Montoursville students spend a week preparing for biology conference

Several Montoursville Area High School students met recently in Karen Avery’s biology classroom to organize a professional development day for area biology teachers. Students first worked with Dan and Hedi Lauffer, who traveled from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to teach students how to use Wisconsin Fastplants, a type of plant that completes a full life cycle in just more than 20 days.

Students then built a large number of lightboxes that provide optimal conditions for the growth and experiments using Fastplants. These light boxes will be given away to each of the participating biology teachers. The students then learned about skull anatomy, food webs and trophic levels of eight local wildlife species using real skulls and replica skulls.

The week ended with a trip to Raymond B. Winter State park to meet with environmental educator MaryAnn Haladay-Bierly to learn more about the ecology of our native animal species in Pennsylvania.

Over the next several months, these students will develop lesson plans and practicing their presentations in preparation for Nov. 24, when they will present their sessions at an annual biology teaching workshop at Lycoming College. Biology teachers will participate in six sessions overall, which will provide lesson ideas and hands-on activities in major areas of biology.

For more information, biology teachers should contact Karen Avery at kavery@montours ville.k12.pa.us.