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Teaching Ecology

Since I have been teaching biology for 28 years, I have been through many textbook adoptions during my career.  "Back in the day" the ecology chapters would always be the last chapters and the last unit in the textbook.  Like many other biology teachers, I rarely had time to teach that material.  Those of us who teach biology already know that there is WAAAAAAYYY more material that needs to be taught than there is time to teach it.  Since my favorite teaching topics are cell physiology, genetics and plants, I had no trouble spending too much time on these topics.  All of a sudden it is the end of the year, and I had to leave something out....... it was always ecology!

Poor ecology!!  It is not that I don't like you....  I just don't have time to get to you!

Fast forward to 28 years later.  NOW, the ecology unit is in the front of the textbook for most Biology I books.  AND, now we have an "End of Course" test for Biology I in my state.  AND, ecology standards are covered on the EOC.  Guess what?  I had to start making sure that I covered ecology!

Ecology is a rather daunting topic.  There are so many concepts that have to be covered.  I needed a plan of attack.  After reviewing the material, I decided to break it down into 6 mini-units of study:

  • Introduction to Ecology
  • Population Ecology
  • Community Ecology
  • Ecosystems and the Biosphere Part 1:  Energy Flow Through the Ecosystem
  • Ecosystems and the Biosphere Part 1:  Biomes of the World
  • Human Impact on the Biosphere
To me, some of this material is rather dry.  Parts of it really excite my students, while other parts are a strong sedative to a class of high schoolers!  I knew I would need something visually stimulating and eye-catching to keep their attention.  Since my students always respond well to PowerPoint lectures, I wrote a PowerPoint for each mini-unit above, making sure that I included as many pictures and cool graphics as possible.

Stay tuned.......   My summer blogging plan is to cover one mini-unit a day.  Up tomorrow, ..... Introduction to Ecology!

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