Option #1: Scientific Inquiry Using WildCam Gorongosa
Gorongosa National Park is a 1,570-square mile protected area in Mozambique. Lion researcher Paola Bouley and her team use motion-detecting trail cameras to learn more about
Gorongosa’s lions. Lions are not the only animal captured by these cameras. The photos provide valuable information on a variety of different animals, including numbers to help estimate populations, behaviors, and interactions with other animals. The public has identified animals and collected data from the photos on a citizen science website called WildCam Gorongosa (www.wildcamgorongosa.org). The WildCam Lab is a part of WildCam Gorongosa where you can view trail camera data on a map, and filter and download the data to investigate scientific questions.
The process of science, termed the scientific method, is iterative and adaptable.
- The first step in scientific inquiry typically consists of making observations about the natural world. Observations can inspire questions about phenomena, to gain understanding about how nature works. For scientists to answer a question, it must be testable, meaning that it could be answered by designing an experiment and/or collecting data.
- After identifying a testable question, the scientist may form a hypothesis, which is an explanation for the observed phenomenon, based on observations and/or prior scientific knowledge.
- Before collecting data, the scientist may also predict the expected results of the investigation if the hypothesis is supported.
- The scientist can test the hypothesis through experimentation or further observation.
- Finally, the scientist completes an analysis of the data collected.
In this activity, you will learn firsthand what it is like to be an ecologist studying Gorongosa’s wildlife. You will use actual trail camera data to generate a testable question, form a hypothesis and prediction, and choose and analyze the appropriate data to answer your question from the WildCam Lab. The results of your investigation may contribute to the conservation effort in Gorongosa National Park.
The above text is taken nearly verbatim from Student Worksheet, which can be downloaded from http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/scientific-inquiry-using-wildcam-gorongosa.
You should also click on and review the Excel Tutorial (XLS). Complete this worksheet, either as a Word DOCX file, in the pdf file using PDF editing tools, or as a print out. You may need to scan in the worksheet if you print it out. Please submit it in the Module 1 Folder.
Note: You must submit your Excel file with your report. This will aid in grading with partial credit if errors are found in the report.