Project: 2012 - 2013 High Park Fire Research and Recovery

Teacher: Sarah Bayer
School: Polaris Expeditionary Learning School
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado USA
Start Date: 09/14/2012
End Date: 05/15/2013
Project Plan
Unique Requests of
Participating Mentors:

The students will be working on a project in the High Park burn area in the mountains outside of Fort Collins, CO . We are looking for mentors who can help students with scientific inquiry, provide additional Web resources, and challenge each student to produce quality work. This will be an incredible project for students and mentors.


The student and mentor will work together under the teacher's supervision to research and restore a section of the affected High Park Fire burn area outside of Fort Collins, CO. Students will be incorporating all Biology curriculum into this project (e.g. ecology, cell biology, genetics, evolution and adaptation). To complete the project, students will 1. Identify the area to be restored.2. Visit the site, complete wildlife and vegetation analysis. 3. Collect data and analyze needs of the area with help of forest and wildlife professionals (flash flood mitigation, wildlife habitat, vegetation restoration). 4. Generate scientific investigation design and plans with student interest. 5. Conduct research projects with compare data with non burned area.6. Analyze and communicate research findings 7. Design a collaborative class project to improve habitat of affected area based on research findings. 8. Create a habitat improvement measurement tool 9. Conduct habitat improvement project 10. Use habitat improvement measurement tool to collect data on improvement 11. Present results of habitat improvement action to stakeholders and experts


Colorado Life Science Standards (High School Biology)- Benchmark 1: Matter tends to be cycled within an ecosystem, while energy is transformed and eventually exits an ecosystem Benchmark 2: The size and persistence of populations depends on their interactions and on the abiotic factors in an ecosystem. Benchmark 4: The energy for life derives from the interrelated processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Photosynthesis transforms the sun’s light energy into the chemical energy of molecular bonds. Cellular respiration allows cells to utilize chemical energy when these bonds are broken. Benchmark 5: Cells use passive and active transport of substances across membranes to maintain relatively stable intracellular environments. Benchmark 6: Cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems maintain relatively stable internal environments, even in the face of changing external environments. Benchmark 7: Physical and behavioral characteristics of an organism are influenced to varying degrees by heritable genes, many of which encode instructions for the production of proteins. Benchmark 8:Multicellualrity makes possible a division of labor at the cellular level through the expression of select genes, but not the entire genome Benchmark 9: Evolution occurs as the heritable characteristics of populations change across generations, and can lead populations to become better adapted to their environment.



Grade Level:


Content Area:

Science- Biology

Student Outcomes:

Student will maintain a notebook with all their gathered information. All students will be involved with the research and restoration project in some form. Students will understand how the guzzler works and why it is needed.

Evaluation of
Student Outcomes:

Students will write a final letter to the mentor which will include a self- evaluation of the project, including what the student did well, what he would like to have done to improve upon the project, and what the mentor contributed to the project.

Teacher Role:

Teacher's Role: Teacher will aid student in identifying research areas of interest. Teacher will create guidelines for students to follow during the research and restoration project. Teacher will evaluate student products.

Mentor Role:

Mentor's Role: Mentor will aid students in mastering and applying scientific inquiry during the course of developing a project for the research and restoration project.