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Marine Biology - Ocean Ecosystems in Minecraft and the Real World - 4-weeks (Great First Time STEM Qwest Course)

Course Description

This course requires all students to have their own Minecraft account with the latest "Aquatic Update". (read this description fully for all information) Are all ocean habitats the same? What is a coral reef? What do sea turtles and dolphins eat?


This "Marine Biology - Ocean Ecosystems in Minecraft and the Real World" course will teach students about deep-sea biology, food chains, coastal ecology, aquatic adaptations and more!


On average, students will complete about 2 hours of work per week in the online classroom plus another 1-2 hours of exploring and building time in Minecraft during the 4-week course. Students can spend more time on their Minecraft construction projects they create during the course if they wish.


This course will follow a “flexible schedule” and does not have scheduled online meetings. This flexible schedule allows students to work at any time, 24/7 for the duration of the 4-week course. Thus, keeping all students working at a similar pace but not requiring them to attend a set online class meeting time.


Each Monday morning (12:00 am Pacific) the tasks for the week will be unlocked and available to enrolled students via the free online Canvas portal. Instructions on how to access the Canvas online classroom will be emailed prior to the start date of the course.


The weekly checklists include reading notes, taking quizzes, watching video lessons, creating your Minecraft builds, and posting your builds to the online discussion forums. The teacher will participate in the online discussion forums to provide feedback and can always be reached via email and through Canvas. To stay on track, students should follow the provided pacing guide each week of which tasks should be completed each day (Mon-Fri).


There is generally about 30 minutes of work per day plus Minecraft building time. This time can be spread out over many days or condensed to fewer days depending on the students’ schedule. Students should be sure to complete the weekly tasks before the next week of tasks are unlocked to stay on track. Class participants will do all Minecraft building on their own personal device.


Minecraft is required for all students but the device does not matter. Students will use creative mode in Minecraft to build their weekly tasks. Many versions of Minecraft are available such as Pocket Edition for iPad or Android tablets, Xbox, Nintendo or Play Station gaming consoles, Java edition for PC/Mac computer, and Windows10 version for PC’s. Downloading or purchase of a Minecraft account for each student must be made separately and prior to the start of class. Instructions on how to build with Minecraft are not part of this course. Students with a few weeks of Minecraft experience through play or otherwise will have the skills needed to complete the builds in Minecraft. *This course does require that students have the latest version of Minecraft with the "Aquatic Update".


The "Week 1: Ocean Biomes" unit will teach students about the many different ocean environments from the frigid Arctic to tropical coral reefs. This week’s quiz will focus on the various ocean biomes and the plants and animals that live in them.


During "Week 2: Adaptations and Endangered Species" students will learn about the adaptations aquatic life has made in order to survive in the numerous habitats of the world's oceans. Some of these adaptations have made certain species prone to over-harvesting and endangerment. This week’s quiz will focus on the topics of natural selection and also how nature and humans have impacted the populations of aquatic species.


In "Week 3: Let's eat!" students will learn about the difference between a food chain and a food web. They will also learn about the various roles of organisms in an ecosystem to include producers, consumers, and predators. This week’s quiz will focus on how energy is passed from one organism to another through the energy pyramid and where organisms exist in this "circle of life".


For the "Week 4: Coastal Ecology" unit, students will learn how much of the world's population lives near the ocean coasts and how the interaction of people and the marine environment can cause problems such as pollution and building in places that are environmentally sensitive. This week’s quiz will focus on the diverse aquatic life of the ocean coastal zone including estuaries, tide pools, mangroves and sandy beaches and also on the ways people can protect these beautiful and sensitive habitats.


Week 5 is for "catch up and wrap up". No new tasks are assigned this week. Students will use the week to submit any late or missing work, view the builds created by other students or add any missing features to their builds.


A Minecraft account must be purchased by the learner and is not included in the course fee. Any and all versions of Minecraft are acceptable.

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