Skip to Content

Prairie Garden of Troubles


Author(s)

Bruno Borsari
Biology Department
Winona State University
bborsari@winona.edu

Abstract

This "clicker case" was developed for a general biology course for non-majors. It focuses on prairie habitat ecology and restoration. Jim, a young ecologist, has created a reconstructed prairie in his backyard. His neighbors don't like it and they have complained to the local building inspector. The city weed ordinance is very clear about vegetation management, and Jim has been told that he must mow his plants and keep a tidy lawn like everyone else in the neighborhood. But he feels strongly that his efforts to create a more sustainable form of landscape in the Midwest town in which he lives are being misunderstood. Eventually, Jim will have to defend his case in court. The case is presented in class as a series of PowerPoint slides (~10MB) with multiple-choice questions that students answer using personal response systems (“clickers”) although it could be adapted for use without these technologies.


Objectives

  • Learn the basic ecological characteristics of a prairie ecosystem, including prairie ecological services (soil humus formation, water conservation, pollination, biodiversity).
  • Develop an appreciation for prairie habitat restoration and conservation.
  • Study plant biodiversity.
  • Be introduced to concepts of co-evolution and symbiosis among plant species and pollinators.

Keywords

Prairie ecosystem; grassland; grasses, wildflowers; perennials; habitat restoration; habitat conservation; landscape design; sustainable landscaping; biodiversity; Midwest

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF, PowerPoint

Type / Methods

Clicker, Interrupted, Role-Play

Language

English

Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Ecology  |   Botany / Plant Science  |   Agriculture  |   Natural Resource Management  |  


Date Posted

2/11/2011

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Comments


Diane Herr
dherr@waterfordschools.org
Science
Waterford High School
Waterford, CT
02/12/2011
Nice study. This encompasses many of the concepts in my AP Environmental Science course and I see this opening up discussion on many of the concepts we discussed throughout the year. I am going to use this in my unit on politics and economics. Thank you.

-----------------------------