Of Wolves, Rivers, and the Interconnectedness of Things

yellowstoneEvery now and then I run into something that reminds me of the interconnectedness of the world around us—and the wonder of it. I’m sure many of you have see the video making the rounds of social media titled “How Wolves Change Rivers.” If not, just stop now for 4.3 minutes and prepare to be awed.

What a great example to use when teaching about ecological systems. You could use it as a trigger for problem finding. What questions might students raise about this story? What makes them curious? How might scientists investigate those questions?

Or, you might think about how less dramatic changes might be happening in your own back yard. What environments near your school have been affected by loss of species? Are there questions to be asked there? What might happen if a particular species were re-introduced? What would need to happen to make the introduction successful? Hypothesizing (and justifying) how the environment might evolve is an opportunity for both scientific creativity and critical thinking. Or you might think about creating a terrarium habitat and consider what could happen if you introduced another species. Because the ability of populations in a terrarium to adapt are fairly limited, this may be best as a theoretical exercise, but the hypothesizing could be just as powerful.

If you’ve used this video in teaching, what have you done? Have you found ways to spark creative science?

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