This is an in-class case study activity that introduces relevancy between atomic structure (specifically isotopes) and animal migration. Students will apply their knowledge of isotopes, writing atomic symbols, and calculating average atomic mass while also connecting this information to another application (in this case animal migration).
Students will read articles provided beforehand, and then complete the assignment in class led by the instructor and student learning assistants. They will then test their knowledge by submitting their answers via an online clocker-type response system.
A student should be able to apply his/her knowledge of atomic symbols, isotopes, and calculating the average atomic weight of an element to examples involving tracking animal migration. A student should also be able to explain the real world application of knowing the aforementioned information and recognizing the relevance of the lecture content.
an online in-class clicker system
see faculty file "In-Class Instructor Notes"
A pre-lecture homework assignment is given BEFORE the case study lecture to ensure the students come prepared with the required knowledge to complete the assignment. In this case, the homework would test on understanding of what an isotope is, how to calculate the average atomic mass, and how to write atomic symbols of different elements/isotopes.
An in-class clicker-based quiz (~10 min) is delivered after completion of the assignment to assess how well students performed on the assignment questions. This quiz is provided in the faculty files section.
Students were actively participating in this assignment and asked a variety of questions while working on the content. It was helpful to walk around the room and ask students how they were doing. A common student question was related to writing the isotope names in the form of "carbon-12" and needing confirmation that the number was indeed the mass number. Generally student feedback was very positive and they enjoyed the application since many are biology/conservation/ecology majors.