Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Using Star Wars to Teach Biomes and Ecosystems


A big part of "Playing Like a Pirate" is using pop culture to teach. Whether it's music, video games, movies or television, you'll get kids on board if you indulge in pop culture from time to time. Or if you're me, all the time. One of the many things I love about the Star Wars movies is the planets. With few exceptions, each world in that far away galaxy is a single biome. It's simplistic, but you've gotta admit, if you're going to be going from planet to planet in a movie, it's nice to be able to look out the window and see snow, sand, or forest and know where you are.


Using those different planets can help students understand the concept of biomes and ecosystems, and have a little fun with it at the same time. In between the movies and television series and video games, there have been dozens of planets represented on different sizes of screens.


If you need a refresher for some of the major ones that are seen most often in the movies, there are handy videos on YouTube that will help you see which planets you might want to include. Chances are very good that most of your students have seen several Star Wars movies...they can help you out too.

For students studying biomes and ecosystems, there are key things they could be looking for in these single-biome worlds of Star Wars. The landforms, flora, and fauna of each world are unique to those worlds, but have distinct similarities to creatures and environments found on Earth.

Three planets I'd use as examples: Tatooine, Hoth, and Naboo. Each is well-known, and both Tatooine and Naboo are featured in several movies, showing us more of their environment than some of the other worlds. By showing video clips from the films, or links to websites (where geeks have obsessively written about the plants and animals of these fictional planets), students can get an idea of what biomes are represented.

Tatooine is a desert planet, and is prominently featured in Episodes I, II, IV, and VI of the Star Wars series. Prominent creatures include banthas, rancors, womprats, dewbacks, and the sarlaac.

Hoth is an ice planet, seen only in Episode V. We only meet two indigenous species, the tauntaun and the wampa.

Naboo is a temperate world, featured in Episode I and II. We see forests, grasslands, and even aquatic biomes here, breaking the Star Wars rule of "one planet, one biome" -- but we see fambaa, kaadu, opee sea killer, falumpaset, and other creatures.


After learning what a biome is and studying Earth's biomes and ecosystems, students can extend those skills by analyzing the fictional worlds. Some sample questions and activities:


  • What physical factors do we see on that planet? Temperature? Water? Humidity? Light? Landforms?
  • What ecosystem niches are represented in what we see of that planet? Producers? Consumers? Herbivores? Carnivores?
  • What niches are missing (simply not seen) in what we see of the planet in the movie? 
  • What Earth plants or animals could fit into those empty niches?
  • Design a Star Wars-style creature that would fit into the empty niches. 
  • How do the humans (or other sentient aliens) interact with that biome? 
  • Pick one of the Star Wars creatures and imagine what would happen if it were introduced into their equivalent ecosystem on Earth -- would it be successful here?  
  • Design a human outpost for that biome that would complement the existing ecosystem, being in harmony with the surroundings. 
  • Write a short story from the perspective of one of the Star Wars creatures, describing a day in their life. 
Pretty much every real world biome is represented by a Star Wars planet -- some other examples:

Endor - Temperate Forest
Dagobah - Swamp/Marshland
Kashyyyk - Rainforest
Yavin 4 - Jungle
Kamino - Aquatic
Jakku - An Awfully Tatooiney-Desert
Geonosis - Also Desert, But Like, Different 
Lothal - Grasslands 

...and then a few that push the envelope a little, but still have ecosystems of their own:

Mustafar - Volcanic
Bespin - Gas Planet/Cloud Ecosystem
Asteroid Field - uh...big spinny rocks in space
Coruscant - Completely Urban Planet

UPDATE: I guess Disney wants money, because they keep making Star Wars movies. Some more planets and biomes from recent films:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (I loved this waaaay more than I thought I would)

Lah'Mu - Volcanic, Contaminated Water and Soil
Ring of Kafrene - Two planetoids connected by an artificial city
Jedha - Rocky Desert in "Permanent Winter"
Yavin 4 - Jungle
Scarif - Tropical Beaches

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (Controversial movie, but incredible planets and biomes)

Ahch-To - Rocky Islands in a Cold/Temperate Climate
Cantonica - (another) Desert, but this one with an artificial oasis, complete with sea.
Crait - Red mineral planet crusted with a coating of white salt.

Ahch-To is probably my favorite of these worlds, and the most applicable to teaching students about biomes or ecosystems -- there are porgs and caretakers and Thala-Sirens, and we see how they interact with each other, and how Luke and Rey both interact with them. It's perhaps the closest thing we see to a complete ecosystem in the Star Wars movies, and I mean, porgs. PORGS.



Incorporating any one of those into your standard science lesson about biomes and ecosystems would grab your students' attention, help them think outside the box, and (best of all) deepen their understanding of the principles, structure, and vocabulary of the real science you're teaching them. If you're looking for a lesson they'll remember, look to that faraway galaxy. Help you, it will.



Subscribe to the Play Like a PIRATE Newsletter!

* indicates required
Email Format

35 comments:

  1. You have provided good information. I would love to read more on such topics. Thank you very much for it and carry on it. picbear

    ReplyDelete
  2. full spectrum cbd is composed of 3 main ingredients. They're. Vegetable cellulose helps in easy digestion - Magnesium Stearate Helps in making a smooth, easy-to swallow capsule - The product is made in a FDA, and United States Department of Agriculture registered lab, maintaining GMP standards. The product has also been tested to ensure there's no THC. About full spectrum cbd - full spectrum cbd is a small Colorado based company that carries out in depth studies on the uses of cannabis. This company was founded by 3 men who've always been enthusiastic about bring all natural health supplements to the masses. Through this act, they hope to improve the quality of life for many suffering people in this present day and age.

    full spectrum cbd

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The effectiveness of IEEE Project Domains depends very much on the situation in which they are applied. In order to further improve IEEE Final Year Project Domains practices we need to explicitly describe and utilise our knowledge about software domains of software engineering Final Year Project Domains for CSE technologies. This paper suggests a modelling formalism for supporting systematic reuse of software engineering technologies during planning of software projects and improvement programmes in Project Centers in Chennai for CSE.

