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Gold Academy: Private and Corporate Training
Ecology (Chp 3 by John Tester): Principles of Ecology

Ecology (Chp 3 by John Tester): Principles of Ecology

Start to understand the ecology of the world around you — and to understand science — by studying what ecology is.

Schedule: This is a 6-class course that meets six times, one hour each session. We could do this three days per week for two weeks, or two days per week for three weeks. 

Format: Lecture with some class participation. No grading; homework is optional but recommended.

Cost: $120 per person for a group class of 4 or more students; $389 for one-on-one tutoring.

Payment options: Payments can be made via PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, cash, or check.

Materials: Pencil and paper.

Required text: Minnesota’s Natural Heritage: An Ecological Perspective by John R. Tester.

For more details or to schedule a class, contact Michael by phone at 281-770-2276 or by email at michaelgold@goldams.com.

Class Description.

We will discuss chapter three from the book Minnesota’s Natural Heritage: an Ecological Perspective by John R. Tester. We will learn principles of ecology and techniques of science that apply to any and every area, not merely to Minnesota or to ecology. The book is about Minnesota, and is a book I like, but it teaches us about everywhere and is for everyone.

Students need to have read it (pp. 43-65) ahead of time to get an overview. During the course, we will go through the chapter in three sections: pp. 43-48, pp. 48-56, pp. 56-65.

I will help students to grasp what’s important in the chapter and to draw general principles from it. (We’ll learn some thinking skills that will help us read better, think better, and get science better.)

Students will learn from their own reading, from taking notes, from questions I ask in class, and from discussion I provide about concepts and relationships in the chapter, as welll as about how to read, how to think logically, how to do science, and how it all matters.

I will instruct by discussing important points in each day’s reading, and assess understanding by asking questions — determined by who is in class and how well they think — about concepts, definitions, causes, ecological relationships, application to your area of the world, logical relationships, how science functions.

Days one and two we will cover pp. 43-48
An overview of ecology.
Ecosystem structure and function: food webs.

Days three and four we will cover pp. 48-56:
Ecosystem structure and function: energy flow.
Ecosystem structure and function: nutrient cycling.

Dayhs five and six we will cover pp. 56-65:
Ecosystem structure and function: productivity.
Populations and communities: population dynamics.
Populations and communities: species interactions.

Learning Goals
To learn about ecology, how it works, and why it is important.
To learn some skills of effective reading.
To learn some aspects of how to do science and what it is.
To learn some aspects of logical thinking — some options include induction, explanation, integration, definition, classification.

Reading. And questions I decide to assign, questions that aid in understanding the material, and depend on the interest and background of the students in class.

I will assign homework that will involve defining terms, identifying examples, identifying ecological relationships, drawing food webs, and relating previous chapters’ content to the current chapter’s content. So, if you do the homework, you will be writing sentences, writing paragraphs or short essays, drawing cause-effect relationship diagrams, drawing food webs, and drawing diagrams.

You can read about my relevant credentials in my bio.

See also:
1. a partial list of biology books (hence does not include articles, scientific research articles, videos, scientific podcasts, etc.) I have read, listened to, or studied.
2. my iNaturalist account
3. an ecology podcast I host
4. an ecology group on Facebook, CCERP, that I admin and post to

What matters is not so much my credentials, but the successes of my students — they are a better way to judge a teacher. Those successes are my real credentials.

“We really enjoyed the Ecology class with Michael Gold! He chose a wonderful textbook for my daughter to use: “Minnesota’s Natural Heritage.” He made it interesting, relevant, and understandable. As a homeschool mom, it’s always a challenge to find good teachers that I can rely on to supplement the holistic education I try to give my children. Michael does just that! He’s knowledgeable, thorough, logical, and even brings a sense of humor to the class! I can’t recommend him highly enough for someone who, like me, wants more for their children. Thank you, Outschool, for providing such good teachers at reasonable costs! We’ll be signing up for more classes soon!”
–Melanie K., parent, about the Outschool class “Ecology (Chp 5 by John Tester): The Northern Coniferous Forest,” 4 Feb 2020

“My son (13yo) loved this class, he loved learning math he had not learned before, the instructions were very clear and he enjoyed them a lot. He loved learning the historical context and is already looking for other classes with this teacher. He really enjoyed the class! Thank you!”
–Judith V., parent, about the Outschool place “Inquiring-mind Science: How Far Is the Sun? How Far Are the Planets?,” 1 Apr 2020

“My daughter truly enjoyed the class and has motivated her further study in science. She also appreciated Mr. Gold’s passion and excitement for science!”
–Chigusa, parent, about the Outschool class “Logic Corner: What Is Science?,” 12 Feb 2020