Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Biosphere games

Enter the biosphere, your portal into the awe inspiring one ocean fronteer.
Marine reserve-Create your own biosphere

and learn how to maintain oxygen levels, acidity, pollution and biodiversity.

plus 3 other interesting games
One Ocean: The Nature of Things with David Suzuki: CBC-TV

Virtual ecosphere- best one!!!

Test tube aliens bringing physical and web based care of a creature togther

If not cared for they die

Sun jar and educational toys

Second life virtual ecosphere

Tamagotchi compare with biosphere

break it all down- short and sweet

put both patrick geodes outlook tower idea with Goethes wholeness of nature idea

possible some of stephan hardings video

type out transcript for Jonathan to read, then record with video camera? or mini video camera

put into 1 to two sentences

Aim of project/problem:

Solution to issue:Creating respect for nature through understanding and learning from nature. Through understanding that nature provides such a rich source of inspiration to the creative mind.

key words:Insight, relationships, relating, discovery learning, art of questioning, respect, source of inspiration, nature, understanding, learning, knowledge,

Design of product: e.g. physical form

Use of Technology:

Target group: 12 years and up


design a miniature world which people can control and effect but also learn from

real life consequences effect the minature world

it is only when the system fails that you realise how important and complex and amazing it is.

squirrels as teachers how to build shelters

Tom Brown learnt from the squirrel

Brown relates when he and his friend, under the tutelage of his adopted grandfather, an Apache elder named Stalking Wolf, spent the night in the wild and their efforts at building a lean-to. The first night their shelter was just a stick collection, and they froze. Stalking Wolf admonished them to heed the wisdom of the squirrels. So the boys, after seeing squirrels carrying leaves, threw more leaves on their shelter. By the next morning, the leaves were gone and they froze again. Then they examined the squirrels' nest and noticed the intricate arrangements of leaves and twigs, so they worked these then and thought they had success. It rained, but they were warm. Stalking Wolf, however, continued to advise them to heed the squirrels, and finally the boys caught on. They rebuild their shelter, throwing out the wet leaves and in addition to rebuilding the networked twigs and branches, they mimicked the exterior of the squirrel's nest with a bulky slope, strong enough to repel water. That night the wet leaves froze, but the boys didn't, and finally earned Stalking Wolf's approval.

Stalking Wolf taught by what the Apache termed, "Coyote Teaching" that is, he never gave straight answers. He forced Tom to learn from his surroundings. One day without a sleeping bag or tent, Tom and Rick headed on an overnight with Stalking Wolf. On the way, they asked, "How will we keep out of the wind and rain?" In the Coyote teaching method, Stalking Wolf replied, "Go ask the squirrels." So, Tom and Rick climbed a tree, examined a squirrel's nest, then after several unsuccessful attempts learned how to make the debris hut, a one-man triangle tent type of affair, which you can survive in, naked, at 40 below zero, and break out into a sweat.

I was young and slightly anxious as to how we were going to weather the cold night ahead, so after a long day in the woods, I finally inquired, "Grandfather, where are we going to sleep?" He replied, "Go and ask the squirrels." And ask I did. I watched the small animals stuff their homes with grass and other debris until they'd created bulky, well-insulated nests.

After an hour of intent observation, I went to work myself. I made a huge pile of material that included pine needles, grasses, dried ferns, tree bark, and soft brush. Finishing just after nightfall, I crawled into the heap and slept warm and snug ...despite the night's drizzle and barely—above-freezing temperature. My brush pile did have some disadvantages, though. I couldn't move around very much without destroying part of the shelter, and the nest had no dry work area. So, after watching my wild teachers again, absorbing more lessons from my grandfather, and experimenting with various shelter designs, I created a simple leaf hut that eliminated both of my first effort's shortcomings.

Basically, the debris structure is nothing more than a huge domed pile of leaves, with the foliage supported by a frame that completely surrounds the work and sleeping area. In a way, the leaf hut functions like a sleeping bag, but the shelter is stuffed with leaves instead of down or synthetic fibers. What's more, unlike a bedroll, the hut is waterproof and will keep a survivalist dry in almost any downpour: The dome shape forces the rain to run off the structure's sides, and the leaf walls actually wick ground moisture up and away from the nest's interior.

Brown relates when he and his friend, under the tutelage of his adopted grandfather, an Apache elder named Stalking Wolf, spent the night in the wild and their efforts at building a lean-to. The first night their shelter was just a stick collection, and they froze. Stalking Wolf admonished them to heed the wisdom of the squirrels. So the boys, after seeing squirrels carrying leaves, threw more leaves on their shelter. By the next morning, the leaves were gone and they froze again. Then they examined the squirrels' nest and noticed the intricate arrangements of leaves and twigs, so they worked these then and thought they had success. It rained, but they were warm. Stalking Wolf, however, continued to advise them to heed the squirrels, and finally the boys caught on. They rebuild their shelter, throwing out the wet leaves and in addition to rebuilding the networked twigs and branches, they mimicked the exterior of the squirrel's nest with a bulky slope, strong enough to repel water. That night the wet leaves froze, but the boys didn't, and finally earned Stalking Wolf's approval.

