:   Margaret Lawrence

School: William T. Dwyer High School

Lawrence_TT_Tree Tender Matching Game

Abstract:

Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with each other and with their environments.  This interaction is important to maintain a stable environment. Over the years humans have interfered with this interaction for various reasons resulting in very danger imbalance in our environment and creating a loss of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources and other problematic issues like climate change.

The film Tree Tender shows a variety of biological topics ranging from common ancestry to ecological symbiosis to destruction of our planet.  Most importantly it includes ways in which we can try to make things better on our planet. These things include ways we can decrease our energy use, choosing environmentally friendly products and contacting local governments.  The video encourages a better understanding of our planet which would result in decreasing extinct rates and increasing biodiversity.

In this activity, the students will play a matching game, matching the problem we’ve created on this planet to a potential solution.  The students will watch the video, and after matching the problem with the solution, try and come up with another way to solve the real-world problem using personal experiences.  The class will discuss some of the solutions they came up with during gameplay and display it on a poster board.

This activity will use Cooperative Learning, class discussion, and open-ended questioning to explain what is happening on our Earth and will try to come up with solutions to the problems.

Teacher:   Valerie Ledford

School: Belmont Academy

Ledford_Ecological Niche Modeling What Processes do Scientists Use

Abstract:

In the film Tree Tender, Gaia learns about the importance of the Tree of Life to represent the ancestry and relationships between all life that ever existed. In better understanding these relationships, we can better assess where our attention must be directed to slow the loss of biodiversity caused by humans. Students will be provided with questions to complete individually which focus on a specific perspective that aligns with the “Thinking Hats” pedagogical strategy from DeBono (1985) and then process these questions using a Jigsaw strategy. Discussions will focus on ecological concepts like the Anthropocene Extinction and biodiversity loss, natural history, the use of the Tree of Life, and ecosystem services we rely on.

Teacher:   L. Clara Mabour

School: Northeast High School

Mabour_TT_Tree Tender Social Media Campaign #FloridaTreeTenders

Abstract:

In the film Tree Tender, Gaia learns about the importance of the Tree of Life to represent the ancestry and relationship between all life that ever existed. In better understanding these relationships and the ecosystem services from which humans benefit and we can give hope to others to find solutions to our environmental issues and protect and improve biodiversity affected by human activity. Students will break into pairs to create a social media campaign to bring light to an environmental problem in Florida, create a solution, and develop a call to action. This uses pedagogy like, collaborative learning, case studies, integrated learning, peer teaching, and experiential learning to address a local environmental problem and propose solutions to that problem.

Teacher:   Elizabeth Miller

School: Pace High School

Miller_TT_Becoming a School Tree Tender

Abstract:

The film Tree Tender helps us realize that small changes in our personal lives and households can lead to large impacts if we work together. By raising awareness of our negative impact on global biodiversity, we can develop solutions to slow extinction rates and improve habitat quality. In this activity, students will design an achievable project involving school-wide waste reduction or campus quality/biodiversity improvement. After research, budgeting, and design, groups will present their project idea to the class. The class will vote on the best-suited project for the campus. The project with the most votes will have the opportunity to present their idea to administration for implementation for the year.

Teacher:   Bria Nakonecznyj

School: Haines City High

File Name: Nakonecznyj_TT_Bingo! I Got It!!! (doc, pdf, PNG)

Nakonecznyj_TT_Bingo! I Got It!!!

Abstract:

This is a Bingo review activity. It allows students to relate real life examples to major ecological services provided by organisms found in the Tree of Life. The teacher will read/show examples of organisms that provided ecological services. Students will participate in a discussion of each example organism and match its major ecological service found on their bingo board. This activity can be used as a starting engagement piece or as a review after topics are covered.

Teacher:   Teresa Nick

School: Merritt Island High School

Nick_TT_Team Tree Tender You Can Be The Change

Abstract:

After viewing the short film Tree Tender the students are encouraged to find hope in our ever-changing world. This project will help them to reflect on their own personal impact and encourage them to find a solution to implement in their daily lives to lessen their impact on our ever-changing world. The students will be able to experience how easy it is to make one small change and see that they can make a difference together. Through this classroom project and journal reflection students will be able to see how simple some of the changes they can make really are and attempt to put these changes into action. Another valuable part of this project is examining how America has become a throw away society. The students will be able to get hands-on experience in reusing/repurposing items. Overall, this project can help the students see how easy it is to lessen our overall impact on the Earth by make a small change in their daily life.

Teacher:   Maggie Paxson

School: Gainesville High School

Paxson_TT_Rocks, Clocks, and Zombie Lineages A literacy strategy based activity on the Tree of Life

Abstract:

This activity uses a recent popular-science article written for general audiences to discuss a specific example of evolutionary lineages.  Using The Guardian article “The paleontology of rocks, clocks, and zombie lineages” by Elsa Panciroli, students will read an annotate a short article, then share and discuss the importance of evidence discussed in the article.

Teacher:   Jennie Rankin

School: Episcopal School of Jacksonville

Rankin_TT_Tree Tender Conservation Warriors

Abstract:

After viewing the treetender video and responding to the questions, students will have a Harkness discussion about their answers to the questions.  The students will then collaborate with a conservation resource to research a particular threatened organisms.

Teacher:   Mb Torres

School: Pineview School for the Gifted

Torres_TT_Tree Tender Lesson Plan

Abstract:

Students will have previously done an activity with Land use’s around their neighborhood and compare maps created by their peers prior to watching tree tender.  Categories for land uses will be constructed by each group.   Students will create a class mural on long sheet of paper and incorporated ecosystems services .  Groups will be assembled per categories ex: parks and recreation, power and waste water treatment plants, how to deal with trash etc. visual representations on small pieces of papers and select areas to “place” their land use on the class mural.  As each group attaches their specific land use members will explain the pros and cons of choosing specific sites.  A lottery system will be devised so first come first serve.

An extension of this will be to explore the term ecosystem services.