SCI 570 Issues in Ecology for Teachers Summer 2004

Instructor: Class Meets:

Dr. David W. Rudge ( Aug 2-6 8:30-4:00 pm

Office: 3134 Wood Hall 1127 Wood Hall

Phone: 387-2779

Required Texts/Materials: None

Course Description:

"This workshop highlights various strategies (e.g. using simulations, identifying and building upon alternative conceptions) participants can use to introduce their students to concepts and skills associated with the study of ecology. Emphasis will be placed on how teachers can use ecology to enhance understanding of key biological concepts and how scientists study biological phenomena from an ecological perspective. Beyond this, the workshop also demonstrates how the study of ecology can be used to help students better appreciate how science differs from other forms of human inquiry. (Note: this rigorous course is specifically designed for Masters Students in Science Education)." (WMU Center for Science Education Summer Workshops/Courses SUMMER 2004, p. 5)

Course Rationale

Like other science content workshops offered through the Center for Science Education, this workshop is intended to aid inservice teachers in their life long development as learners of science and provide them with innovative strategies for how to facilitate science learning in their classrooms. This particular course is being offered at the graduate level for the benefit of individuals pursuing a masters degree in the Mallinson Institute for Science Education.

Broad Goals for SCI 570

Students will:

  1. deepen their understanding of the fundamental concepts of ecology;
  2. become aware of misconceptions they and their children have about ecological processes;
  3. become familiar with techniques that can be used to facilitate the learning of ecology and the nature of science; and,
  4. refine one or more of these techniques for use in their own classrooms.

Course Objectives for SCI 570

By the end of this course, students will:

Instructional Methods and Activities

SCI 570 meets daily for a week. A variety of pedagogical strategies will be used, including brief lectures, activities, discussions and videotapes. Time will be provided on Thursday to prepare for group microteaching presentations on Friday; some time will also be provided on Thursday and Friday to work on the two major projects for the course.

References and Resources

Course web site:

Policies and Procedures

Attendance and participation:

Attendance and participation in class is required of all students. More importantly, the discussions scheduled for class times are an essential part of your professional preparation.


The only email address that should be used for communication between WMU students and WMU faculty and staff is the email address associated with a BroncoNet ID. This email address typically takes the form "" An example is Students cannot automatically forward email from this address to other addresses. Students can access this email account or get instructions for obtaining a BroncoNet ID at

Students with Special Needs:

Students with disabilities or other special needs who need special accommodations in this course are invited to share these concerns or requests with the instructor as soon as possible.

Academic Honesty

You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the 2002-2004 WMU Graduate Catalog that pertain to Academic Integrity, pp. 26-28. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.

Course requirements:

Students will evaluated on the basis of several written assignments and participation as follows:

Name of Assignment Points

1. Participation 200

2. Microteaching 300

3. Lesson Plan 500


The class participation grade is not an attendance grade, i.e. you will not recieve any credit in this regard merely for being present at the class. Likewise, you will not receive full credit merely for saying something. The instructors will assign this part of the grade on a daily basis with reference to whether the student has been an active participant during the day's activities.

The microteaching component of your grade will be evaluated with reference to a presentation of the results of an ecological experiment and a specific lesson you develop in small groups that discusses how you might use the activity to promote learning of ecology in your classroom. Your group will submit a brief write up of the results of your experiment and a written lesson plan on Friday.

The lesson plan component of your grade is an opportunity for you working in pairs to develop a lesson plan that addresses a specific student misconception about some ecological concept. It should be submitted in writing by August 20.






Grading Procedures:

Grades for final assignments 1 day late will be reduced 10%, 2 days late 20%, and more than 2 days late 30%. Final grades for the course will be tabulated by dividing

the total number of points the student has accumulated by 10.

A: 92-100 BA: 88-91

B: 82-87 CB: 78-81

C: 72-77 DC: 68-71

D: 62-67 E: 61 or less


Tentative Schedule

Mon Aug 2

Introductions, Review of the Syllabus, Concept Mapping

Microteaching Experiments

Lessons from Thin Air

Virtual Forest

Tues Aug 3

Energy Flow in Communities

Microteaching Experiments

Why and How Does Decomposition Occur? Lessons from Thin Air (con't)

Ecobeaker: Barnacles & Tides

Wed Aug 4

Material Cycles in Ecosystems

Microteaching Experiments

Environmental Decision Making (EDM)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Computer Simulations to Teach Ecology

Thurs Aug 5

Free time to work on microteaching presentations and lesson plans

Fri Aug 6

Microteaching Presentations

Free time to work on lesson plans