Think-Pair-Share

Essay Questions for Qualitative Conceptual Models Pre-experiment

 

Part 1: Work with a partner to use your model to explore the questions below that will be addressed in your written essay. To be able to respond to these questions, you and your partner both need to have completed your own conceptual models about your research project. Remember, your goal is a well-explained model. For each question, first think about and jot down your ideas, then each take a turn to describe your response to the other. As you get additional ideas, write them
down too.

 

Part 2: After discussing your work with a partner, write and essay that responds to the following questions. Please put your name on the essay.

1- Explain why each component depicted is important in the system or subsystem you are studying. Make sure each component is labeled. Describe the relationships among all of your components by putting a number besides each arrow and logically explaining each number below the model. What are the ideas you have about how this aspect of the ecosystem works? (Explain what you think is going on by telling a story about it).

2- Using the components in your model,

a) Write your research hypothesis.

b) Describe how you would test this hypothesis in your experiment.

c) Make a prediction about what you expect your results will be.

3- Discuss and illustrate each of the following:

a) Show feedback.

b) Choose one component in your system and describe how it might change due to climate change. Describe any indirect effects you can expect due to this change.

4- Based upon your current understanding of the system you have depicted, how do you think complex ecosystems function? Explain your reasoning.

5- What ecological process or theory do you think can help explain the results you observed in your experiment?

Essay Questions for Qualitative Conceptual Models after The Experiment

 

Part 1:Work with a partner to use your model to explore the questions below that will be addressed in your written essay. To be able to respond to these questions, you and your partner both need to have completed a second conceptual model. Model the variables and their relationships as you now see them at the end of your experiment.

Remember, your goal is a well-explained model. For each question, first think about and jot down your ideas, then each take a turn to describe your response to the other. As you get additional ideas, write them down too.

 

Part 2: After discussing your work with a partner, write and essay that responds to the following questions. Please put your name on the essay.

1- Explain why each component depicted is important in the system or subsystem you are studying. Make sure each component is labeled. Describe the relationships among all of your components by putting a number beside each arrow and logically explaining each number below the model. What are the ideas you have about how this aspect of the ecosystem works? (Explain what you think is going on by telling a story about it). What was the outcome of your experiment? How did it compare with
your initial prediction?

2- Use the components in your model to refine your research hypothesis to make a secondary hypothesis.

a) Describe how you would test this refined hypothesis in a subsequent experiment.

b) Make a prediction about what you expect your results will be.

3- Discuss and illustrate each of the following

a) Show feedback.

b) Choose one component in your system and describe how it might change due to climate change. Describe any indirect effects you can expect due to this change.

4- Based upon your current understanding of the system you have depicted, how do you think complex ecosystems function? Explain your reasoning.

5- What ecological process or theory do you think can help explain the results you observed in your experiment?

 

Modeling Assessment Rubric

Part A: The model

1- Scoring of conceptual model and description: Components (and
descriptions)

Modeling Goal: Correctly identify specific
components/variables of experiment and explain their importance to the
research project.

Score

Examples

0: Not score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1 point: General
ideas represented only

light, plants, animals

2 points: Components are mostly general

Sun, trees, animals

3 points:
Components somewhat reflect the experiment

Plant productivity,

4 points: Components
accurately and specifically reflect experiment

Herbivore diversity, amount of carbon dioxide,

2- Scoring of conceptual model and descriptions: Connections between
variables

Modeling Goal: Show
and explain the connections between variables

Score

Examples

0: Not score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1 point: One or
two linear connections, errors

Hare àWillow

2 points: Either
too few or too many (spaghetti strings) incorrect connections, some correct,
all have one or two steps (linear)

Willow
à
Hare

3 points: Many
connections, all are purposeful and correct, some complex with at least two
steps, some simple linear

Willow
oà
Hare oà
Lynx

4 points: Many connections, mostly
complex and multi-stepped with three or more steps, shows two-way
interactions and possibly cyclical
interactions.

NutrientsàWillow oà
Hare oà
Lynx

       
   


Aquatic grass oàMoose oà
Wolf

Part B: Rubric for Modeling Essay
Questions

Essay Question 1: Explain why you chose each component depicted.
Describe the

relationships or connections between all your components. What
are the ideas you have about how this aspect of the ecosystem works? (Explain
what you think is going on by telling a story about it).

Content
Understanding Goal: Articulating
ecological processes

Level

Examples

0: Not score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1 point: Poorly
applies diversity, very general

Interactions between biotic and abiotic factors

2 points: Minimally
applies one diversity concepts

The insect diversity in the meadow is greater because of
more moisture.

