In our recent investigation of the word <biosphere> we found that the most likely hypothesis is <bi> + <o> + <sphere>. The base <bi> is from the Greek bios meaning life. In searching for some other words that share this same base students found:
The word biotic was an unfamiliar one until we added the prefix <anti> to it. When I asked if anyone had ever taken an antibiotic, almost all hands went up. With the shared understanding that an antibiotic was a medicine, we could talk about the word’s denotation or literal definition. The prefix <anti> means against and the base <bi> means life. An antibiotic is against (destructive to) micro-organisms (living organisms) in the body.
The word biotic took on another meaning last week when we went to the creek to see what kinds of macroinvertebrates live there. Our task was to use the Biotic Index to determine the quality of the water. The students each had a tally sheet that listed the types of macroinvertebrates we might find. On the tally sheet, the macroinvertebrates were grouped by how sensitive or tolerant each was to pollution.
Two students from each class wore waders and got in the water with me. We demonstrated how scientists take kick samples using a D frame net. Then the samples were carried to the waiting white pans. The rest of the class spent time examining the macroinvertebrates in the pans and marking down the types and numbers of macroinvertebrates they found. The calculations would come later when we returned to the class. In the meantime, we were looking at the insects living in the creek (biotic) knowing that their numbers and sensitivity to pollution would be what would determine the water’s quality.
Here are some pictures from our trip to the creek.