At first, the idea of life underground may seem impossible. It is dark, damp and surrounded by dirt. Yet, many creatures call the underground their home for all or part of their lives. We see and admire trees, but we see only part of them. Underground, their roots interact in fascinating ways. Many creatures live their lives in caves without ever seeing the light of day. Some bacteria live inside of rocks, and over 400 lakes are deep underground in Antarctica. We will explore these many facets of the underground biosphere.
For young audiences we will focus on familiar creatures such as ants, worms, and moles. Older audiences will enjoy a tour of the entire range of underground life.
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Following are Massachusetts Science Curriculum topics that are addressed in this program:
1 Recognize that water, rocks, soil, and living organisms are found on the earth’s surface.
Living Things and Their Environment
6 Recognize that people and other animals interact with the environment through their senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
8 Identify the ways in which an organism’s habitat provides for its basic needs (plants require air, water, nutrients, and light; animals require food, water, air, and shelter).
2.2 Describe how human beings use parts of the body as tools (e.g., teeth for cutting, hands for grasping and catching), and compare their use with the ways in which animals use those parts of their bodies.
Characteristics of Plants and Animals
1 Classify plants and animals according to the physical characteristics that they share.
Structures and Functions
2 Identify the structures in plants (leaves, roots, flowers, stem, bark, wood) that are responsible for food production, support, water transport, reproduction, growth, and protection.
Adaptations of Living Things
6 Give examples of how inherited characteristics may change over time as adaptations to changes in the environment that enable organisms to survive, e.g., shape of beak or feet, placement of eyes on head, length of neck, shape of teeth, color.
8 Describe how organisms meet some of their needs in an environment by using behaviors (patterns of activities) in response to information (stimuli) received from the environment. Recognize that some animal behaviors are instinctive (e.g., turtles burying their eggs), and others are learned (e.g., humans building fires for warmth, chimpanzees learning how to use tools).
10 Give examples of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival. Explain how some of these changes may affect the ecosystem.
2.1 Identify a problem that reflects the need for shelter, storage, or convenience.
2.4 Compare natural systems with mechanical systems that are designed to serve similar purposes, e.g., a bird’s wings as compared to an airplane’s wings.
Classification of Organisms
1 Classify organisms into the currently recognized kingdoms according to characteristics that they share. Be familiar with organisms from each kingdom.
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