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Living in an Alkaline Environment

A WebQuest Exploring the Life and Ecology of Mono Lake

Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion Teachers

For Teachers

This WebQuest is the final component of the three-part activity Living in an Alkaline Environment.

Living in an Alkaline Environment leads students on a guided exploration of Mono Lake and asks them to consider the biology and ecology of the ecosystem. It complements activities and lesson plans targeting extremophiles (particularly halophiles and alkaliphiles), microbiology, and astrobiology.

In this WebQuest, students are asked to create pages for a Mono Lake Field Guide. They are supplied with links to helpful information, including images, descriptions, and videos of organisms. As a result of this process, students will learn about the appearance, behavior, and classification of diverse organisms. They will also explore the ecology of Mono Lake and recognize the interdependence of each of these organisms. They will create a food web—very different from the standard food webs they're most likely familiar with—and describe the role of each organism. Finally, they will creatively compile all of their collected information into organized field guide pages, incorporating writing and art.


The core of this WebQuest satisfies the following 5-8 National Science Education Standards:

The core of this WebQuest satisfies the following 9-12 National Science Education Standards:

Beginning the WebQuest

This WebQuest is designed for students to work individually. Each student will choose two organisms from each of the four categories and create field guide pages and a food web incorporating all (or most) of their eight organisms. An introductory session is suggested where the class can review the concept of food webs (if needed) and be given a demonstration of field guide components. Field guides should be available in your local library and/or bookstore and online at enature. Students will research their organisms using a set of directed web links found in the Resources section. They may also use additional resources within Microbial Life and images within microscope to enhance their final product. An evaluation rubric (Microsoft Word 30kB Apr14 05) in the form of a Word .doc file is included for your convenience. You may download and modify it as needed. It is highly recommended that evaluation procedures be discussed with students prior to beginning the WebQuest.

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