      Spring Framework has already made serious inroads as an integrated technology stack for building user-facing applications. Spring Framework Corporate TRaining the authors explore the idea of using Java in Big Data platforms.
      Specifically, Spring Framework provides various tasks are geared around preparing data for further analysis and visualization. Spring Training in Chennai

      Delete
  3. Home Chef delivers all of the ingredients necessary to create your chosen meals. However, they don't provide common staples, such as cooking oil, salt, and pepper. You can skip meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe hunting. Home Chef works with high-quality food suppliers and professional chefs to deliver the best ingredients and tastiest recipes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFwOrnnb9u0

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey mate, it is very well written article, thank you for the valuable and useful information you provide in this post. Keep up the good work! FYI, please check these depression, stress and anxiety related articles:


    Overcome Depression

    Get Rid of Depression

    Deal With Depression

    Depression Management Tips

    Depression Cure

    Teenage Pregnancy


    You can also contact me at teenagepregnancy.net@gmail.com for link exchange, article exchange or for advertisement.

    Thanks

    Raina

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was reading some of your content on this website and I conceive this internet site is really informative ! Keep on putting up. logo packages

    ReplyDelete
  6. experience in performance, the company has many and many years in this field. It has strong relations with its valued customers and the basis of these relationships is the ultimate trust and excellent service at unbeatable prices in any way, and this is what made the ideal Fahud company the best insect control company in Jizan.شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام
    افضل شركة مكافحة حشرات

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! windows activator

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mail WEED Online UK

    ONLINE WEED SHOP#1 online dispensary. Shop and buy weed online including all types of cannabis, edibles, vapes, shatter, wax and concentrates and more.

    Get Visit Here for More Information:- buy Cannabis online UK
    We are always open and ready to serve you 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Do not hesitate to call or text us at any given time should you need help.
    Order WEED Online UK

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much. umpy Frog - Road Cross

    ReplyDelete
  10. During occasions, for example, free medicinal camp, there are numerous patients calling to the middle and getting some information about the camp.buy modvigil in usa

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yet, most won't get you an arrangement like a film agent. You can acquire them after you have an arrangement on the table. 123Movies

    ReplyDelete
  12. MEDICAL CANNABIS
    Thanks to the legalization of medical cannabis in almost every state in the US, there is no surprise to the rise of the medical cannabis trade in the US. Championed by its ability to serve as a panacea for a wide array of ailments, medical cannabis is working wonders on patients. Backed by years of extensive research, medical cannabis is available for all in legal dispensaries and online stores. This is certainly a welcomed substitute to the very many over the counter prescription drugs. Most of which have devastating side effects if the dosage isn’t right.
    Medical Cannabis
    The legalization of medical cannabis in the US (23 states to be precise) is a giant leap in the right direction. This is simply because of the existing proof championed by years of extensive research, which concluded that cannabis is good for our health. Sandwiched with its ability to treat a wide array of ailments. Some of which include
     Chronic pain relief
     Anxiety and stress management
     Reduction Inflammation
     Appetite stimulation
     Nausea relief
     Opioids withdrawal treatment
     Muscle spasm reduction
     Glaucoma treatment
    Uk weed dispensary The Future
    Are you in search of an online medical cannabis dealer you can trust, one who is reliable and always at your service 24/7, worry not for at the Secure Kush Dispensary, all of your worries will be a thing of the past. At the Secure Kush Dispensary, we offer a wide array of medical cannabis strains and CBD oils at very affordable prices. Some of our product categories include
     Cannabis oil https://weedstrainsuk.com/buy-grams-of-weed-online/
     Marijuana concentrates https://weedstrainsuk.com/product-category/marijuana-concentrates-online-uk/
     Marijuana edibles
     Prefilled vape pen oil cartridges https://weedstrainsuk.com/product-category/vape-cartridges-online-uk/
     Weed strains (sativa, indica, and hybrid) https://weedstrainsuk.com/product-category/hybrid-weed-strain/
    Buy Weed Online in the US with Secure Kush Dispensary
    Taking to mind the aforementioned ailments, should you be in need of the much-needed relief for both children and adults, our CBD supplements are very much available for you. At uk weed dispensary, you are at liberty to order any of our products online and you get it delivered at your doorstep and of course at amazingly affordable prices. Feel free to reach out to us at any hour of the day and let our agents attend to your every need and at your convenience with suitable answers to match.
    Final Note
    Should you be in need of the best medical cannabis you can possibly get in the Uk all you need is reach out to us today at https://weedstrainsuk.com. Place an order(s) depending on the strain or any cannabis-related product of choice and it be delivered in conformity with your order and on time. Remember your satisfaction and quality service delivery are our top priorities

    ReplyDelete



  13. After this brings up its clients get entertained well with its premium services, the Escorts in Agra is liable to increase the level of fun by its quality services dissimilar to get anywhere. So, let us forget everything and take pleasure in what you wait for a long time. Check our other Services...
    Female Escorts in Agra
    Russian Escorts in Agra
    Escorts in Agra
    Female Escorts in Agra
    Russian Escorts in Agra


    ReplyDelete
  14. I have perused your article, it is exceptionally enlightening and helpful for me.I respect the profitable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it. MOONROCKS

    ReplyDelete