2005-2006 Berkeley High School


In the Classroom

Brian Kraatz and Alison Purcell have been working with Mardi Merten's AP Environmental Science class since September. They started the year by giving the students background on their own research and expertise. Next, students were introduced to the amazing biodiversity in California and students made hypotheses of why this rich biodiversity exists. In order to develop the skills that students would need on the fieldtrips, Brian talked about the nature of science using an activity he developed: The Egg Activity. Students also observed oak leaves to improve their note taking and observation skills. Students learned about plant adaptation and then took a fieldtrip to the UC Botanical Gardens in October.

As part of the Biodiversity in the Schoolyard curriculum, students did a lesson on insect orders and then collected insects at two sites on the Berkeley High campus. By sampling at two sites, students could compare the biodiversity at the sites by calculating species richness and other biodiversity metrics. Next, students learned about sampling design and collected plants from the campus and curated them by pressing and mounting the collected plants (right and below). For the final section of the Biodiversity in the Schoolyard curriculum, students looked at vertebrates from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and reconstructed dog skeletons. Students also learned how to identify birds by looking at bird specimens from the MVZ (below) and they have installed bird feeders on the Berkeley High campus to do periodic bird counts.

Some of the plants collected, pressed, mounted, and labeled by the BHS students:







Identifying birds at UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology:

Esther and Rivkah try to identify their bird specimen.
Jane and Justin use a field guide to learn about a bufflehead specimen.
Janiece and Brian work on their written description and drawing of a bird specimen.

California Biodiversity lesson
The Egg Activity
Biodiversity in the Schoolyard lesson
Introduction to Pinning Insects lesson

Field Trips

UC Botanical Garden Field Trip, October 11 and 13, 2005: Students are introduced to the flora of California and learn how scientists make observations and descriptions of plants.

Strawberry Creek Restoration Project, Fall 2005-Spring 2006: Students participate in a UC Berkeley project to reintroduce native plants along this Berkeley campus creek.

Briones Regional Park Field Trip, February 22, 2006: Students explore the distribution and abundance of amphibians and reptiles in different habitats.

Angelo Coast Range Reserve Field Trip, March 29-31 and April 21-23, 2006: Students explore the natural communities along the Eel River, which include redwood forests, meadows, and chaparral.

May 13th Celebration: In celebration of their year's achievements, the students of Berkeley High School prepared PowerPoint presentations and posters representing the activities of the year. Students shared field trip experiences and results of school projects. We thank Mardi Mertens and her students for a wonderful year.

Previous Years

2004-2005 BHS activities

Berkeley High  |   Pittsburg High  |   Richmond High  |   Adams Middle