Forest Ecology (Life Science)
Students will explore the Colorado forest ecosystem and discover the interdependent relationships between living and nonliving components. Students will learn about the many intriguing organisms that are native to Colorado’s forests and will understand how their unique traits help them survive and reproduce in their environment. During the winter, students will investigate how specific traits help animals survive in a cold and snowy environment. Students may even get to observe wildlife firsthand!
Students explore forest ecology through sensory-based activities, engaging games, and inquiry-based learning. Groups can prioritize one of the following topics, which will provide a lens through which to view forest ecology through specific, standards-based activities:
Adaptations - Organisms that live in the forest have unique traits that help them survive and reproduce in their environment.
Habitats - The Rocky Mountains have many different ecosystems and habitats that are determined by elevation and weather.
Fire and Human Impacts - Humans have had a wide variety of impacts on Rocky Mountain ecosystems, and wildfires are changing in nature and frequency due to changes imposed on ecosystems by humans.
Program Standards: 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4, 5-LS2-1, MS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-6
Environmental Issue: Wolves and Wildlife Management
Students will learn about wolf biology and the history of wolf and human interactions. Students will research the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado through the lens of a stakeholder. Acting as their stakeholder, students discuss the issues and come together at the end of the program for a "Town Hall Meeting" to open a dialogue, collaborate, and offer solutions. This program teaches students to think critically without their personal bias and through the lens of science in order to discuss how the presence of wolves impacts their community.
Program Standards: MS-LS2-5, HS-ESS3-3, HS-LS2-7