FS: Marine Life Investigations

Ron S. Nolan nolan at cyberlearn.com
Mon Feb 5 06:21:34 EST 1996

Coral Kingdom 1.1

Announcing a new CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows that offers an exciting
venture into the marine world of the coral reef.

Why Study Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are well defined ecosystems that provide concise examples of
energy flow and materials recycling as well as the complex
interrelationships between organisms and the environment.  Since coral reef
plants and animals have developed specialized adaptations for feeding,
reproduction and predator avoidance that permit very high biodiversity in a
limited geographic area, the study of the coral reef is ideally suited for
units on adaptations, biodiversity and competition.

=46inally, coral reefs and their inhabitants are strikingly interesting,
beautiful and exotic.  They are wild, colorful places that excite the
imagination.   The software has been carefully crafted to challenge
students to use critical thinking about nature and the environment.  To
paraphrase one reviewer's comment,  "Coral Kingdom is not a game.  It is a
serious academic program."

The Coral Kingdom package offers you many ways to incorporate the software
into your curriculum.  The extensive, 179 page Teachers Guide is packed
with ideas and activities.  Transcripts of the program content allow you to
turn off the sound and provide your own expert commentary.  And since the
topics are thematically arranged, you may select assignments that will
illustrate some of the most important concepts in biology and ecology.

"Coral Kingdom is a serious academic program.  It asks students to do some
real scientific thinking."  Technology and Learning.  "If...you are looking
for thematic units in science, then you should examine Coral Kingdom."  The
Computing Teacher.  "Stunning visuals, detailed narration and excellent
supplemental reference materials guide exploration of a coral reef, its
biology and its ecology.  MacUser "The Ultimate Guide to Children's
Software" 4 mice.

=46eel free to request a flyer or copies of educational journal reviews by
calling Digital Studios at (800) 499-3322 or by sending e-mail with your
address to

nolan at cyberlearn.com

You may preview Coral Kingdom and download a demo version at our Web Site.


Special Note to California Educators

Coral Kingdom has recently been awarded a "Desirable" rating by the State
of California Software Clearinghouse.  The program has also been certified
as in compliance with social content requirements of Education Code
sections 60040=3D66044.  Placement on this list notifies school personnel
that Coral Kingdom is approved for purchase with up to 30% of their state
Instructional Materials Fund (IMF) monies or through petitions requested
through the California Department of Education.

Thematic Approach to Biology and Ecology: Created by a marine ecologist,
the software incorporates a tremendous collection of original underwater
photography to illustrate a thematic approach to the study of reef biology
and ecology.

The software is ideally suited for units on the coral reef or to
demonstrate the concepts of form and function in adaptations,
interrelationships between organisms and habitat, competition, predator
avoidance, energy and materials cycles and human impacts in general biology
or introductory environmental science or ecology classes.

Missions:  Each of the four units incorporates a hands-on activity to be
completed by students--either in small groups or individually.  Each
mission consists of an exploratory microworld intended to stimulate the
curiosity of students and to engage their interest in the  natural world.
The methods used by the students at the computer are much like those
actually employed by a field ecologist.

Each of the four missions takes the user on a research SCUBA dive in which
he or she controls the direction and pace of the investigation.  The
procedures to be followed and mission objectives are described in detail
within the unit sections of the teachers guide and can be  accessed by
clicking the "?" button during a mission.  An on-line notebook is provided
in which students store information acquired by clicking  objects on the
screen during the underwater expedition.  The content of the notebook may
be saved as a text file, then edited or printed using a word processor

Sea Life Catalog:  Students have access to an extensive data base which is
available for reference at all  times.  Problems to be solved in the
missions require students to conduct library research using the data base.
Species entries in the Sea Life Catalog are accessed by scientific or
common names.  Each Sea Life Catalog entry provides information about an
organism's structure, coloration, relationship to the  environment,
behavior, specializations and human impact.  The catalog may be accessed
from any map or from the slide shows by clicking on the "SLC" button.  In a
mission, the SLC button lights after the user has clicked on a subject on
the screen.   Clicking the highlighted SLC button during a mission takes
the user directly to information about the organism on the screen.

Study Units:  The program content is thematically presented and organized
into four major units.  Each unit consists of a series of multimedia slides
shows and is accompanied by a research activity.

Unit 1:  Discovering Adaptations introduces the theme that structure
matches function and presents an overview of the diversity of sizes,
shapes, colors and lifestyles found on a coral reef.  In this unit we
explore the relationship of species to the environment--in  particular
adaptations in feeding and coloration.  In Mission: Kohala Coast, the user
makes underwater observations, then uses the Sea Life Catalog to find the
unique adaptations of the selected organisms.

In Unit 2:  The Coral Reef Ecosystem, we look at how reefs are formed and
the vertical distribution of organisms on the reef face.  We also seek to
understand the living and non-living forces that build reefs and break them
down.  Finally we explore how solar energy is captured and transmitted
through the ecosystem.  The activity for this unit, Mission: Marshall
Islands, challenges students to make underwater observations in order to
develop a species list, then fit the organisms into a food web.

Unit 3:  Investigating Interrelationships examines the ways in which
organisms interact with the biotic and abiotic environment.  We explore
competition for food and habitat and the concept of the Competitive
Exclusion Principle--as well as symbiotic relationships.    Finally, we
examine structural and behavioral adaptations and the survival strategies
employed by a wide diversity of organisms.  In the activity, Mission: South
Point,  students speculate about how superficially similar species of
butterflyfishes are able to  live in close proximity.

