Swimming the Gauntlet in the Gulf of Alaska

Student pairs start the lesson with a kinaesthetic activity in which they form a gauntlet of hazards faced by salmon. One to several of the students (or the teacher) plays the salmon trying to get through the gauntlet as it makes its journey from the ocean to its spawning grounds upriver. Back in the classroom, students are placed in five groups and assigned one of the five key species of fish in the Gulf of Alaska Project. Groups conduct guided research on their species, find limiting factors, and create tree diagrams to calculate theoretical probabilities of survival for limiting factors. Next each group creates a board game for “Swimming the Gauntlet” as their chosen species. Following the game creation, groups calculate experimental probabilities for surviving each limiting factor. To conclude the basic lesson, students watch a interviews with two scientists and write a reflection piece. Students should be familiar with calculation of probabilities using tree diagrams.

Authors: Anne McCarthy, Kama Almasi, Danielle Dickson; EARTH 2011


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