Shane's first assignment in their biodome supervisor training program involves a nightmare scenario: what happens if an ecosystem goes without sunlight for two weeks? Players investigate the role that sunlight plays in ecosystems and explore the phenomenon of photosynthesis to help Shane out.
MS-LS1-6. Construct a scientific expanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms. 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-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Effect of lack of sunlight; photosynthesis, chloroplast, cell wall, nucleus, cell membrane, producer
Understanding photosynthesis and the vital role the sun plays in this process can support student interest and understanding in activities such as growing a garden or maintaining houseplants. This connects to the broader idea of why producers are of vital importance in an ecosystem.
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Players investigate the immediate effects that the lack of sunlight has had on plants and animals. Predictably, affected plants are wilted and unhealthy, but why are some of the animals acting lethargic, too?
Players examine how plants convert carbon dioxide into energy, and count the molecules in the chemical reaction to understand how matter is preserved even as it is rearranged and reused.
Players investigate the feeding habits and health of the jackrabbits and foxes in the biodome. They learn that as an animal's food quality decreases, the quantity it must eat increases until the food runs out! This is why jackrabbits are starving, and why foxes--who haven't quite exhausted their food supply yet--appear to be healthy.