The research project may be used with Biology, Environmental Science, and Integrated Science courses at the high school level. It was prepared as a guide for students to explore the impact that human activity may have on an ecosystem and the variety of societal issues that intervene in science issues.
Background for Teachers
The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) has spread throughout the Southeastern United States and, more recently, into Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, Riverside, and Kern Counties of California. This species of ant is not indigenous to the United States. The growth of its habitat has created problems in the agricultural sector of our Nations economy. Also, this species of ant is aggressive and poses a threat to animals and people who encroach on a RIFA hill. Researchers have not yet found a safe reliable method to eradicate the Red Imported Fire Ant. The State of California Department of Food and Agriculture (DFA) has delegated authority for handling the Red Imported Fire Ant problem to local governmental agencies.
Classroom Management Suggestions
Several methods of group formation exist for this project. First, as suggested by the instructions, groups of between 2 and 4 students will undertake the role of one person. Their products will be the result of negotiations at each step in the project and represent the work of one person. Second, as an alternative, groups of up to 5 students may be formed with each student taking on one role. Completed action plans may be submitted as a product.
Research in the school library should also be included. Depending upon your resources, students may be assigned library time and computer time in order to access more sources. Discuss the project with your school librarian to determine the extent of the available print sources.
The fictional newspaper article, letter from the school district to the board of supervisors, and the notice of public hearing are in text format and may be viewed by following the links provided. These should be printed, copied, and distributed to your students. You may adapt these to your community by saving the text to your computer and editing the text as you require.
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