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Investigative Cases
   
The Case: Chlorophyll

Houston: A Developing Problem

George and Jose were riding their bikes past the woods and ran into some bulldozers.

George: Look at that, they’re building a new big store Megamart….Great!
Jose: Look – its gonna be right here and we can ride our bikes, I bet their parking lot will be great place to skateboard around here after they cut down all the trees and get them out of the way.
George: This is going to be so much closer than that old store “Giganta Shop” that’s empty now.
Jose: Yeah, but I really like going over and hanging out in the woods – it’s always cooler in the woods. I don’t know what the trees do but I like it. Where would we hang out when they build the store?
George: We could get jobs here next year and be in the ac all the time. Who needs all these trees?

Oyster from Galveston Bay

One day over spring break George and Jose decided to check out the beach to go swimming and fishing around the Galveston Bay. Jose decided to google the beaches to decide where to go.

George: Man, I love raw oysters, let’s go fishing and see what we can get.
Jose: Hey, this says it’s polluted – somebody’s blog says it has mercury.
George: Yeah, but look, this guys blog says it’s good. Jose: Yeah, but then he says you should wear shoes. Gosh, I wish we had a swimming pool.
George: Okay, well let’s go fishing. We could get some crabs and oysters. I love to eat raw oysters.
Jose: I think that’s gross but I like fishing for stuff like mackerel and bull redfish. I bet we can do that. My mom would fix it so we could eat.

 

Case Author:
Karen Lucci Hopewell Valley Central High School
Cynthia Castillo
Tun Ong
Torrye Hooper

Case Analysis

These two cases are done in tandem:

  • pollution
  • deforestation
  • urbanization
  • human impact on the environment
  • role of producers

Option: Include a know / need to know chart like the one below:

What do you know?
What do you need to know?
   

Learning Goals

Goal(s)

  • Students understand the change in chlorophyll concentration on land and in water due to environmental impact.
  • Students understand that the use chlorophyll as an indicator to measure how human activities affect the environment.Students understand the use of remote sensing technology for environmental management purposes.
  • Students can identify chlorophyll and understand that it is an essential pigment of photosynthesis.
  • Students understand that other than plants, algae and some bacteria also photosynthesize.
  • Students understand that photosynthesis is an important part of the carbon cycle.

Standards

  1. Students understand the change in chlorophyll concentration on land and in water due to environmental impact.
  2. Students understand that the use chlorophyll as an indicator to measure how human activities affect the environment.
  3. Students understand the use of remote sensing technology for environmental management purposes.
  4. Students can identify chlorophyll and understand that it is an essential pigment of photosynthesis.
  5. Students understand that other than plants, algae and some bacteria also photosynthesize.
  6. Students understand that photosynthesis is an important part of the carbon cycle.

Biology Texas Standards

(1) Scientific processes. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts field and laboratory investigations using safe, environmentally appropriate, and ethical practices. The student is expected to:

(A) demonstrate safe practices during field and laboratory investigations; and
(B) make wise choices in the use and conservation of resources and the disposal or recycling of materials.

(2) Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods during field and laboratory investigations. The student is expected to:

(A) plan and implement investigative procedures including asking questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting equipment and technology;
(B) collect data and make measurements with precision;
(C) organize, analyze, evaluate, make inferences, and predict trends from data; and

(3) Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to:

(A) analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information;
(B) evaluate promotional claims that relate to biological issues such as product labeling and advertisements;
(C) evaluate the impact of research on scientific thought, society, and the environment;
(D) describe the connection between biology and future careers;
(E) evaluate models according to their adequacy in representing biological objects or events; and
(D) communicate valid conclusions.

(4) Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to:

(A) analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information;
(B) evaluate promotional claims that relate to biological issues such as product labeling and advertisements;
(C) evaluate the impact of research on scientific thought, society, and the environment;
(D) describe the connection between biology and future careers;
(E) evaluate models according to their adequacy in representing biological objects or events; and
(D) communicate valid conclusions.

