Dates:
Wednesday 09 December 2020

Code: 8325

THIS WEBINAR

Student inability to apply knowledge and theory to ‘real life’ situations is a common failing in all areas of Biology.  In Ecology, where experience of organisms in their environment is expected, this can be a really serious issue, limiting the marks that can be accessed. This webinar is for teachers looking for strategies and ideas to better support students in ecology, especially as field work opportunities become even more limited. It includes how to engage in ‘virtual ecology’ as a supplement to offsite field trips, but field trips are also encouraged if possible.

BENEFITS OF THIS WEBINAR:  

  • Equip you with strategies to help students to gain the full A02 marks available when answering questions on Ecology (and other) topics
  • Knowledge of exam technique in ecology (and other) questions to ensure students maximise their potential
  • Providing a range of alternatives to field work in Ecology which could help with health and safety, financial and Covid19 issues
  • Relate all this to CPAC requirements

PROGRAMME

Session 1

4.00 – 4.05  pm: Welcome and Introduction

4.05 – 4.20  pm: The basics of the community ecology required on the EdExcel specs.  A and B

  • Understand the concepts of ecosystems, communities, populations and habitats.
  • Understand that the numbers and distribution of organisms in a habitat are controlled by biotic and abiotic factors.
  • Understand how the concept of niche accounts for distribution and abundance of organisms in a habitat.

4.20 – 4.40 pm: The basics of the ecosystem ecology required on the EdExcel specs.  A and B

  • (i) Know how to calculate net primary productivity. ii) Understand the relationship between gross primary productivity, net primary productivity and plant respiration.
  • Know how to calculate the efficiency of energy transfers between trophic levels.
  • Relate to work on photosynthesis.

4.40 – 5.10 pm: Sampling in Ecology

  • Why do we sample?
  • It’s not just how to use a quadrat but why, how big and where?
  • It’s not just how to do a transect but why, what sort (interrupted belt, belt, line) and where?

5.10 – 5.30 pm: Exam Questions and Plenary

  • Look at some past questions and reports related to basics and sampling
  • Consider how basic answers might be improved
  • CPAC and Any questions.

Session 2

4.00 – 4.05 pm.  Welcome and Introduction

4.05 – 4.20 pm: Systematic sampling with virtual transects to compare

  • Consider, say, a pipeline going through some rainforest, how does it affect the vegetation?
  • Or a path across a field?
  • Or the seaweed on a shore?

4.20 – 4.40 pm: Systematic sampling with virtual transects to correlate  

  • So we know that the vegetation a kilometre from the sea is not the same as that just behind the beach, but how might we explain this?
  • Writing a null hypothesis (H0)
  • Testing the H0

4.40 – 5.00 pm  Systematic sampling with virtual transects to study succession

  • How do succession and zonation differ?
  • Is zonation always associated with succession?
  • Can we see succession without zonation?

5.00 – 5.15 pm: Random sampling with quadrats to compare (including a different way to study succession)

  • When to choose random rather than systematic sampling
  • How to place the quadrats
  • Studying succession with random sampling, spoil heaps.

5.20 – 5.30 pm: Plenary

  • Look at some past questions and reports related to transects and quadrats
  • Consider how basic answers might be improved
  • CPAC and Any questions.

Gary Skinner

After completing a PhD in ecology, Gary Skinner taught up to A level for 34 years before retiring in 2008 to work as a consultant and examiner.  Throughout his teaching, and since, he has marked exams up to A level, in both Biology and Environmental Management at GCSE, IGCSE, O level and A level.  He is currently Principal Examiner for an International Specification.  He is author of a range of revision guides and textbooks at both A level and GCSE.