BioDome Project

This is a project in the Environmental Studies class designed to explore the topic of biodiversity.

Part I:

The High Tech LA Foundation wants to create a bio-dome called Biosphere3. The Foundation wants this bio-dome to be a controlled, sealed environment in which a class of ~30 students can live and learn about the environment for a year. No matter may enter or leave Biosphere3 during that year, including air, water, and food. Your group of environmental scientists has been selected to design this bio-dome. Write a full report on your bio-dome plan, which should be at least three double-spaced pages in length. You must address the following issues:

Basic (25 pts)

  1. How big should the bio-dome be?
  2. Where should it be located?
  3. What kinds of ecosystems will exist in the bio-dome?
  4. What will the climate be in the bio-dome?
  5. What kinds of creatures will exist in the bio-dome and what is their niche?
  6. How many of each creature will you add?
  7. What will the students eat? Will it be enough?
  8. How will water circulate?
  9. How will waste be treated or disposed?
  10. Will you have power? How will you get it?

Extended (5 pts)

  1. How will nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorus circulate/recycle?
  2. What will the jobs of each of the students be?
  3. Draw a rough schematic of your bio-dome design, which illustrates all of the systems it contains.

Part II:

We will select one group’s bio-dome as the official one for the class. Your group will then be assigned one section of the class bio-dome (e.g., the desert ecosystem or the water distribution station). Your group members will also serve as the students who inhabit that section. Make a detailed schematic floor-plan of your section of the bio-dome. The schematic should:

Basic: (25 pts)

  1. Be on 18×18 inches posterboard (or cardboard, wood, etc)
  2. Fit with and connect to the other groups’ sections.
  3. Include full-color illustrations.
  4. Include printed labels describing the parts of your bio-dome section.
  5. Be to scale, and include a legend/key showing the scaling.
  6. Be neat, organized, aesthetic, and creative.

Extended: (5 pts)

  1. Have fold-out pop-ups or moving/sliding sections that show how the section would actually work.
  2. Have scale drawings of each of you, with descriptions of roles/duties.

Part III:

Every day for the following week, a particular fictitious event will occur in the class bio-dome. Acting as characters who live in your particular section of the bio-dome, you must present how that event has affected your section. You may present your report in one of two ways:

a) A written report / blog entry.

b) A video report / v-blog entry.

Each daily report will be graded on:

  1. Understanding of the implications of the event on your section. (2 pts.)
  2. Presentation skills / writing conventions. (2 pts.)
  3. Creativity. (2 pts.)

Day 1: You have just arrived in the biodome, and the experiment has begun. The doors are sealed and you will be inside tending to your duties in your section. Write at least two paragraphs as your opening journal entry: What did you bring with you from the outside world and why? How is your section of the biodome organized? What are your plans for how you will maintain your section of the biodome? What daily duties will you have to perform?

Day 4: After a few days of getting settled into the biodome and managing their own duties, all of the students take a tour of the entire facility. During the tour of the tropical rainforest area, everyone notices that there appears to be an excessive number of insects. Even the rainforest management team claims that the insect population has increased dramatically since opening day. What do you think is the cause of this? What implications will this have on you and your team, directly or indirectly? What can you do about it? In your journal, you must include vocabulary or concepts that we have talked about in lecture.

Day 20: The insect problem seems to have corrected itself, but one of the solutions tried (lowering the temperature to kill the insects) has had other consequences. When they tried to return the temperature to normal, they accidentally raised it all over the Biodome by 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. What effect does this have on the various species inside? Which species are affected more than others? What effect does this have on you?

Day 45: (classified)

Part IV:

Reflect on what you have learned during the bio-dome project. You will grade your partners on their contribution to your group, and receive an individual grade based on your own contribution (in addition to the group grades for parts I – III).

Project Inspiration: