FS: Marine Life Investigations
Ron S. Nolan
nolan at cyberlearn.com
Tue Jan 30 19:54:54 EST 1996
Coral Kingdom 1.1
Announcing a new CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows that offers an
exciting venture into the marine world of the coral reef.
Why Study Coral Reefs?
Coral reefs are well defined ecosystems that provide concise examples of
energy flow and materials recycling as well as the complex
interrelationships between organisms and the environment. Since coral
reef plants and animals have developed specialized adaptations for
feeding, reproduction and predator avoidance that permit very high
biodiversity in a limited geographic area, the study of the coral reef
is ideally suited for units on adaptations, biodiversity and
Finally, coral reefs and their inhabitants are strikingly interesting,
beautiful and exotic. They are wild, colorful places that excite the
imagination. The software has been carefully crafted to challenge
students to use critical thinking about nature and the environment. To
paraphrase one reviewer's comment, "Coral Kingdom is not a game. It is
a serious academic program."
The Coral Kingdom package offers you many ways to incorporate the
software into your curriculum. The extensive, 179 page Teachers Guide
is packed with ideas and activities. Transcripts of the program content
allow you to turn off the sound and provide your own expert commentary.
And since the topics are thematically arranged, you may select
assignments that will illustrate some of the most important concepts in
biology and ecology.
"Coral Kingdom is a serious academic program. It asks students to do
some real scientific thinking." Technology and Learning. "If...you are
looking for thematic units in science, then you should examine Coral
Kingdom." The Computing Teacher. "Stunning visuals, detailed narration
and excellent supplemental reference materials guide exploration of a
coral reef, its biology and its ecology. MacUser "The Ultimate Guide to
Children's Software" 4 mice.
Feel free to request a flyer or copies of educational journal reviews by
calling Digital Studios at (800) 499-3322 or by sending e-mail with your
nolan at cyberlearn.com
You may preview Coral Kingdom and download a demo version at our Web
Special Note to California Educators
Coral Kingdom has recently been awarded a "Desirable" rating by the
State of California Software Clearinghouse. The program has also been
certified as in compliance with social content requirements of Education
Code sections 60040=66044. Placement on this list notifies school
personnel that Coral Kingdom is approved for purchase with up to 30% of
their state Instructional Materials Fund (IMF) monies or through
petitions requested through the California Department of Education.
CORAL KINGDOM FEATURES
Thematic Approach to Biology and Ecology: Created by a marine ecologist,
the software incorporates a tremendous collection of original underwater
photography to illustrate a thematic approach to the study of reef
biology and ecology.
The software is ideally suited for units on the coral reef or to
demonstrate the concepts of form and function in adaptations,
interrelationships between organisms and habitat, competition, predator
avoidance, energy and materials cycles and human impacts in general
biology or introductory environmental science or ecology classes.
Missions: Each of the four units incorporates a hands-on activity to be
completed by students--either in small groups or individually. Each
mission consists of an exploratory microworld intended to stimulate the
curiosity of students and to engage their interest in the natural
world. The methods used by the students at the computer are much like
those actually employed by a field ecologist.
Each of the four missions takes the user on a research SCUBA dive in
which he or she controls the direction and pace of the investigation.
The procedures to be followed and mission objectives are described in
detail within the unit sections of the teachers guide and can be
accessed by clicking the "?" button during a mission. An on-line
notebook is provided in which students store information acquired by
clicking objects on the screen during the underwater expedition. The
content of the notebook may be saved as a text file, then edited or
printed using a word processor program.
Sea Life Catalog: Students have access to an extensive data base which
is available for reference at all times. Problems to be solved in the
missions require students to conduct library research using the data
base. Species entries in the Sea Life Catalog are accessed by
scientific or common names. Each Sea Life Catalog entry provides
information about an organism's structure, coloration, relationship to
the environment, behavior, specializations and human impact. The
catalog may be accessed from any map or from the slide shows by clicking
on the "SLC" button. In a mission, the SLC button lights after the
user has clicked on a subject on the screen. Clicking the highlighted
SLC button during a mission takes the user directly to information about
the organism on the screen.
Study Units: The program content is thematically presented and
organized into four major units. Each unit consists of a series of
multimedia slides shows and is accompanied by a research activity.
Unit 1: Discovering Adaptations introduces the theme that structure
matches function and presents an overview of the diversity of sizes,
shapes, colors and lifestyles found on a coral reef. In this unit we
explore the relationship of species to the environment--in particular
adaptations in feeding and coloration. In Mission: Kohala Coast, the
user makes underwater observations, then uses the Sea Life Catalog to
find the unique adaptations of the selected organisms.
In Unit 2: The Coral Reef Ecosystem, we look at how reefs are formed
and the vertical distribution of organisms on the reef face. We also
seek to understand the living and non-living forces that build reefs and
break them down. Finally we explore how solar energy is captured and
transmitted through the ecosystem. The activity for this unit, Mission:
Marshall Islands, challenges students to make underwater observations in
order to develop a species list, then fit the organisms into a food web.
