By Julie Pollard
“When am I going to ever use this?” “Why do I even need to know this?” These questions are the bane of the science teacher’s existence—or at least of mine. Even though science is woven into every aspect of every day of our lives, my middle schoolers just can’t seem to make that leap. They’re like frogs who don’t know how to jump. They still think of science as something done by nerds in white coats in labs.
During our unit on ecosystems and competition, my students seem to struggle with the concept of competition for abiotic factors. They have no problem relating to the predator-and-prey, competition-for-food aspect of competition—which makes sense, if you’ve ever watched eighth grade boys racing for the last slice of pizza.