To me, biodiversity is the sum total of all processes, organisms, and ecosystems in the biosphere. If this definition seems incredibly broad and nebulous to you, YOU'RE RIGHT! However, I have, after this summer's institute, learned to appreciate biodiversity without a concrete definition of the word.
Through our investigations of bacteria, pond
life, and arthropods, I see that there are a lot of ways maintain homeostasis
in an ecosystem. Organisms perform many life functions in a variety of
ways, some observable and some more ethereal. However, they all do it
right, if you will. That is, they all manage to stay alive and procreate.
If I can get my students to understand and appreciate that idea, I think that
I have successfully taught biodiversity.
One project we worked on during the institute was creating a concept map (mind map, spider diagram, web, whatever else you'd like to call this) of biodiversity. How does biodiversity relate to the other topics we cover in high school biology? Click this to see the concept map (with slight modification) that I and my group developed. The program I used to create this concept map is called Inspiration. You can get a thirty day trial version here. Inspiration is a wonderful resource for teachers and students. If you use concept maps, you MUST try this program.
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