FS: Marine Life Investigations

Ron S. Nolan nolan at cyberlearn.com
Tue Jan 30 19:53:17 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 

Finally, 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.

Feel 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 


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=66044.  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 program.

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 lecture.

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 
Age Level:  middle through first year college
Developer/Publisher:  Digital Studios
Product Orders:  (800) 499-3322
Pricing:  CD-ROM for Mac or Windows with 179 page Teachers 
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

F. 	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 
³diving² 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 ³twenty minutes of air time² 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 teacher¹s 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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