Extra credit opportunities

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Due by November

Extra Credit--Story of Stuff iPod Casts

Download and listen to this short 15 minute podcast on your computer.  See link:


Now write me a half page report (half of 8.5x11inch sheet of paper) about what you learned.  Be sure to title your paper with the topic title of the postcast you listened to and put your name, hour and date on the paper as well.

Due Nov 1.  Value: 80 points per podcast topic.

xcredit--ATVs in the Desert

Read the information below remember There are FIVE parts to this assignment (value 150 points, due November 26   hand in or  attach to email addressed to dscribner@goddarusd.com by midnight November 26

ATVs in the desert

A.  Research the possible negative effects of driving all-terrain vehicles in desert ecosystems.  List a minimum of four negative effects and two positive effects to the desert ecosystem when ATVs are permitted. 

B.  Then find out or think of three reasons why these vehicles should be restricted to designated trails in the desert. 

C.  The organisms listed below are produces, or primary or secondary consumers. They are part of a food web in the California desert. You probably know something about the niche of some of the organisms. Use your classroom notes and information found on the web to find out more about those that are unfamiliar to you. 

On one sheet of paper, place a title of DESERT on the top with your name, hour and date in the upper right corner of the paper. Draw a food web involving all of the organisms listed below:

Organisms of a Desert Ecosystem

Kangaroo Rat Wildflower (seeds)

Sidewinder Raven

Pocket Mouse Sagebrush

Kit Fox Desert bighorn sheep

Coyote Roadrunner

Antelope Jackrabbit Insects

Mule Deer Flatland Desert Lizard

Bobcat Desert Tortoise

D. The desert habitat of these organisms has become a popular site for driving off-road vehicles (ATVs) in desert ecosystems. Put the title (a) producer, (b) primary consumer, and (c) secondary consumer in THREE columns below your food web completed in part C. List where each of the organisms should be under each appropriate column title. 

1. Now draw a line through ONE producer in your list and draw a new food web including all of the organisms from your three columns.

2. Now draw a line through ONE primary consumer in your list and redraw a new food web including all of the organisms (except the producer and primary consumer with line drawn through it).

3. Now draw a line through ONE secondary consumer in your list from part C and redraw a third food web including all of the organisms (except the producer, primary and secondary consumers with lines drawn through them on your list)

Note: each new food web would be directly affected by off-road vehicles if this species was removed from the web. In other words, you will be redrawing three new food webs under the tiles of Producer, Primary Consumer and Secondary Consumer. In each food web, show how the original food web would be different if the species on the title of the page was destroyed due to the impact of ATVs in their ecosystem.

E.  Finally state your viewpoint in a minimum of four complete sentences to state why off road vehicles affect the food web in a desert ecosystem (either for or against ATVs) if all-terrain vehicles should be or not be used at all in the desert.   

Start your conclusion with this statement:

I am ___in favor  __ not in favor (check one) of ATVs use in the desert.  My reasons are as follows.  Off Road vehicles affect the food web in a desert ecosystem by: (insert your 4 sentence minimum here).

You do not need to complete all five parts--each part will be graded separately for the up to 150 points extra credit.

Due by February

extra credit--Environmental Stress from Hurricanes

Due Feb 1--you will not have time in class to complete this, it is extra credit homework!

1.  The Puerto Rican Parrot population has changed a great deal throughout history, and in 1989, Hurricane Hugo had a great impact on the parrot's status.  Describe how the population has changed beginning at 1492, then 1492 to 1930, then 1930 to present paying special attention to the effects of natural and human-caused environmental changes.    Minimum of 10 sentences in your response.

2.  Hurricanes have changed the Puerto Rican landscape for centuries, and the parrots historically have survived these changes.  Why did Hurricane Hugo have such a profound effect on the parrots, compared with previous hurricanes?  Minimum of two sentences to answer.

3.  In general, how are healthy populations of living things affected by extreme natural environmental changes, such as hurricanes?  Minimum of two sentences to answer.

4.  In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused widespread damage in Louisiana and Mississippi, affecting both people and the environment.  Based on your knowledge of Puerto Rican parrot, predict how the hurricane affected endangered species of the region.  Then, predict how healthy species have responded.  Minimum of three sentences.

Good websites are: 


http://10000birds.com/the-puerto-rican- parrot.htm http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/hurricane_katrina/ 



 Due Feb 15  Value:  100 points

Due by April

xcredit--river clean up

Volunteer to work the day, take a photo on your phone or camera of you on the river cleaning up (with one of the sponsoring adults) and show it to me.  Be prepared to answer oral questions regarding why the clean up is performed and how it can help the river for 75 extra credit points. 

