Activity 1: A Tool for Inquiry

What can a time-pressured life science teacher expect to get out of doing this activity?

Bio Quest title
BioQUEST, an NSF- and Annenburg Foundation-funded project, has developed over fifty simulations and tools to aid middle school to undergraduate life science educators. In this part of the activity you are going to read a bit about the pedagogical strategies used in the BioQUEST collection and explore ONE tool, Environmental Decision Making, to build several models of fresh water ecosystems.

You will learn to:

  • use the pull-down menus to select elements for your worksheet,
  • arrange the elements on the worksheet,
  • enter calibration data (sunlight energy/m^2) and initial biomass of the pond in kg/hectacres. Metric measurement is adhered to throughout the BioQUEST series.
  • how long will it take?

    20 minutes for the reading.
    40 minutes for initial work with the EDM software.


    Activity 1
    TO DO Checklist

    __ Print this page!

    Readings & Hands On
    __ Complete the online & EDM Manual reading assignment.
    __ Create your pond model.

    Initial Thoughts
    __ Post your initial comments on Activity 1 and read some of the module-based discussion in the BioQUEST Discussion area. Check out the personal Introductions and Tech FAQ discussions there too.

    Local Study Group Meeting
    __ Attend LSG meeting where colleagues share their new "tools" for inquiry.

    Further Reflection
    __ Visit the BioQUEST Discussion area to read more of the dialogue and post additional comments.

    1. Read the document What is The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium by clicking this link. Problem-posing, problem-solving and persuasion (the three P's) lie at the heart of the BioQUEST curriculum.
    2. The BioQUEST Collection consists of over thirty strategic simulations, of which EDM is one. For more information about how strategic simulations aid life science instruction and challenge students to engage in thinking like life scientists, read the article The Use of Strategic Simulations by clicking this link.
    3. The heart of the matter is the reading of the EDM Manual pages 9-25. Read these pages and familiarize yourself with the general layout of the EDM screen and tools.
    4. Optional: You may wish to browse through the full collection of BioQUEST simulations at BioQUEST library. Many simulations are Macintosh format only. Some are cross-platform or Windows-based.
    Models in EDM are called "worksheets." Using the information you gained in reading pages 9-25 in the EDM manual, build your first EDM worksheet - a simple model of a pond with some microscopic and plant life, and a Quantity Plotter.
    1. Build your model. Connect the elements to the Quantity Plotter. Run your model.
    These moving images demonstrate the use of the menu bars. How do I:
    • open the EDM application by clicking on the EXTEND icon? EXTEND is the modeling environment in which EDM was written.
    • open a worksheet in EDM, get the SUNLIGHT icon from the LIBRARY?
    • get the POND LIFE icon from the library and connect it to the SUNLIGHT and QUANTITY PLOTTER icons?
    • calibrate the SUNLIGHT icon for my local climate and RUN the model?
    • save the model? (Remember to use the EDM extension so others can share the model through an attachment.)
    2. Explore the scaling features described on pages 18 to 20 of the manual.

    3. The adventurous may wish to do some of the "What if" experiments on page 20 of the manual. Perhaps you may wish to add SUNFISH to your pond.

    These moving images can show you how to build more complex models and manipulate the visual display of the graph. How do I:
    • add SUNFISH, calibrate the SUNFISH addition and connect to it to the Quantity Plotter? (Results of running the model are disappointing . The scales are not right for the sunfish, as revealed by the data table.)
    • rescale the display so the SUNFISH scale is on the right with appropriate units, with the POND LIFE scale on the left.