So, begin with the basics, and heed the wisdom of the squirrels. First, you will need large branches to carry the weight of the total structure. Arrange the branches so they will interlock and support each other. Buttress these branches with support in the ground so they won't fall. Once the large support branches are in place, begin building the walls with smaller limbs and branches. If you have an axe or saw, you can cut leafy boughs and position them as walls. Interlock these boughs with your support limbs and each other.

Add leaves, pine needles, and other insulation to the shelter. Pile leaves and other material into the shelter, and continue to interlock it with the previous building material. Fashion the exterior of the shelter into a rounded slope, so water will run down the sides of your shelter, not on you inside of it.

Don't neglect the insides of your shelter either! Bring in leaves and other material to bolster your comfort from the inside as well as the out.

A final word of advice: make the shelter small. The smaller the area you have, the easier it will be to construct and keep warm in. Remember, you're building a temporary shelter, not your permanent estate.

Goethes way of gathering insights from nature

Talked about in animate earth- looking at patterns and qualities as apposed to numerical

Goethe, Nature, and Phenomenology: An Introduction

4 systems to display

The starting point is the four earth systems that combine our natural world: geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. The study of cycles organizes earth systems education: the rock cycle, the water cycle, the food chain, and the carbon cycle. page 2


A Holistic Approach for Science Education For All

Monday, 12 December 2011

Simulating environmental changes through biosphere


Minibiospheres also provide an opportunity to set up experiments to test the effects of simulated environmental changes on the system. To spur inquiry, ask your students to hypothesize what might happen if something in the environment stimulated changes in their school pond. What if we let a tree grow up and shade the pond? What if salt used to melt ice on the sidewalk, or fertilizer used on the playground turf washed into it? Have students use their imaginations to come up with their own ideas. Compile their ideas and ask how they would set up an experiment to test such changes in the pondwater biospheres.

Have small groups of students set up several minibiosphere jars. Be sure to keep one jar as the control and experiment with the others. Groups might each test the same variables, or different concentrations or degrees of a single variable. Here are some suggestions:

  • 24 hours of light vs. natural (12-14 hours)
  • low pH versus actual pond pH (simulated acid rainfall)
  • no light (cover with black paper)
  • addition of small quantities of fertilizer (simulated fertilizer runoff)
  • cold versus warmer temperatures
  • addition of salt (simulated road salt runoff)
  • addition of commercial phosphate detergent (simulated pollution)
  • colored cellophane around jars (growth under different light colors)

Once you've recorded results from some of these experiments, extend them into a discussion or study of how human activities stimulate analogous environmental changes in your region (e.g., eutrophication in local water bodies from nutrient pollution; sterilization of lakes and waterways due to acid rain; salinization of water supplies) and what is being done to help restore health to these bodies of water.

Curriculum Connections | kidsgardening.org

Super Mario miniature garden game dynamics

Shigeru Miyamoto, designer of Super Mario Bros., often mentions his “miniature garden” aesthetic in interviews with journalists. Probably attributing this curious phrase to a mistranslation from Japanese, journalists never fail to not ask the question “what do you mean by that?’’ Miyamoto, without a doubt one of the greatest game designers, is telling us one of his fundamental design principles, and nobody bothers to ask him what he means. What follows is an attempt to interpret the phrase “miniature gardens’’ with respect to games using materials on Japanese gardens, literary microworlds, constructionist microworlds, play, and game analysis.
A garden has an inner life of its own; it is a world in flux which grows and changes. A garden’s internal behaviors, and how we understand those rules, help us to wrap our heads and hands around the garden. The intricate spaces and living systems of a garden surprise, delight, and invite participation. Gardens, like games, are compact, self-sustained worlds we can immerse ourselves in. Japanese gardens often contain a multiplicity of environments and places, such as mountains, oceans, or forests that we can look at, walk around, or interact with. Gardens are a way to think about the aesthetic, cognitive, and representational aspects of game space.
A miniature garden, like a snow globe, model train set, or fish tank, is complete; nothing is missing, and nothing can be taken away. Clear boundaries (spatial and non-spatial), overviews, and a consistent level of abstraction work hand in hand to make the miniature world believable, complete, and tractable for both the author and player. Miniatureness makes a garden intelligible in the mind of a player, and emotionally safe in his heart. Miniature scale, clear boundaries, and inner life help players to wrap their heads, hands, and hearts around a world.¹
¹ “Miniature garden’’ most likely refers to penjing, miniature landscapes in containers. “The Chinese word penjing denotes a scenery in a container’’ [84, p38]. “Tree penjing or shumu penjing is called bonsai in Japan and the West’’ [84, p46]. My aim is to interpret the phrase with respect to game design.

