Project S.S.C.A.R.S. (Simulated Science for AT-RISK Students) is a grant funded project in which ninth grade biology and ecology students at Columbia High School participate in a variety of hands-on technology activities to increase their performance in the application of process and research skills necessary for successful problem solving within the sciences. Project S.S.C.A.R.S. is currently funded by an EIA Teacher's Grant from the state of South Carolina and from a grant from the South Carolina Association of Educational Technology. In Project S.S.C.A.R.S., students engage in a variety of hands-on hypermedia simulations using CD-Roms, interactive laserdiscs, and the internet to increase their process and research skills. Furthermore, the science teachers at Columbia High believe that by incorporating student-centered hypermedia technology in our classrooms, our AT-RISK students at Columbia High will increase their interest in science and technology.
The following is a list of different activities that students have participated in Project S.S.C.A.R.S.:
THE GREAT OCEAN RESCUE
The GREAT OCEAN RESCUE is an interactive videodisc package by Tom Snyder Productions that is designed to engage students in learning about the oceans and related topics in earth science, environmental science, and life science. Students work together in cooperative groups to locate and solve four problems in the world's oceans. The entire class views transmissions that describe their current mission. Each student takes on the role of a specific "expert" (oceanographer, geologist, marine biologist, or environmental scientist). Each group of student experts analyzes the information from the transmission and makes a recommendation, and the entire class identifies the trouble spot. When the trouble spot is located, the expert groups reconvene to select tests to help the mission. Each group makes recommendations, and the whole class decides together which option will best complete the mission.
MINDS-ON SCIENCE: FOR PLANET, FOR PROFIT
MINDS-ON SCIENCE: FOR PLANET, FOR PROFIT is an interactive laserdic from Tom Snyder Productions and the Smithsonian Institution. Students role-play the president of Future Looks Fashions, a leading clothing designer and manufacturer. Students are introduced to a new clothing breakthrough and must decide how the president should invest the company's money. Students work in cooperative teams of four. Each student is provided with a portfolio that contains scientific information, hands-on activities, space for taking notes and recording observations, as well as advisors who will guide students through the activities. Before students make any decisions, they go through a series of four briefings/activities, information gathering, and discussion to understand the scientific concepts behind the issues they face. Students access scientific and historical information, as well as social and personal values, to prioritize their goals for what they hope to accomplish in their role. Students go through the process of tackling the issues and decisions that face them through guided discussion and debate. Students must reach a consensus and make a decision. Students watch the consequences of their decisions on the laserdisc, then they face a new dilemma and must make a second decision.
The Monarch Butterfly Field Study
In the Monarch Butterfly Field Study, students engage in a virtual field study of the migration patterns of the Monarch butterfly using Scholastic's ANIMAL PATHFINDERS interactive laserdisc. In the field study, the students use the scienfic method to test a hypothesis on the main factor which determines the Monarch's migration pattern. Students are presented with background information on the Monarch butterfly's life cycle. Next, students organize field data into charts. Students test their hypothesis by going into the virtual laboratory and perform a paper chromatagraphy test.
In Project S.S.C.A.R.S.'s Classification Unit, students work together in groups of 3 to research a class of the animal kingdom. The following classes of animals were researched in Project S.S.C.A.R.S.: mollusks, amphibians, reptiles, insects, birds, mammals, fishes, sponges, and coelentrates. Student groups are rotated through a number of technology stations to obtain specific information pertaining to their animal class. Students used the following hypermedia to gather information: Scholastics' ANIMAL PATHFINDERS interactive laserdisc, AIMS' HOW WE CLASSIFY ANIMALS CD-ROM, GROLIER'S MULTIMEDIA ENCYCLOPEDIA CD-ROM, and at the internet station students accessed the University of Michigan's Bio 108 web site and the Electronic Zoo.
Communities and Ecosystem Unit
In the Communities and Ecosystems Unit, students engage in one of two different environmental simulations: SimAnt and SimLife. In SimAnt and SimLife, students learn and experience how populations of living things deal with other organisms and with their environment. Students are able to watch and control the actions of thousands of living creatures as they attempt to grow and reproduce in a hostile world full of competitors, predators and danger. By engaging in these simulations, students learn many important biology concepts including predator/prey interactions, competition between and within species, food webs and energy flow, reproductive strategies, habitat and niche, feeding, digestion and reproduction, use of chemical messages and trail markers, mating behavior, brooding stategies, social foraging techniques, and genetics. Other environmental concepts taught in this unit are aided with the use of Queue's LEARNING ABOUT OUR ENVIRONMENT CD-ROM. Furthermore, the students view OUR BIOSPHERE: THE EARTH IN OUR HANDS laserdisc from the Smithsonian Laserdisc Collection to see how the human race affects our world's communities and ecosystems.
In the Biomes Unit, students use the following laserdics and CD-ROMs to investigate the characteristics of the world's biomes: The RAINFOREST ZOO GUIDE CD-ROM, Scholastic's ANIMAL PATHFINDERS interactive laserdisc, and a series of IMAX laserdiscs including AFRICA, THE SERENGETI, ANTARTICA, and THE RAINFOREST.
The Cell Unit
In the Cell Unit, students create hypermedia interactive stacks using Hypercard and Hyperstudio to illustrate their knowledge of cell structure and function. Students create the following hypermedia stacks: cell parts and functions, mitosis, meiosis, and bulk transport stacks. Furthermore, the learning of various cellular topics is enhanced by using Queue's LEARNING ALL ABOUT CELLS & BIOLOGY and LEARNING MORE ABOUT CELLS CD-ROMs, and by visiting various sites on the internet to view electron micrographs of cells such as Cells Alive! and Nanoworld.
In the Genetics Unit, students use the internet to explore a variety of genetic topics. Students use the On-line Mendelian Inheritance Genetic Database web site to research genetic disorders. The LLML Genetic Labs web site is used as a virtual fieldtrip in which students learn about professional carreers in genetic research. The Virtual Fly Lab is used for students to manipulate genetic Drosophila crosses for a variety of different traits. Mendel Web is used for students to learn about Gregor Mendel and his famous crosses with pea plants. The Project S.S.C.A.R.S. students have also contributed their own data on inheritance patterns to various studies being conducted on the internet. The students also use Queue's EXPLORING GENETICS and HEREDITY CD-ROM to facilitate their learning of monohybrid and dihybrid crosses.
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