The Great Waste Debate
Maryland Science Core Expectation (Concepts of Biology): The student will investigate the interdependence of diverse living organisms and their interactions with the components of the biosphere.
Maryland Science Core Expectation (Skills and Processes): The student will pose scientific questions and suggest experimental (computational) approaches to provide answers to questions.
Maryland Mathematics Core Expectation (Functions and Algebra): The student will model and interpret real-world situations, using the language of mathematics and appropriate technology.
Potential Cross-Curricular Connections: Environmental Science
Activity/Learning Indicator Match
This task enables the students to use a computer model to test whether cow waste or commercial fertilizer introduces more phosphates and nitrogen into the Chesapeake Bay. The model is set up to analyze the same 100 acres used in two different ways: for housing or for a dairy farm. For the sake of simplicity, the dissipation of the phosphates and nitrogen is not shown. An advanced class would want to investigate that aspect of the model to make it more realistic.
After discussing the impact of phosphates and nitrogen on the health of the Chesapeake Bay, introduce the students to STELLATM by demonstrating the appropriate use of the software with a simple model. The students may work alone or in pairs, depending on computer availability.
Materials Required: The Great Waste Debate Model and STELLATM, a system dynamics programming language.
Estimated Time: 4 class periods (of 45 minutes each)
Activity 1 | Activity 2 | Activity 3 | Activity 4