3rd Saturday in April 2015  9am-Noon

• Volunteers should meet in the southeast corner of the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium parking lot for check-in, gloves and bags. There is no need to pre-register, just come out the morning of the event!

• Volunteers should wear clothing that can get dirty – preferably long pants and not shorts – and sturdy shoes.  Canoeist and kayakers are welcome to bring their boats. Volunteers will receive an event t-shirt and enjoy a post-cleanup cookout. Water will also be provided.

• Sponsors will provide gloves and trash bags for volunteers as well as a packer truck to collect debris. Transportation to locations along the river will be provided.

• The clean-up is registered with American Rivers as part of the “ National River Cleanup” initiative. Many civic, private and government organizations will participate including the Arkansas River Coalition, South Central Neighborhood Association, Sierra Club, Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops and the River City WRAPS program. Event sponsors are Cargill, Wichita Ducks Unlimited, the City of Wichita and Waste Connections Inc.

For more information contact Libby Albers at lalbers@wichita.gov or 316-337-9262


xcredit Radiation

With the recent events in Japan it is important to understand radiation.  Go to the interactive web activity below, complete the activities and write me a three paragraph paper (each paragraph needs a minimum of 5 sentences) about what you discovered.  Due April 1    Value:  50 points

NOVA: Sources of RadiationGrade Range: 9-12

Understand the importance of radiation as well as the dangers in this interactive activity that demonstrates both natural and man-made radiation sources.


Due By May 1

Nature Writing

Environmental Literature/Nature Writing

What can the beauty and power of the nature world teach us about ourselves and the human experience?

Assignment: Review the definitions below and then for five consecutive days, write in a diary or journal (much like Aldo Leopold!)a non-fiction prose of one or more small yet poignant observations per day about your surrounding natural world. Your observations need to written in first person and incorporates your personal observations of and philosophical reflections upon nature (minimum of 3 sentences per day). Photographs and sketches are also welcomed accompaniments to your journal/diary entries.

Observations can e taken during a trail walk, waking up with the birds, while watching the sun rise/set, anything that allows time and space to observe, contemplate and record.

Note: As this is an assignment about your feelings, you should feel unrestrained freedom of personal expression and expression without the fear of judgment for how you feel or see the natural world.

Nature Writing – is generally defined as nonfiction prose writing about the natural environment. It often draws heavily on scientific information and facts about the natural world while, at the same time, frequently written in the first person and incorporates personal observations of and philosophical reflections upon nature. The works may range from natural history to those philosophical in interpretation (rambles, essays, travel and adventure writing). Roots trace from the latter half of the 18th century and throughout the 20th century.

Value: 50 points

Extra Credit PodCasts

Go to:  https://www.windows2universe.org/olpa/podcasts/podcasts_menu.html

Select a pod cast that has an environmental focus to download and write a one page report on what you learned.  Value:  50 points

Be sure to include the following in your report:

1.  Name of the Pod Cast

2.  General Theme of the Pod Cast  (minimum 1 sentence)

3.  No less than three points of interest shared in the pod cast and why the information was informative (minimum of 15 sentences)

xcredit-Visit Tallgrass National Preserve

Go to: http://www.nps.gov/tapr/index.htm

Tour Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

The preserve offers a wide variety of activities and experiences, such as hiking, fishing, education programs, and ranger-led tours. Please call ahead (620-273-8494) for tour availability due to major construction projects.

While on your tour--take a photo of you next to the national park sign and/or homestead house and write a one page report of your experience and how the unique relationship of private ownership, state and federal oversight works at this national preserve.  Margins must be no smaller than 1inch and single spaced Times Roman font.  Due by May 1  Value:  50 points

xcredit--A Sand County Almanac (reading for comprehension and writing assessment)

Read the book "A Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold and then write a one-page paper on what you thought about the book and if it made an impact on how you think about land use and native prairies.  Value:  50 pts  Due May 1

For information about Aldo Leopold go to:  http://www.aldoleopold.org/

x-credit Endangered Plants

Webquest--investigate and answer the questions below using the Internet, see external links on Blackboard.

1.  a)What Kansas endangered species of plant did you choose?  b) Describe the plant, c)where it lives in Kansas and d)why it is endangered.  Minimum of eight sentences to answer.

2.  Develop a 3-5 point plan to help protect the endangered species you investigated.  Be sure to address the factors that threaten its survival.  Minimum of five sentences to answer.

