Teacher Experience: “Building an Aquatic Habitat” Task for Middle School Students
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
Technology Education Teacher,
Huntingdon Middle School (PA)
Building an Aquatic Habitat
Here’s What We Did:
This task was very relevant for our students. We challenged them to create an environment that can sustain and display the diversity found in our local aquatic environment, and be able to explain how energy circulates through the system. We live close to a huge manmade lake, so it was easy for students to see relevance and the real-world connection when completing the task. We were able to connect students with local members of the Army Corps of Engineers and park rangers to talk about water quality, different habitats for the variety of fish, and more.
For their final projects, students created a scale drawing of their habitat and used technology to create a 3D model. They also created a food web for each species, which displays each animal’s lifecycle and survival tactics.
Why Defined STEM Was the Perfect Fit:
Defined STEM provides much of the teaching material, including credible resources, lesson prompts, and grading rubrics that are flexible and easy for educators to adjust to fit their needs. For this particular lesson, students were able to discover and learn about aquatic habitats in an environment they were familiar with, which brought relevance to the lesson. They were able to explore and learn about the areas where they live on their own, without direct instruction from the teacher. This made for a much more impactful lesson and learning environment.