This science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) unit follows the Ring of Darhad Mongolia Wolverine Expedition and includes seven standards-based and inquiry-based lessons for upper elementary through middle school that align with both national standards and Common Core State Standards. The live expedition took place in March-April 2013; however, these evergreen lessons can be used anytime to guide you and your students through the biodiversity of the mountainous northern Mongolian ecosystem while applying wildlife ecology research techniques to your own local schoolyard.
Each lesson is approximately one hour long and includes options for adapting the lesson to different age groups and extending the learning. The lessons can be completed in any order and can be taught independently or outside of the unit.
Lesson 1: Meet the Team
Discover the mission of the Ring of Darhad Mongolia Wolverine Expedition and the planning that was required to make this journey a success. “Meet” the members of the team through short videos and start to uncover and appreciate how exciting adventures like this can support science. Learn more about Gregg Treinish, the principal investigator of the expedition.
Lesson 2: Discover the Darhad
Explore northern Mongolia and the Darhad region, including its location, topography, and people. Trace the expedition’s route on a map, learn about resupply points and compare American culture with the Mongolian culture through research.
Lesson 3: Explore the Ecosystem of Northern Mongolia
Learn more about the Darhad region’s ecosystem and how its species are interconnected through games and diagrams. Explore how the wolverine’s survival depends on the health of the entire Darhad ecosystem through research.
Lesson 4: Become a Wildlife Ecologist
Explore how scientists gather data on wildlife and the techniques they use in the field. Investigate signs of life and search for evidence of life in your own schoolyard.
Lesson 5: Biodiversity of the Ring of Darhad
Use a simple simulation to discover how biodiversity is calculated. Then calculate biodiversity of a model of northern Mongolia. Research species that live in the Ring of Darhad and play a whole-class game to explore the biodiversity of the region.
Lesson 6: Climate Change and the Wolverine
Study various climates around the world by exploring global data and comparing different cities. Identify how your actions contribute to climate change and how the wolverine is affected by warming temperatures. Take action to help protect the wolverine.
Lesson 7: Schoolyard Biodiversity Study
Become an adventure scientist by examining the biodiversity of your schoolyard. Use a field journal to plan and prepare for your adventure, collect data in the field, and draw conclusions from your findings.