The final lesson involves videoconferencing between students and a State Park Interpreter. The interpreter will provide an overview of Año Nuevo State Reserve and present material on the evolutionary history and adaptations of the northern elephant seal. Much of the session will involve questions and discussion of material covered in the previous lessons, as well as new questions or observations that students come up with during the videoconference.
1. Videoconference with a State Park Interpreter from Año Nuevo State Reserve.
2. Explore the evolutionary history of the elephant seal, its many adaptations to a marine environment.
There is little difference in the way this lesson would be organized regardless of whether students are in middle school or high school. One modification would be to allow interested students to act as moderators in place of the teacher.
One 45 to 60 minute class period
Videoconference setup (either a camera-enabled computer, tablet, or standards-based videoconference machine) tested from the school.
Projector, TV, or SmartBoard
1. At least two weeks prior to the videoconference, the State Park Interpreter and the teacher should begin communicating about content of videoconference.
2. Prior to the videoconference, prepare your students using the provided Unit of Study lessons, or classroom curriculum. Students might be encouraged to bring questions to the videoconference pertaining to evolution, adaptation, behavior, or habitat.
3. At least a week prior to the videoconference, conduct a test connection (see technology page on website for more details www.ports.parks.ca.gov). Be sure to coordinate with your district technology support.
Day of the Videoconference:
Discuss with the distance learning presenter the roles and responsibilities of both you, the teacher, and the students themselves. This will best assure a valuable educational experience.
The teacher or moderator should be prepared to call on students who have questions or comments. The teacher needs to reinforce that students must speak loudly and clearly when responding to questions and that classroom noise must be kept to a minimum in order for the State Park Interpreter to hear and present effectively. Initially students may be reluctant to interact with the State Park Interpreter and voice their questions or comments. To encourage students to participate you might have them tell their question to the moderator and then have the moderator repeat their question.
A great deal of material has been covered in this unit, and students may have residual questions or interests in a particular area. These questions or interests could be developed in classroom discussions, round-table discussions, or in brief essays by the students. Interested students could pursue independent projects relating to their areas of interest.