GIS Tutorial - Honing in on Habitat

DCIs: LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

SEPs: Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

CCCs: Patterns, Systems and System Models 

CA EPs & Cs:

Time: 2 days, 45 minutes each

Prep: Review Lesson Plan, CACO PhotobookReview GIS Tutorial, Download Teacher Database, Share GIS Tutorial Datasheets and GIS Datasheets, download and share GPS Data*

Anchoring Phenomena

Essential Question

What role does the California condor play in the California ecosystem, and how do changes in the ecosystem impact condors over time?


Day 1

1. Watch the Warm-Up video of volunteer Stephanie Herrera. 

2. Explain that students will work in groups to adopt, and monitor a California condor in the wild, like a real wildlife biologist. One way we monitor condors, is with GPS data.

3. Complete the GIS Tutorial with your students using the GIS Tutorial Datasheet.

4. Practice entering the data* in the Teacher Database.

*do not save tutorial data

Day 2

1. Watch the Warm-Up Video of previous Supervisory Wildlife Biologist Joseph Brandt.


2. Assign individual birds to students from the CACO Photobook. Let students look at their bird, and the others in the flock, and write down questions they have to add to the Question Board.


3. Have students begin to fill out the preliminary data (condor identity information) on the GIS Datasheet.

4. Guiding Question: What is the habitat like where your condor goes?


3. Allow students to divide the data collection by day, or data type between their group and fill out the GIS Datasheet using the GPS Data* in Google Earth.

*to request access to GPS data e-mail Park Ranger:

4. Have students revise their Preliminary Model by adding their observations of habitat type(s).

- New observations beyond habitat can be added as well

- Students can/should work together to revise their models