Prey, Predator, and the Ecosystem

Tihmily Li, Communications Officer
Last week, our Grade 7s explored the nature of predator and prey relationships within ecosystems for their Integration Project. The students worked in small groups to learn about these interactions. Many of the activities include interactive experiments, mapping, writing, and role-playing. The goal of the Integration Project is to demonstrate how math and science can be used in conjunction with the humanities in each student’s learning and development. From this week, students got a chance to utilize their scientific knowledge, mathematical skills and English composition skills. At the end of week, students produced a newspaper article to inform the public about what they learned and how to protect natural habitats from invasive species.

“The students really seemed to enjoy the change from their regularly scheduled classes,” says Janelle Watson, Director of Grade 7 and 8. “The collaborative energy allowed students to bounce ideas off of each other as they made predictions or ideated solutions. The mixture of soft skills with data-driven responses helped students become well-rounded in their approach to problem solving.” 

“One of the main goals of the Integration Project is for students to gain a better understanding of how interconnected their subjects truly are,” adds Callie Bowman, Mathematics Teacher. “By learning about a real-world scenario through math and science lenses, then sharing their findings through an English article, they are able to develop a cross-curricular appreciation for their topic. It was also really nice to be able to bring the grade together as one big group to help foster new friendships and increase the intra-grade connectedness.”

“I enjoyed getting to work with students outside of my regular classes and I was able to get to know more students from my grade,” says Thomas Lockwood, Grade 7 student. “I also enjoyed that the project connected to real world issues”. 

Similarly, the Grade 8 students will have their Integration Week from December 7 to 10, exploring social justice.

Here’s a sample of just a few of our Grade 7s' news articles:

Invasive Species Emerald Ash Borer Destroying Ash Trees in Ontario
By Mackenzie, Grade 7

“Invasive species are destroying the environment, damaging fisheries, and costing American taxpayers billions of dollars annually.” These are the words of John M. McHugh in 2005, raising awareness of just one of the examples of the negative impacts of invasive species. Emerald ash borers are an invasive species native to Asia. They migrated to Ontario and are now destroying ash trees by devouring the layer underneath the bark on the trees. Another reason why these species are extremely invasive is that they have no main predators. 

The problem is that these species are eating away our ash trees. They spread quite fast, and have minimal to no predators. Our trees are extremely vital in our ecosystems, so we must do whatever it takes to minimize these species. If you see an emerald ash borer, you can actually do our environment a favour by exterminating it. Emerald ash borers migrate in a variety of ways. A couple of ways they can migrate are: they can fly from place to place; they travel on boats; and they can spread through human actions (e.g., attach to shoes). They can migrate because since they are invasive, they don’t really belong anywhere, so most of them can survive almost anywhere/everywhere.

On that note, we reflect on both how we can fix this issue, and how the issue works. Little do most of us know, one way of reducing this issue is to spread awareness. So we should continue to do so and also begin taking action. There are many other ways you can take action other than the list I have incorporated into this article. Feel free to base any sort of action off of social media or on a domain off of Google or any other platforms.

Ash Trees In Danger: The Emerald Ash Borer and Its Devastating News
By Edie, Grade 7

The emerald ash borer is killing trees and lots of jobs are in jeopardy because of the emerald ash borer. It is affecting companies such as those that make baseball bats. Emerald ash borer was brought to Canada from the US on a wood transport. Even one little insect could cause more damage than you think, for example 40 million trees in the USA have already fallen down because of this invasive species. Emerald ash borer travel around a mile a year, so wood transporters play a big role in moving them around the USA. They also have no natural predators so that is another reason why this is very important.

The emerald ash borer is endangering the species of ash trees. The companies that use ash wood to make their products are going bankrupt (eg., baseball bats). Trees with emerald ash borer infestation usually only get cut down once it has been heavily infested (full of emerald ash borer). These signs include the loss of green colour in the leaves and thinning and dieback of the crown. I think they should care because a lot of the world’s wood comes from ash wood. To help this cause people around the world should burn the wood before using it just to make sure there are no invasive species living inside. Emerald ash borer were brought to the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes. As of October 2018, it is now found in 35 states and even in Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. 

We should take more care and be more careful to stop the spread of emerald ash borer and more invasive species. I think we could stop this invasive species by checking thoroughly and clear out the invasive species that are killing the ash trees. Even though this might cost more money for the government, I think that this is a very serious topic as it causes around $138 billion in damages for innocent companies.

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Greenwood College School

443 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto, ON M4S 2L8
Tel: 416 482 9811