On Day Three of the Perot Institute, we began by creating a pooter device. To make this very simple tool of collecting insects and other organisms, we used an inexpensive plastic vial, two plastic tubes, small piece of felt to act as a filter, and multiple rubber bands to hold everything in place. The pooter creates a vacuum where you use your mouth on one tube to create pressure to suck up organisms through the other tube. We took our pooters outside of the Allen STEAM Center to try and collect creatures to identify on iNaturalist.
On Day 2 of the Institute, we learned how to use the iNaturalist app on our phones and computers. It's a very powerful tool that allows users to interact and connect with each other to identify organisms in their environment. We were sent on a scavenger hunt around the Allen STEAM Center to find plants, frogs, and insects with the challenge to take pictures of at least 3 and submit them to iNaturalist to be identified. I can see this being a fun tool to introduce students to, and setting up a school yard scavenger hunt would be simple.
First day of Perot Museum STEM Teacher Institute is in the books! We started the day by defining the characteristics of life by comparing pictures of random objects that were living, nonliving, and once alive. With these traits in mind, we took our learning outdoors. Using a hula hoop, we established a quadrat in an ecosystem surrounding the beautiful Allen STEAM Center. We counted and attempted to identify any biotic and abiotic factors within the hoop. I can see myself using this activity in my classroom, extending it by including food webs that can be found with the circle as well.