 

Investigations and Activities

Paper Chromatography of Photosynthetic Pigments from Algae

  1. Cut a rectangular strip of filter paper (2cm X 8cm)
  2. Using a pencil, draw a horizontal line two cm from one end of the strip. DO NOT USE A PEN.
  3. Dry a little clump of algae by putting it on a paper towel and blotting it.
  4. Place the dry algae on the line you drew on the filter paper.
  5. Roll the quarter at least 5 times over the algae where the pencil line is. When you take the algae off, you should see a green line on the filter paper. You have just transferred pigment from the algae onto the filter paper.
  6. Meantime, add sufficient amount of chromatography solvent to a depth of 0.5 cm to the glass vial.
  7. Carefully place the rectangular strip of filter paper with the end containing green line into the chromatography solvent. It should stand up in the vial. Place the rubber stopper in the top of the vial.
  8. The solvent will move up the paper carrying the pigments with it. This will take a few minutes. While you are waiting, look at the questions you have to answer. Use this time to visit the website given to answer questions.
  9. Stop the experiment when the chromatography solvent front is about 2 cm from the top of the paper strip.
  10. Remove the strip and examine the bands of colors (pigments) on the paper. This is a chromatogram.


Paper Chromatography of Photosynthetic Pigments from Leaves

  1. Cut a rectangular strip of filter paper (2cm X 8cm)
  2. Using a pencil, draw a horizontal line two cm from one end of the strip. DO NOT USE A PEN.
  3. Take a maple leaf and fold it in half with the undersurface (light green) on the outside.
  4. Place the folded leaf along the pencil line on your filter paper. Roll the quarter at least 5 times over the leaf where the pencil line is. When you take the leaf off, you should see a green line on the filter paper. You have just transferred pigment from the leaf onto the filter paper.
  5. To the glass vial, add sufficient amount of chromatography solvent to a depth of 0.5 cm.
  6. Carefully place the rectangular strip of filter paper with the end containing green line into the chromatography solvent.
  7. The paper should stand up in the vial. The green line should just be above the level of nail polish remover. Place the rubber stopper in the top of the vial.
  8. The solvent will move up the paper carrying the pigments with it. This will take a few minutes. While you are waiting, look at the questions you have to answer. Use this time to visit the website given to answer questions.\
  9. Stop the experiment when the solvent chromatography solvent front is about 2 cm from the top of the paper strip.
  10. Remove the strip and examine the bands of colors (pigments) on the paper. This is a chromatogram.

Analyzing Your First Chromatogram

  1. Go to http://peer.tamu.edu/podium_poster_presentations/Paper%20Chromatography.ppt What is paper chromatography? Why might a scientist use chromatography?
  2. Briefly describe your chromatogram. In the space below, draw the chromatogram showing the different bands of pigments.
  3. What do the bands of color represent?

Analyzing Your Second Chromatogram

  1. Open up the document entitled Carbon Cycle and briefly answer the following questions:

    a. What is the relationship of chlorophyll to the carbon cycle?

    b. How do humans impact the carbon cycle?

  2. How is this similar to the first chromatogram you produced? How is it different?

  3. What does this tell you about the roles of these organisms in the environment?

Putting It All Together

In this activity, you will be looking at images of Houston and Galveston Bay. Open the document entitled July 16 Satellite Images—Land and Water and look at the images to answer the following questions. You will be looking at different pieces of data and seeing how the data works together.


Image #1 Satellite Imagery of Land Use of Greater Houston

  • Using this image, do you think Houston is over-developed? Why or why not?

Image #2 Measuring Changes In Land Use 2.

  • What does the image show?

  • What has happened to Houston area over a period of 30 years?

  • Is this change positive or negative? Explain your answer.

Image #1 Drainage Basins of Texas

  • Locate Galveston Bay on the map. The wastewater of which cities drain into Galveston Bay?

