Lesson 6 – Death Valley Middle Basin Case Study

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Course:  Integrated Science, Physics, Biotechnology and/or STEM courses

Unit:  Measurement, Scientific Process, and Instrumentation Design

See Standards Addressed for all NGSS, WA State (Science, Math and Literacy), and NOAA Ocean Literacy Education Standards Connections.  In addition to the aligned objectives linked above, for this lesson, here is a breakdown of:
What Students Learn:

  • Measurements of indicator species can be used to make inferences about environmental conditions.
  • Quantity and resolution of a data collection plan is limited by resources.
  • Mine tailings are point sources of heavy metal pollution.
  • Population density is a measurement of the number of individuals living in a given amount of space.

What Students Do:

  • Generate a sampling plan based on limited resources.
  • Share data with other student groups.
  • Refine their sampling plan based on current observations.
  • Analyze data about population density of indicator species to infer locations of freshwater springs and point sources of arsenic pollution.
  • Analyze their findings to propose a watershed management plan for Middle Basin in Death Valley.
  • Communicate their research and their proposal in a presentation.
  • Communicate their findings and respond to questions and criticisms regarding their proposals.