Building Ecological Pyramids
This activity supports using the citizen science platform WildCam Gorongosa in the classroom. It engages students into building biomass pyramids using data from trail camera photos of animals in Gorongosa National Park.
The activity begins with students learning about the animals in park by visiting WildCam Gorongosa. They then make predictions about which animals belong to different trophic levels. Students then visit WildCam Lab, a part of WildCam Gorongosa where they can view, filter, and download trail camera data. Students will build a biomass pyramid within an assigned vegetation type using those data. This activity allows students to develop and use models, organize and analyze real scientific data, and use Excel to perform calculations.
Student Learning Targets
- Make predictions about the biomass relationships between trophic levels in an ecosystem.
- Analyze quantitative data to create a biomass pyramid.
- Describe the relationships between trophic levels and between ecosystems based on the shape of a biomass pyramid.
- Formulate hypotheses and make observations about the stability of ecosystems based on the biomass relationship between trophic levels.
biomass, consumer, ecological pyramid, ecosystem, floodplain, grassland, intensity of use, limestone gorge, producer, savanna, species abundance, stability, trophic level, woodland
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HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-4, HS-LS2-6; SEP1, SEP2, SEP3, SEP4, SEP5
ENE-1.H, ENE-1.M, ENE-1.N, ENE-1.O; SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6
4.1, 4.2, C.1, C.2
2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5
ELA.RST.9–12.3, ELA.RST.9–12.7, ELA.RST.9–12.9
CC4, CC5; DP1, DP2, DP3