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Train-the-teachers Initiative

Biology Conservation Lesson Plan

At the start of the game, remind students that sustainability is meeting the current needs without limiting the resources for future generations.


The aim of the conservation biology game was to learn about sustainability


At the end of the game students should be able to:

  1. Work together to plan and execute ideas

  2. learn about the effects of hunting/fishing on vulnerable wild populations


Beans or rice

Small containers


All students and facilitators present are to fish/hunt and explore sustainability issues

  • Each student is assumed to be a fisherman/hunter whose livelihood depends on catching fish/animals.

  • The rice/beans represent fish /wild animals and are worth 1 point ( equal money)

  • Each student is instructed to catch at least 2 beans in each round to survive

  • Each student counts his/her catch, and writes it down

  • 1 bean is added for every bean left in the Bowl.

    • The fishing/hunting is then repeated , recording and replenishing beans until either sustainable fishing levels are achieved or beans are gone from all Bowls.


At the end of the game the students should reflect on these questions:

  • How does this activity relate to real Ocean/Forest and Fishery/Hunting issues?

  • Are there other commonly Shared Resources that compete for use and survival such as air, forestry, animal grazing rights, parks, and other public lands?


Octave Course Outline

6 members of the University, materials and an exam at the end at the computer laboratory

– introduction to the concept of programming and getting to know the environment

– use of command prompt to make simple calculations with numbers first and then variables

– write simple functions to implement physics formulas, like kinetic energy and force

– introduction of the “if structure” by wrong input examples, such as negative mass and negative time values

– extension to the more complex “if structure” including “elseif” to implement more than 2 options that are always mutually exclusive, that is, always only one is satisfied

– introduction of matrices in octave: call the simple functions for a range of numbers, eg. Call the kinetic energy function for 1000 velocity values

– introduction of the “for loop”

– simple algorithms using the “for loop” to calculate the minimum, the maximum and the average of an one-dimensional matrix

– extend to two-dimensional matrices

– introduction to the concept of a counter that counts for example the zeros in a matrix

– algorithm to fill diagonal matrix, to check if a matrix is diagonal and symmetrical (use of logical flags)

Practical part (60 points)

  1. Write a function that takes as input the mass and the velocity of a moving object and calculates its kinetic energy (do not check for negative mass) (7 points)

    1. Write a script to call the above function for two different objects, that is, two different masses, and velocities ranging from 1 to 1000 (10 points)

    2. Plot the kinetic energy across the velocity for both objects on the same figure (3 points)

  1. Write a function that:

    1. Asks the user of the number of rows and columns (the same number for rows and columns, so just one number) (3 points)

    2. Checks if the number is positive. If yes, it continues with parts c, d and e. If not, it prints an error message (3 points)

    3. Creates a random matrix with the dimensions given at part a. (2 points)

    4. calculates the average of the matrix elements that are on the diagonal (10 points)

    5. prints the result in the command window in a user-friendly message (2 points)

  1. Write a function that takes as input an one-dimensional matrix and

    1. Calculates the maximum value in the matrix (8 points)

    2. Calculates the position of the maximum value (7 points)

    3. Prints the maximum value and its position in the command window in a user-friendly message (5 points)


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