3 points:
Adequately applies diversity concepts to research project

Meadows tend to have greater diversity of primary
producers due to increased sunlight than forested site…

4 points: Shows
mastery of diversity concepts, appropriately applies several concepts to
research project

The presence of large woody debris may have more
significantly impacted arthropod diversity than the absence of a canopy.

Question 2: Develop hypothesis, (or re-write hypothesis) using
components in model. Describe how hypothesis (or secondary hypothesis) will
be tested.

Learning Goal: Understand how to develop a testable hypothesis

Level

Examples

0: Not score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1 point: Poor

The clear cut will better handle disturbance because it
has greater diversity.

2: Minimal,
needs restructuring.

What is the diversity in the meadow v.s. a forest?

3: Adequately
forms a testable hypothesis.

How does log decomposition effect arthropod diversity?

4: Shows
mastery in forming a clear, testable hypothesis and describe method of
testing hypothesis.

Species richness in fungivore arthropods will be greater
in the forest opening than the forest. Measure species richness of fungivore
arthropods captured in forest opening and in the forest at the same time.

Essay Question 3a:
Discuss and illustrate feedback.

Learning Goal: Understanding
complexity in Ecosystems, show Feedback and trace through possible indirect
effects

Score

Examples

0: not score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1: Poor
understanding of feedback

One example of feedback is the vegetation in the meadow.

2: Shows
minimal understanding of and application of feedback, minimal ability to
describe indirect effects,

A change in arthropods would ricochet up the food web and
the entire ecosystem.

3: Shows good
understanding of and application of feedback, but less proficient describing
indirect effects. Only describes one plausible pattern of change (short term)

Ecosystems function through varied array of relationships
that are usually nonlinear and include many complex feedback loops…

4:Expertly
understands and applies both feedback and indirect effects (4 points).
Describes plausible patterns of changes over short and long time spans (4
points)

Feedback loops may have
negative impacts

(competition) placing limits on
growth of herbivores…it may accelerate the rate of growth of plants over the
short term, but due to feedback, not in the long term.

Question 3b: Choose
one component in your system and describe how it might change due to climate
change. Describe any indirect effects you could expect.

Learning goal: Ability
to identify how effects are propagated through system

Score

Examples

0: Not score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1: Poor effects, no predictions, no experiment

The meadow could handle the effects of a drought better
than the forest because the forest would become more susceptible.

2:. Minimally
shows effects, poor predictions,

Fire could change the soil respiration. You could collect
data in a patch before and after a fire

3: Adequately
shows how effects are propagated through system, makes modest predictions,

After a hot “crown: fire, fungal and bacterial elements of
soil will have been eliminated, and the forest will take a longer time to
recover its intricate relationships than the meadow…

4: Expertly
shows how effects are propagated through the ecosystem, makes plausible
predictions,

A fire would immediately
increase light reaching the ground, and burning would release nutrients,
stimulating herbaceous growth…

Question 4: How
do you think complex ecosystems function? Explain your reasoning, the better
able it might be to withstand

Learning Goal: Understand
ecological complexity

Level

Examples

0: Not
score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1: Poor
response

Complex systems are
interdependent and, like lasagna, you
can’t tell the function of one part by just observing the final product.

2: Makes some errors in discussing aspects of complexity

Complex ecosystems move in and out of balance…

3: Adequately
discusses several aspects of complexity

Patch level dynamics may play a significant role in
succession at local sites… what happens over time in each patch may not
conform to typical successional trajectories…

4: Expertly describes the causal mechanisms
of systems, i.e., feedback, direct and indirect and multiple effects,
pattern
over different time and space scales, subcomponents,

The greater the order of complexity, the better able it
will be to withstand degradation…fungi providing nutrients to vegetation
provides positive feedback loop…

Question 5:. What ecological process or processes does your model
best depict?

Content
Understanding Goal: Ecological
diversity

Level

Examples

0: Not score-able; no response.

“I don’t know.”

1 point: Poorly
applies theory, very general

Interactions between factors

2 points: Minimally
applies one theory

Biological diversity.

3 points:
Adequately applies diversity concepts to research project

This illustrates how differences in species diversity
might be caused by differences in nutrients present in the soil

4 points: Shows
mastery of applying several concepts to research project

There could be other abiotic factors affecting the growth of all the plants; nutrient availability, moisture retention, etc. might elucidate why percent cover and abundance of the three dominant species are different between these ecosystems

 

 

 

 

Interview questions:

1) What differences can you see between your first and final model in terms of the variables you chose as important to model in your experiment?

 

2) Do you think you have a better understanding now than before the experiment about ecosystem you studied?

 

3) What do you attribute to why your understanding shifted?

 

4) How did the research project itself help you understand the ecosystem better?

 

5) How did the process of modeling help you understand the ecosystem better?