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Creating ecosystems out of ecocolumns

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Learning about ecosystems through textbooks and videos was not enough for Ms. Maria Sotomayor’s IB Biology classes. Taking hands on learning to the next level, the IB Biology students created “ecocolumns” over the past month in order to learn about sustainable ecosystems.

Ecocolumns are model ecosystems made out of soda bottles that create a “column” effect. In their projects, there is a terrestrial chamber, a decomposition chamber and an aquatic chamber. Each group was required to plant seeds, maintain life and try to make their columns viable environments. “Every organism is connected and unknowingly dependent on each other,” senior Sierra Randolph said.

Groups had to work together to get a good score and keep their ecocolumn going through the weeks with little assistance from Ms. Sotomayor. “I like that she left it mostly up to the students so that we had to figure it out for ourselves,” senior Isaac Gamboa said. “We did not really run into any problems.”

Though the project was a fun activity, the purpose was to learn about how important even the smallest aspect of ecosystems can be to the overall environment. “I learned that ecosystems are very delicate and that every little change matters,” Gamboa said. “It’s really important to keep track of the environment to make sure that nothing dies. Yet, the most fun part was seeing our plants grow and our fish looking happy throughout the whole process.”

After the completion of the project, the groups are able to take their surviving creatures home or donate them to Ms. Sotomayor’s aquarium. “I think a success would be having the fish survive and being able to take it home,” Randolph said. “I’m hopeful that we will make it to the end successful.”

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Creating ecosystems out of ecocolumns