In Unit 4:  Exploring Human Impacts, we examine the environmental impacts
of  development, fishing and diving.  We also survey the present status of
reef ecosystems in the Pacific and Atlantic and learn why reefs are
important to the planet and the human species.  Finally we offer
suggestions on what can be done to  protect imperiled coral reefs.  In
Mission: Reef Preservation, students discover human activities that may
negatively impact coral reef ecosystems.

Incorporation into Existing Curricula:  CORAL KINGDOM 1.1 was designed for
flexible incorporation into existing academic programs.  Ranging from
straight forward activities (discovering the relationship of structure and
function in adaptations) to the complex (investigating how butterflyfishes
avoid competition), the teacher may pick and choose from twenty hours of
suggested  activities.  The materials may be used to introduce a unit on
ecology in general biology classes or as a case study in environmental
science and ecology courses. The  hypermedia format of the program allows
instructors to select topics of particular interest for either classroom
presentation or individual study.

As part of the design enabling flexible application, teachers may use a
special feature to turn off the audio when presenting the slide shows in
group settings.  To support this feature, transcripts of the narration are
provided in the teachers guide providing a valuable source for lectures.
When used in this fashion, the slide shows serve as an extensive visual
database of underwater imagery which may be quickly accessed during the

Students who fully explore the slide shows and participate in the research
missions will gain a solid understanding of some of the most important
themes of ecology  This experience will, hopefully, lead them to the
conclusion that coral reefs are precious resources worthy of our

Product Information

CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows from the CyberLearning Collection=81
Age Level:  middle through first year college
Developer/Publisher:  Digital Studios=81
Product Orders:  (800) 499-3322
Pricing:  CD-ROM for Mac or Windows with 179 page Teachers Guide--$79.95;
Multiple Lab Pack Discounts are Available
Availability:  Now
More Information:  Digital Studios * 209 Santa Clara Avenue * Aptos * CA
95003 * (408) 688-3158

Save with Special Lab Pack Pricing

Options                 Unit Price           Shipping    FEDEX**

A.      Single Edition*    79.00                5.58            11.00

B.      Lab Pack (5)*         158.00            5.74            12.65
        5 CD-ROMs

C.      Lab Pack (10)*     237.00             5.86       15.45
        10 CD-ROMs

D.      Lab Pack (20)*      315.00            6.00               19.80
        20 CD-ROMs

E.      Lab Pack (35)*     395.00             6.25              25.05
        35 CD-ROMs

=46.      Extra guides           20.00          5.58            11.00

*  Each Option is accompanied by a Teachers Guide.
**FEDEX rate is for next day standard.  FEDEX orders must be received by 2
PM PST for next day delivery.

Sales in California please add 8.25% to total price.  Hawaii orders, please
call to discuss the fastest and most cost effective way to get Coral
Kingdom back to Hawaii.

Evaluation by the California Software Clearinghouse 1995

Rated "Desirable"

TITLE:  Coral Kingdom 1.1

DESCRIPTION:  The goal of this simulation is to explore the principle
themes of marine ecology and the environmental impact of human activities.
The program tour provides a clear introduction to information that is
organized logically by traditional pathways (kinds of organisms), major
concepts (ecological themes), and projected learning pathways (way students
are most likely to want to move from section to section and back again).
Logistically the program is easy to navigate.  It can be adapted for whole
class use, small group investigations using the missions, or as an
independent resource for individuals.  Slide shows present information
around major concepts and themes:  adaptations, interactions, ecological
systems, human impact. Missions stimulate scientific observations and are
organized around "diving" at investigation sites in Hawaii and Micronesia.
Students view slides with hot spots to focus on important ecological
information.  They collect information about the inhabitants offshore in
shallow to deep waters.  A student notebook facilitates systematic
information gathering and notes can be incorporated in a complete
scientific report.  The fourth mission involves identifying and solving
problems related to human impact and reef preservation.  As a logistics
aid, dives are limited to "twenty minutes of air time" each.  A Sea Life
catalog provides a database of nearly one hundred organisms listed by
common and scientific name with information on habitat, ecological niche,
impact on/by humans, behaviors and other interesting details.  One drawback
is that progression through the slide show is linear and it is difficult to
access specific slides out of sequence.

SUPPORT MATERIALS:  There is a CD-ROM and a teacher's manual with guides to
the slide shows and missions, suggested classroom uses, report form,
scripts, and suggested readings.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:  IBM:  4MB with 386 or better processor, Windows,
sound capability, VGA graphics, hard drive, and CD-ROM drive.  Macintosh:
4MB, CD-ROM drive, and color monitor.

CURRICULUM APPLICATIONS:  This would be an excellent resource in a library
media center or science lab.  It supports the thematic approach of the
California science framework.  Activities offer hands-on experience in
gathering and analyzing scientific data.  The program is very
text-dependent and requires a prior understanding of biological terms.
Students who love details would absorb it all,  while others can appreciate
the big ideas that are reinforced by example throughout.  Consistency of
format allows individual comparisons to be made, and the photos provide a
wealth of pictorial examples for the embedded tasks as well as other uses
the instructor might have when connecting this program with other students
of varying verbal abilities.  Teachers can use the program for direct
assignments, independent resource material, or presentation of specific
information.  The control can be given to students with excellent results.
It fits nicely in a constructivist learning environment.

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