How do environmental factors influence the rate of CO2 emission from soil?
Before the lab meets, students read about decomposition, the global carbon cycle, and how the experimental chambers work. At the first lab session in small groups they collaboratively design their own experiment that will examine the influence of a single environmental factor on the rate of CO2 emission from soil. They then conduct the experiment (which involves a 24 to 48 hour incubation in the field). The following week in lab students measure final weights of soda lime, they use a t-test to statistically analyze their results, and as homework write a draft lab report and then a final lab report.
At the end of this lab exercise students will be able to:
carbon dioxide, abiotic factors, biogeochemical cycles, biophysical ecology, biotic factors, carbon cycle, climate change, decomposition, ecological services, ecosystems, ecosystem function, forest ecology, grasslands, greenhouse effect, global warming, microorganisms, slope effects, soil carbon, temperature
collecting and presenting data, data analysis, experimental design, field work, formulating hypotheses, graphing data, hypothesis generation and testing, identify biotic-abiotic interactions, library research, quantitative data analysis, quantitative sampling, scientific writing, soil moisture analysis, statistics, use of primary literature, use of spreadsheets, writing lab reports
bounded inquiry, cooperative learning, formal groupwork, group work assessment, guided inquiry, inquiry, open-ended inquiry, peer evaluation, project-based teaching, rubric, prime trait assessment