3.  Plant species evolve with other living things in their environment (co-evolution).  How could the extinction of your species harm the ecosystem?  Minimum of four sentences to answer.

Value:  100 points.

The Virtual Mine-extra credit

To complete this at xcredit assignment at home you will be assuming a virtual identity as an avatar to explore the energy industry in this online game.  The game requires you to solve a power crisis in a fictional town as a virtual identity while learning about mining for power and reducing the demand for electricity.

In the Virtual Mine, a complete 3D environment and game in Second Life, you clear land and blow up mountains; go through the town to turn off as many electric items as possible and reduce the demand; build a sustainable grid with solar and wind power terminals; and try to solve the power crisis in Maytown.

The story unfolds in three chapters. If you are successful in solving all three problems, you will receive a ticket to the Community Jam, celebrating the culture and music of Appalachia with an old time music and square-dance party.

Go to:  http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/deep-down/virtual-mine.html to access the Deep Down site.

To set up a second life account go to:  http://bit.ly/fQR78k   Once there click to view the preview videos on the home page to get an understanding of the project.  Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "How to Play"  Once there you will need to complete three steps to see the Virtual Mine:

1.  Get a Second Life account

2.  Download and install Second Life

3.  Click this Second Life URL ("slurl") to jump to the Virtual Mine starting place (requires login):
secondlife://Virtual%20Mine/128/128/0  or type in VIRTUAL MINE in the search box, then click on Virtual Mine teleport to move your avatar to this site to begin your coal mining challenge

Tips for Second Life Basics:

Fast Internet connections work best.

Make sure media playback is enabled. (File > Preferences > Audio & Video > Play Streaming Media When Available.)

Arrow keys to navigate while walking or flying.

Page up to fly higher / page down to land.

Right click to "touch" / ”sit” / "ride" / interact with objects.

After completing the on-line simulation, answer the questions on the attached and write a one page report (single spaced, Times Roman Font 12 with 1 inch margins) about your experience.  Be sure to explain your role in the game , list the decisions you made along the way and the final outcome.

This project must be done at home since our network currently does not permit access to this site.

Also go to www.pbs.org for more information about the Deep Down documentary about the impact coal mining has on an Appalacian community.

Value:  150 points.  This project will take some time and perhaps repeated visits to the game to get to the end (think of it like a non-violent "Black Ops" game for learning about the environmental impacts of coal mining). 

Deep Down—the Virtual Mine

The Virtual Mine is a great space to explore. It contains mountain topography and natural features, a coal mine site, an old cemetery, a small town., and plenty of hidden goodies such as videos, information signs, animals, and spaces to explore. Take the time to explore and preview the Virtual Mine on your own, and "bring back" a discovery you have made to the class. This will also give you a chance to learn Second Life controls and navigation at your own speed before beginning game play.

Getting started

The Virtual Mine game can be played in groups or by individuals. The goal of the game is to advance through the first three levels sequentially to achieve "mini-game" outcomes at each level. Every level contains a video prompt leading players to begin the next phase of this energy story.

Jumping into the game

Click this SLURL to open Second Life and jump into the Virtual Mine starting point.

[SLURL] secondlife://Virtual%20Mine/128/128/0

Choosing an avatar

Each player chooses an Avatar to begin. If playing as a group, the team leader or instructor chooses the forman avatar.

Identity, representation, and empathy

In this virtual world you will have the opportunity to choose a character (avatar) to identify yourself and then to modify the character.

Answer these Questions:

  1. Why did you choose the character you chose? What changes did you make to that character, and why?

  2. What is a stereotype or preconception? What stereotypes are there of Appalachian people? Were the people in the documentary Deep Down stereotypical?

  3. How do we represent ourselves on the Internet? Are you more likely to make negative comments on a web site if they are anonymous?

When jumping into the game via its SLURL, each player will be offered a yellow hard hat and Deep Down HUD; each player should "accept" both objects and then drag and drop them onto their avatar. A foreman hard hat and HUD can be obtained by clicking the information graphic located on the hillside next to the cabin.

The mining hats give the players game controls. The player wearing the red forman hat has the ability to stop and start game play and advance game levels as well as monitor the actions of other users. This is the hard hat that should be worn by the teacher or group leader; individual players who are playing the game alone should also choose the red foreman hat so the player can advance through the game levels.

Virtual Mine is a special place in Second Life, created by documentary filmmakers who made a film called Deep Down. The story and place you are about to experience is modeled after Maytown, Kentucky, the first-life town where Deep Down takes place. In the game, you are invited to participate in a story as it develops. You can take actions to solve the power crisis in Maytown.

