Data Nugget: Make Way for Mummichogs

Contributor
Maria Maradianos, Samantha Scola, and Megan Wagner
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Photograph , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Phenomenon , Graph , Informative Text , Data
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This Data Nugget begins with a phenomenon: a salt marsh ecosystem in Gloucester, MA, was changed when a road restricted tidal flow between the salt marsh and the ocean. In 2003, a culvert was constructed that restored tidal flow under the road. Scientists want to know whether the culvert has improved the health of the salt marsh ecosystem. Using counts of mummichogs, a small fish species, to indicate the health of the salt marsh, data was collected both before and after tidal flow was restored. Using the data, students are asked to answer the driving scientific question: “What effect did the removal of the tidal restrictions have on the number of mummichogs found upstream?” The lesson involves calculating averages, graphing data, making a claim, and providing evidence and reasoning to support the claim. Students are also asked to suggest questions to be investigated next. A teacher guide, student activity sheets (provided at three different proficiency levels), a presentation, a grading rubric, and additional supports and information are provided.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.

Clarification Statement: Examples of human activities can include urbanization, building dams, and dissemination of invasive species.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This Data Nugget provides students with the opportunity to evaluate a solution (building a culvert) to reduce human impact (the road that was restricting tidal flow) on a salt marsh ecosystem. Teachers may want to introduce the phenomenon first (see “Tips for Including the PE” under performance expectation HS-LS2-2) and ask students to propose or design a solution of their own.

HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.

Clarification Statement: Examples of mathematical representations include finding the average, determining trends, and using graphical comparisons of multiple sets of data.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to provided data.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students can move towards mastery of this performance expectation by analyzing the provided data, using the data to create a graph, making a claim about whether or not building the culvert affected the health of the salt marsh ecosystem, and then providing evidence from the data and the graph to support their claim. Teachers may want to first engage students with the phenomenon by presenting slides 1-8 of the PowerPoint and the last column of the data. Doing a think, pair, share after this presentation may help to engage prior knowledge and elicit an initial claim about what happened to the salt marsh ecosystem. Then, after the students analyze the data, they have the opportunity to support and/or revise their initial claim.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
When students use this Data Nugget lesson, they use real data and construct a graph from which they either support or revise their claim about the effectiveness of building a culvert to restore the health of a salt marsh ecosystem. Teachers should note the “Check for Understanding” on page 4 of the Teacher Copy that offers suggestions for discussing with students their choice of the type of graph they create. In addition, the “Teacher Note” on page 6 encourages discussion about potential sources of variation in the data and how this might affect their claims. With more advanced students, teachers may want to add further analysis of the data, such as determining the slope of the data trend line. Teachers may also want to include the use of tools, such as Excel, to graph the data.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
When the phenomenon is introduced, teachers can prompt students to consider how conditions in the salt marsh ecosystem most likely changed when tidal flow was restricted and then when tidal flow was restored. Students can consider how these changing conditions affect the “complex set of interactions” within the salt marsh ecosystem. If students are unfamiliar with this particular ecosystem, they may want to do additional research about the organisms that live there and what conditions they need to survive. Within this Data Nugget, students are asked to “Connect the data back to what you learned about mummichog fish and their connection to salt marsh health.” Teachers may want to emphasize this question and encourage students to consider the final questions about future research in their responses.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This Data Nugget lends itself to a discussion, either in pairs or as a class, of how removal of the tidal restriction (by building the culvert) changed this particular salt marsh. Teachers may want to ask students to consider what would have happened to the salt marsh ecosystem over time if the road had not been built, or if the culvert had not been built after the tidal restriction occurred.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This Data Nugget asks students to make a claim and then to identify specific evidence in the data and in their graph to support their claim. Students may be asked to consider why they think their claims indicate cause and effect instead of correlation. For example, the teacher might ask students, “How can we know the difference in this particular case?”

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This Data Nugget lesson is structured to elicit direct observable evidence of students’ three-dimensional learning as they make sense of an authentic phenomenon and real associated data. This lesson could be strengthened by providing ways to elicit student questions and prior knowledge. Suggestions are provided in the “Tips” sections of this review.

  • Instructional Supports: This Data Nugget lesson offers teachers extensive instructional supports. A teacher guide, printable student activity sheets (provided at three different proficiency levels), a presentation, and a grading rubric are provided. The Teacher Guide includes both teacher notes, checks for understanding, and answer keys. The final questions within the Data Nugget lesson provide opportunities for extended activities. The website provides additional instructional support for differentiated instruction (http://datanuggets.org/adapting-data-nuggets-to-your-classroom/) and extension (http://datanuggets.org/before-using-nuggets/extensions/ ).

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This Data Nugget lesson elicits evidence of students’ three-dimensional learning. Printable student worksheets are provided at three different proficiency levels; these student worksheets at different levels make the lesson accessible and unbiased by providing a variety of representations of the data. Teachers have additional suggested ways to check students’ understanding within the Teacher Guide. A comprehensive scoring rubric is also provided.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This is not an interactive, technology-based resource.