2.1 Micro/Macro
Figure 2: Micro & Macro
Miniature worlds offer simultaneous micro/macro readings. When looking at a model train set we perceive both an overview and ground level view. A model train set invites participation at the macroscopic scale, where the entire system is intelligible, plastic, and safe, as well as mental participation at the microscopic scale, where each train car can be walked into. This simultaneous play at micro/macro scales is a key pleasure of models. Using micro/macro views to engage people in unfamiliar worlds is a technique discussed later, in Inviting Participation.

The aesthetic of micro/macro readings is evident elsewhere. A flower is beautiful to look at, and a time lapse video of a flower growing is fascinating in a wholly new way. The same aesthetic of multiple scales and their interplay is also present in Go. Tension and balance is evident in the arrangement of stones engaged in an intimate battle, as well as the visual tapestry and high level strategy of a game. Scale change in Go also marks a shift from a geometric to an organic aesthetic, and the transformation from one to the other is a source of continuous, surprising pleasure.
SimCity, Go, and SimAnt are games which encourage reading at multiple scales. Go andSimCity both have spatial structures at multiple scales that are intrinsically related and self-similar.

continue from 2.1.1 Overview - make sure include 2.4 inviting participation
Miniature Gardens & Magic Crayons

educational aids: already on the market

Ecosystem by Clementoni


Enter the fascinating world of water by setting up and nurturing your very own Ecosystem. This ecosystem kit shows how the natural water cycle works, with evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection taking place before your eyes.

You can sow seeds in your mini biosphere, make it rain, and watch the meadow plants grow. An illustrated manual explains how to use your ecosystem and helps you understand the natural processes at work in the water cycle, such as water vapour turning into rain. A water analysis kit is also included.

Science Museum Ecosystem for Kids by Clemontoni


Scienza nella Serra and Video Microscope

Scienza&Gioco VideoMicroscopio + Serra - 20'' - YouTube


Globus educational



but doesn't encourage interaction or learning


Ant Gel aquarium


ant farm

tube hive ants


Backyard safari land water habitat


insect lores little bug locket


Bug podz construction set- could be an idea


Inset ladybug land


How to make a sealed bottom

水晶球的裝設方法示範 - YouTube


Triops set up

Grow UANTriops Video - YouTube



Minipond Ecosystem Kit, Living

Minipond Ecosystem Kit, Living



ecosystem bingo game

Biomes and Ecosystems Bingo Game

Biomes and Ecosystems Bingo Game - Teacher Resources - Earth & Environmental - Carolina Biological Supply Company



What happens when we think of our bodies as their own ecosystems? Are they open or closed ecosystems? Where do we draw the boundaries? Before we take medication, do we ask ourselves how it will affect our internal organs, our friendly bacteria? What is our medication's future, beyond our bodies, in the sewage system and out in the waterways we swim in and eventually drink? What are the possible futures of our personal waste? What do sentient ecosystems eat and drink?

Human urine is actually sterile (unlike faeces, it is bacteria-free) and it can be a rich food source if it gets into the right part of the right ecosystem. Now, most human urine travels untreated into the waterways and is a significant cause of eutrophication, a toxic condition caused by harmful algae blooms, in the oceans. The excess nitrogen and phosphorus in our urine overfeeds algae and suffocates fish.

etech08 - we make money not art


Wild Science Eco Dome Planet Management kit.- models our planet earth!!

Wild Science The Eco System Eco Dome

Create your own Self Sufficient & Sustainable world.
Explore the science of Global warming & weather patterns, create micro climates linkable to plant and animal habitats.
Eco Dome is uniquely designed to mimic real world land systems, living systems and atmostpheric effects. Learn how light, the earth, plants, water and air are all linked in a cycle that sustains our life on earth.
Model the greenhouse effect, create rainstorm, see updrafts and down drafts. Create micro climates and see the water cycle at work.
Grow an amazing range of plants in different microhabitats. Track temperature changes, water movement and plant growth rates with special measuring tools.
Link eco dome to other nature systems in our range
Eco Dome base, lid and cup
Interlink tube
Filter netting
Wind turbine bearing and pole
2 thermometer strips
1 temperature stake
1 bag of vermiculite and water gel crystal soil conditioner mix
1 bag of pebbles
Themed stickers
Measuring stakes and water level strips
2 large a 2 small plugs
Measuring pipette
Dust mask
Colour instruction book.
This kit is not suitable for children under 6 y.o. and should be used under strict adult supervision.
Seeds and plants are not included. Lists of appropriate and easily available seeds are included.