The story unfolds in three chapters. If you are successful in solving all three problems, each player will receive a ticket to the Community Jam -- a very exclusive old time music and square dance party.

Before each chapter, a video news report will set the stage for your task.

When each player is wearing a mining hat and standing near the starting point, you are ready to begin

Chapter 1: Mining for Power.

Location: Top of the mountain next to the cabin starting point. Gather near the information graphics.

News prompt: Power crisis in Maytown! Rolling blackouts expected.

Goal: to mine enough coal to meet the power demands of Maytown.


  1. Ride the bulldozers and use them to knock down trees.

  2. Prepare the explosives by clicking each of the warning flags to place an explosive, and then clear the area.

  3. Detonate the explosives to reveal seams of coal by clicking the red trigger near the information graphics.

  4. Load coal onto the conveyer belt using a drag line. Arrow keys move the drag line and page up/page down raises/drops the bucket.

  5. Drive the dump trucks up the hill, stopping underneath the tipple to load the truck with coal, then move coal from the tipple down the hill, stopping at the train loading conveyor to dump the coal there.

  6. When the train is full, it will automatically move on to its destination: the coal fired power plant.

  7. Learning: Process of mountaintop removal coal mining, its association with the production of electricity, and its environmental effects.

Chapter 1—Answer these questions:

  1. Why do we mine coal in this way?

  2. What were the steps involved in mountaintop removal coal mining?

  3. What might be some of the negative impacts of this form of mining? (On the land and environment? On the people who live nearby?)


  1. Moving around the mine site, what are some things you notice?

  2. What has changed, if anything, about the environment?

  3. How have the sounds, land, air, and water changed? (Prompts: noise, dust, water color, air and water pollution.)


  1. How are units of electricity measured?

  2. How much do consumers of electricity pay?

  3. Where does your electricity at home come from?

  4. Have the number of coal mining jobs increased or decreased over the past few decades, and why might this be?

Chapter 2: Reducing Demand

News prompt: Crisis takes new form: health effects

Goal: To turn off as many electrically-powered items as possible, reducing demand for electricity in Maytown.

Actions: Touch/Click objects to turn off anything in town that is consuming electricity.

Chapter 2: answer these questions:

  1. How might mountaintop removal mining and coal fired power production affect people's health?

  2. What are some things we can do at home to reduce those impacts?

  3. What are other ways of generating electricity?

Chapter 3: Alternative energies

Goal: Build solar and wind power terminals by solving each puzzle.


  • Puzzle 1: Solar power. Click to "pick up" and click again to "place" solar panels on the rooftops so they fill the roofs to maximize solar energy.

  • Puzzle 2: Wind power. Click pieces in the proper order to build wind turbines.

  • Puzzle 3: Hydro-electric power. Click to "pick up" and click again to "place" pipes to avoid geologic barriers so water flows from the source through the turbines.

Chapter 3 questions to answer:

  1. What does "sustainable" or "renewable" mean in reference to electricity?

  2. What are some of the "alternatives" discussed at Berea College?

  3. How might the food we consume contribute directly or indirectly to global warming?

  4. Do you know where your food was made and the journey your food takes to reach you? What are potential environmental effects at each stage of the food chain, and how does this compare to the electricity chain?

  5. Besides mountaintop removal mining, what are other ways to produce electricity? Why does some types of electricity cost less than others?

Chapter 4: Community Jam

Celebrate Appalachian culture, and learn what you can do

Location and actions: Go back to the town square, and click on a dance ball to dance along as musicians from Deep Down play some old-time tunes at the local square dance. While you're at it, find out where your own power comes from, what you can do to save the mountains, and how you can save your family money in the process.

Extra Credit Konza Prairie

Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS) is an 8,600-acre native tallgrass prairie preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University and operated as a field research station by the K-State Division of Biology. The station is dedicated to a three-fold mission of long-term ecological research, education, and prairie conservation. It is a unique outdoor laboratory for the study of tallgrass prairie ecosystems and for basic biological research. It also serves as a "benchmark" for comparisons with areas that have been affected by human activities and as an environmental education facility for students and the public.

Go to :  http://keep.konza.ksu.edu/ecology/    Select one of the science activities to complete and turn in by May 1

Value:  50 points 

extra credit--Silent Spring (reading for comprehension and writing assignment)

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.


Read the book, write a two page standard book report ending with an additional personal opinion review paragraph (minimum ten sentences).  Due by May 1.  Value 75 points.


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