Unit 3: Investigating Interrelationships examines the ways in which
organisms interact with the biotic and abiotic environment. We explore
competition for food and habitat and the concept of the Competitive
Exclusion Principle--as well as symbiotic relationships. Finally, we
examine structural and behavioral adaptations and the survival
strategies employed by a wide diversity of organisms. In the activity,
Mission: South Point, students speculate about how superficially
similar species of butterflyfishes are able to live in close proximity.
In Unit 4: Exploring Human Impacts, we examine the environmental
impacts of development, fishing and diving. We also survey the present
status of reef ecosystems in the Pacific and Atlantic and learn why
reefs are important to the planet and the human species. Finally we
offer suggestions on what can be done to protect imperiled coral reefs.
In Mission: Reef Preservation, students discover human activities that
may negatively impact coral reef ecosystems.
Incorporation into Existing Curricula: CORAL KINGDOM 1.1 was designed
for flexible incorporation into existing academic programs. Ranging
from straight forward activities (discovering the relationship of
structure and function in adaptations) to the complex (investigating how
butterflyfishes avoid competition), the teacher may pick and choose from
twenty hours of suggested activities. The materials may be used to
introduce a unit on ecology in general biology classes or as a case
study in environmental science and ecology courses. The hypermedia
format of the program allows instructors to select topics of particular
interest for either classroom presentation or individual study.
As part of the design enabling flexible application, teachers may use a
special feature to turn off the audio when presenting the slide shows in
group settings. To support this feature, transcripts of the narration
are provided in the teachers guide providing a valuable source for
lectures. When used in this fashion, the slide shows serve as an
extensive visual database of underwater imagery which may be quickly
accessed during the lecture.
Students who fully explore the slide shows and participate in the
research missions will gain a solid understanding of some of the most
important themes of ecology This experience will, hopefully, lead them
to the conclusion that coral reefs are precious resources worthy of our
CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows from the CyberLearning Collection
Age Level: middle through first year college
Developer/Publisher: Digital Studios
Product Orders: (800) 499-3322
Pricing: CD-ROM for Mac or Windows with 179 page Teachers
Multiple Lab Pack Discounts are Available
More Information: Digital Studios 209 Santa Clara Avenue Aptos CA
95003 (408) 688-3158
Save with Special Lab Pack Pricing
Options Unit Price Shipping FEDEX**
A. Single Edition* 79.00 5.58 11.00
B. Lab Pack (5)* 158.00 5.74 12.65
C. Lab Pack (10)* 237.00 5.86 15.45
D. Lab Pack (20)* 315.00 6.00 19.80
E. Lab Pack (35)* 395.00 6.25 25.05
F. Extra guides 20.00 5.58 11.00
* Each Option is accompanied by a Teachers Guide.
**FEDEX rate is for next day standard. FEDEX orders must be received by
2 PM PST for next day delivery.
Sales in California please add 8.25% to total price. Hawaii orders,
please call to discuss the fastest and most cost effective way to get
Coral Kingdom back to Hawaii.
Evaluation by the California Software Clearinghouse 1995
TITLE: Coral Kingdom 1.1
DESCRIPTION: The goal of this simulation is to explore the principle
themes of marine ecology and the environmental impact of human
activities. The program tour provides a clear introduction to
information that is organized logically by traditional pathways (kinds
of organisms), major concepts (ecological themes), and projected
learning pathways (way students are most likely to want to move from
section to section and back again). Logistically the program is easy to
navigate. It can be adapted for whole class use, small group
investigations using the missions, or as an independent resource for
individuals. Slide shows present information around major concepts and
themes: adaptations, interactions, ecological systems, human impact.
Missions stimulate scientific observations and are organized around
³diving² at investigation sites in Hawaii and Micronesia. Students view
slides with hot spots to focus on important ecological information.
They collect information about the inhabitants offshore in shallow to
deep waters. A student notebook facilitates systematic information
gathering and notes can be incorporated in a complete scientific report.
The fourth mission involves identifying and solving problems related to
human impact and reef preservation. As a logistics aid, dives are
limited to ³twenty minutes of air time² each. A Sea Life catalog
provides a database of nearly one hundred organisms listed by common and
scientific name with information on habitat, ecological niche, impact
on/by humans, behaviors and other interesting details. One drawback is
that progression through the slide show is linear and it is difficult to
access specific slides out of sequence.
SUPPORT MATERIALS: There is a CD-ROM and a teacher¹s manual with guides
to the slide shows and missions, suggested classroom uses, report form,
scripts, and suggested readings.
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: IBM: 4MB with 386 or better processor, Windows,
sound capability, VGA graphics, hard drive, and CD-ROM drive.
Macintosh: 4MB, CD-ROM drive, and color monitor.
CURRICULUM APPLICATIONS: This would be an excellent resource in a
library media center or science lab. It supports the thematic approach
of the California science framework. Activities offer hands-on
experience in gathering and analyzing scientific data. The program is
very text-dependent and requires a prior understanding of biological
terms. Students who love details would absorb it all, while others can
appreciate the big ideas that are reinforced by example throughout.
Consistency of format allows individual comparisons to be made, and the
photos provide a wealth of pictorial examples for the embedded tasks as
well as other uses the instructor might have when connecting this
program with other students of varying verbal abilities. Teachers can
use the program for direct assignments, independent resource material,
or presentation of specific information. The control can be given to
students with excellent results. It fits nicely in a constructivist
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