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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Science Study: Systems, Chains, and Cycles

As students step into nature study, watch the spadefoot tadpoles grow, and prepare for the MCAS science review test, the study turns to chains, cycles, and systems.

We will review water and plant/animal life cycles as well as food chains and environmental support/protection systems.

What questions will start this study?

I'll pose this question, "What is the same and different with regard to systems, cycles, and chains?

System: a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole or a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.

Chain: a series or group of things or people that are connected to each other in some way.

Cycle: any complete round or series of occurrences that repeats or is repeated; a sequence of changing states that, upon completion, produces a final state identical to the original one. 

Then we'll look at a number of illustrations (see below) and discuss which images depict a system, which depict a cycle, and which depict a chain. After that we'll discuss the spadefoot toad, and determine which of the images depict information that teaches us about or connects to the spadefoot toad and why. Finally students will have a chance to make their own system/chain/cycle diagrams that depict the spadefoot toad body system(s), life cycle, and food chain. I'll emphasize that we learn more when we connect information in ways that make sense with models that help us remember the parts and connections between the parts.