This is a great tool for a teacher (or parent) who wants to help students to learn how the earth's conditions effect plantlife and vice versa! A great gift for the curious child! It's also a great tool to show children how fragile our ecosystem really is....


Wild science eco forensics lab

I love these Wild Science kits they are so fun!

Wild science is an award winning company which produces educational and high quality materials which encourage exploration of scientific concepts and skills through imaginative play.


Sea monkeys- could they be part of my system?

weird science worm farm and ant farm

wild science island for fighting fish and ants


wild science Atlantis


wild science ant jungle colony

Gel garden

See roots under soil

Macro to Micro video

Plant zoom in

Zoom into a Leaf by Weird_Weird_Science

Crab zoom in

Animate Earth

Currently destroying our own life support systems

Science together with wisdom

qualitative understanding of the world

See the world as a living form rather than a dead mechanical object to be exploited

New understanding of the world which will help to heal our relationship with the Earth- which is both modern and contemporary and also brings in ancient wisdom

Bring together science and poetry

Tell the cycles through exciting stories- connect deeply with the animate earth

Sunday, 11 December 2011

phase 1 update and thoughts:

So so far ive been going down the route of "how we can use science to deeply connect with the earth better [and] with more inspiration." Animate earth
Through the ideas of patrick geddes outlook tower which aimed to help people understand the realtionships and connections from the micro to the macro from Edinburgh to the whole world. Through this understanding he hoped that people would respect the earth and live more sustainable lives.
My project was going to be enabling people to learn and understand how a biosphere works and then relating it to the whole world.

I believed that we could build respect for the earth through gaining understanding and insights from nature. Seeing it as a valuable source of inspiration and understanding the finiteness of our planet.

My first prototype (biosphere as a representation of a small and simple world) which I realised from taking groups on walks int he forest that to gain knowledge they need some sort of facilitator to support their discoveries. So i created a insight sheet to act as a facilator for my biopshere to encourage insights to be gathered by individuals.

Which I tested with my skill share group people suggested the ownership and responsiblity of creating and owning a world was a big responsibility. On my biopshere I stuck:
"was it right to start this world? will you intervene, or abaondon your creations to a sealed fate?"

This lead to one individual letting her system go after 3 days as she felt it was too much responsilbity. Rather than trying to understand and to maintain her biosphere. Was this due to her not having enough time to look after it? is that the same way people feel about the earth, that they don't have enough time in their life to care for the earth, even though they have more free time than ever to care for the earth.

I found out after the test that they form was a bit restrictive as some insights came without questions and one individual wanted to write across the boxes.

My next test was to see how insights could be gathered without the biosphere and tested this out at another skill share event in aberdeen with students and one of the energy co-ordinators.
Through this we looked at how nature solved the problems of survival by looking at natural objects like cones and feathers. I posed a scenario to capture their intrest of getting lost in the wild. First creating individual sheets but found out people prefered to share their ideas and questions on a big bit of paper in the centre. I faciliated the scenario through asking questions qhen they asked me questions and prompting but only providing answers when they really wanted answers. Unfortunately I didnt get a chance to get them to draw their new ideas as that would have been valuable, maybe I can do that with another group!! dont spend so much time on the ideas, spend more time drawing or half and half. 5 minutes coming up with ideas then 5 drawing ideas. Get photos off alice.

I found out that the harddest part of it is designing it so it holds peoples attentions as metioned also in Animate earth. We live in such a fast paced life that people rarely take time to slow down and really look at things.

Children find it particularly hard to hold their attention on one thing and think that gaining really deep insights from a biopshere might be too difficult for them. Their enjoyment of games was look at with my nature nutters group. The difficulty to come to insights is quite hard for students so may be too difficult for kids.

My parents suggested that a game might be a good way of teaching people how the world works.
People love to play games and it would keep their attention.
My dad suggested a card game which could show people the need for diversty through packs of cards. You start off with two packs animals and plants. You get a horse and an oak tree and put it in your little world. But the horses die but there are no organisms so break the meat down so it piles up and so does the tree as their is no nutrients for the trees. Also combine the idea that if want to make products have to reduce human population and visa versa.
Suggesting the need for balance and the understanding of finite resources.
This could also be a computer game like catan although this misses out the idea of getting new inspiration from nature.
Think more complex the system the more insight which Is why we also need diversity.

I could have that the biosphere is part of the card game. Through the card game you understand how to look after the small world.

My video for the deepest part of my research could be:
-The relationship between my biosphere and Patrick Geddes outlook tower
-The prototypes with building the biospheres

Over the christmas break I need to work out which direction to go!!!