Scientific Inquiry Using Wildcam Gorongosa
The photos provide valuable information on a variety of different animals, including numbers to help estimate populations, behaviors, and interactions with other animals. The public has identified animals and collected data from the photos on a citizen science website called WildCam Gorongosa (www.wildcamgorongosa.org). The WildCam Lab is a part of WildCam Gorongosa where you can view trail camera data on a map, and filter and download the data to investigate scientific questions
In this activity, students will be guided through the development and investigation of a scientific question using trail camera data that they download from the WildCam Lab. Students will begin by viewing trail camera photos, making observations, and brainstorming questions. They will then explore a spreadsheet of trail camera data and identify a testable question that can be investigated using this data set. Based on their question, students will formulate a hypothesis and prediction, which they will test using the available data. The process will require students to select the appropriate variables to analyze and graph data using a spreadsheet program. This activity can be differentiated for students with different levels of prior experience with designing an investigation and analyzing data in spreadsheets.
The 34-min film “The Guide: A Biologist in Gorongosa,” available on the site, provides an excellent introduction to the park.