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Biological Communities

Module Summary
A biological community is a group of different interacting species in one particular environment. Community-level examination within the field of biology also lends itself to many cross-discipline opportunities including ecology, chemistry, physical science and governmental policy. This collection of classroom activities is designed to reinforce the topic of biological communities, and in doing so, also incorporate topics ranging from ecology to molecular genetics. The primary activity of this module is a simulation of microbial ecology research. Students are walked through modern molecular biology techniques used to examine soil microbe communities. Students must compile and organize information into a graph and then compare their results to real-world microbial communities to draw inferences about their simulated soil sample. Other student activities include a bacterial and fungal investigation of their school and classroom. Students swab and air-expose Petri plates around their school to gain insight on the otherwise invisible microbial communities all around them. Other activities include a simulation of DDT bioaccumulation in a coastal marine community. This module is designed to fit 9th to 12th grade biology curricular requirements.

Grade Levels

Module Materials (view or download)
Marine Community DDT
Classroom Microbes
Microbial Mix-Up

Module Activity Overview Estimated Class Time
Marine Community DDT 1 (45 min) class
Classroom Microbes 2 (45 min total) classes
Microbial Mix-Up 1 (45 min) class
Cladograms 1 (45 min) class



Last updated: 6/19/2015