    Image #2a Galveston Bay—No Algal Bloom
    Image #2b Galveston Bay—Algal Bloom

  • What is the relationship between the algal bloom and the drainage of waste water into Galveston Bay?

 

Resources

  1. National Academies Press site http://www.books.nap.edu/html/nses/html
  2. Texas Education Agency site http://www.tea.state.tx.us
  3. Galveston Bay Estuary Program site http://www.gbep.state.tx.us/solutions-partners/fres hwater-inflow-plan.asp
  4. Galveston Bay Information Center site http://gbic.tamug.edu/
  5. rssWeather.com - Your local weather feed site http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Texas/Houston/
  6. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center site. 2004 Earth Feature Story. Special: From Neighborhoods to Globe, NASA Looks at Land. http://www.nasa.gov/.../topstory/2004/0113landair.html
  7. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Earth Science Office’s Urban Climatology and Air Quality site http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/urban/
  8. Image of Galveston by http://gulfsci.usgs.gov/galveston/images/photo2lg.jpg
  9. Image of Glaveston bay--algal bloom http://www.lazy-pelican.com/bait-pics/galveston-bay-trinity-bolivar.jpg
  10. Satellite image of residential and vegetation in and around Houston http://www.ral.ucar.edu/projects/ju2003/references/chen_2005.htm
  11. Changes in land use of Houston http://earth.rice.edu/mtpe/bio/biosphere/hot/urbanization/houston2_class.html
  12. Diagram of the carbon http://www.cyclewww.lbl.gov/.../Archive/sea-carbon-cyc.html
  13. Powerpoint of paper chromatograph http://peer.tamu.edu/podium_poster_presentations/Paper%20Chromatography.ppt
information about shrinky dinks can be found at www.shrinkydinks.com

Students will usually obtain additional references or resources to help answer or explore their questions.

Special Data Items

1. HPIM3078-sm.jpg
2. HPIM3093-sm.jpg

 

Student Products

Assessment and Evaluation Plan

  • Lab report of chromatography
  • Worksheet of analysis of satellite imagery
  • "Save a Plant" Environmental message on shrinky dink, assessed with rubrics
  • Scientific Drawings : Save the Plants
  • Student Name ________________
  • CATEGORY Weight for Each Category 4 3 2 1
  • Title X1 (up to 4 pts available) Title is informative, centered, and larger than other text. Title is informative and larger than other text. Title is informative and centered. The title is incomplete and does not clearly indicate what is pictured.
  • General Formatting X1 (up to 4 points available) The drawing is large enough to be clear. The drawing is large enough to be clear The drawing is a little too large or a little too small. The drawing is much too small or much too large.
  • Color Usage X1 (up to 4 points available) Students used 4 or more different colors in their creation. Students used 3 different colors in their creation. Students used 2 different colors in their creation. Students used 1 color in their creation.
  • Drawing - details X2 (up to 8 points available) Students create an original, accurate and interesting product that adequately addresses the issue. Students create an accurate product that adequately addresses the issue. Students create an accurate product but it does not adequately address the issue. The product is not accurate.
  • Originality X2 (up to 8 points available) Several of the graphics used reflect an exceptional degree of student creativity in their creation and/or display. One or two of the graphics used reflect student creativity in their creation and/or display. The graphics are made by the student, but are based on the designs or ideas of others. No graphics made by the student are included.

 

Implementation

  • Two cases and analyses
  • Discussion of photosynthesis and importance of chlorophyll
  • Chromatography Lab
  • Discussion of Remote Sensing and Satellite Images
  • With worksheet analysis
  • Culminating activity--what would you tell people to correct the situation

Course name:
myPlantIT Summer Institute
Likely sequence in syllabus:
Introduce photosynthesis and chlorophyll
Time during term:
done in summer workshop
Duration:
3 hours
Setting:
Students in course:
10 students in small group setting
Collaborative elements:
group learning
Additional notes:
this has been a trial run

 

Credits

Workshop Home


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