Subject Time Grade platform
Coastal Bird Lab 75-90 minutes 6th – 8th Virtual Lab / Online Course

Overview & Course Topics

Coastal Bird lab students explore virtually with the VSC team on research vessels to discover a variety of birds around the California coast. They learn about what makes a bird different from any other animal as well as gain an understanding of the four categories of coastal birds during the lecture portion of the class. During the virtual tour VSC marine scientists will present birds in their natural habitat to demonstrate their behaviors and characteristics.

Students are encouraged to use the scientific method to gain a deeper understanding of coastal birds through analyzing their data while developing a hypothesis and theory. Conservation and ocean stewardship discussions help students make their own solutions to today’s environmental problems.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this lab you are able to:

  • Understand why scientists group birds into four specific categories based on their how they find their food
  • Explain the characteristics of the four categories and name several birds in each group
  • Create a site survey map displaying where specific birds are found and communicate reasons they live in various habitats
  • Communicate the natural history of numerous species of coastal birds
  • Develop one or more theories about specific coastal birds
  • Discuss environmental issues that have negatively impacted coastal birds
  • Write about solutions to reduce threats on specific coastal birds

Curriculum Standards

(Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science & Engineering Practices & Crosscutting Concepts)

Disciplinary Core Ideas: All Below are MS

LS1.B.1: Animals engage in characteristic behaviors that increase the odds of reproduction.

LS2.A.1: Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors.

LS2.A.2: In any ecosystem, organisms and populations with similar requirements for food, water, oxygen, or other resources may compete with each other for limited resources, access to which consequently constrains their growth and reproduction.

LS2.A.3: Growth of organisms and population increases are limited by access to resources.

LS2.A.4: Similarly, predatory interactions may reduce the number of organisms or eliminate whole populations of organisms. Mutually beneficial interactions, in contrast, may become so interdependent that each organism requires the other for survival. Although the species involved in these competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial interactions vary across ecosystems, the patterns of interactions of organisms with their environments, both living and nonliving, are shared.

LS2.C.1: Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

LS2.C.2: Biodiversity describes the variety of species found in Earth’s terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem’s biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health.

ESS3.C.1: Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

ESS3.C.2: Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.

ETS1.A.1: The more precisely a design task’s criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that is likely to limit possible solutions.

ETS1.B.2: A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it.

ETS1.B.3: A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results in order to improve it. There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet criteria and constraints of a problem.

ETS1.B.4: There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.

ETS1.B.5: Sometimes parts of different solutions can be combined to create a solution that is better than any of its predecessors.

ETS1.C.2: The iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution.

MS-LS1.4: Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.

MS-LS2.1:   Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS2.2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

MS-LS2.4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

MS-ESS3.4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

MS-ETS1.1: Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

MS-ETS1.2: Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

MS-ETS1.3: Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success

ETS1.B.1: There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.

ETS1.B.3: A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results in order to improve it. There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet criteria and constraints of a problem.

CCCS..ELA-Literacy.RST6.8-3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

CCCS..ELA-Literacy.RST6.8-1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.

Science & Engineering Practices

1 A-H ASKING QUESTIONS AND DEFINING PROBLEMS

2 G DEVELOPING AND USING MODELS

3 A, C ,D, E PLANNING AND CARRYING OUT INVESTIGATION

  1. A, B, D, G, H ANALYZING AND INTERPRETING DATA
  2. A-F CONSTRUCTING EXPLANATIONS AND DESIGNING SOLUTIONS
  3. A-E OBTAINING, EVALUATING, AND COMMUNICATING INFORMATION

Crosscutting Concepts

PATTERNS

Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

Graphs, charts and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

CAUSE AND AFFECT

Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

SYSTEMS AND SYSTEM MODELS

Models are limited in that they only represent certain aspects of the system under study.

INFLUENCE OF ENGINEERING, TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE ON SOCIETY AND THE NATURAL WORLD

All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.