Macro Models

Macro Models – What are they?

A macro model sets up parameters for learning in which students create their own experiences.  They are interactive, community-building activities that usually happen outdoors in a stimulating environment. They have specific learning goals and are interactive representations of simple or complex systems. The participant becomes part of these systems to see, hear, and feel how the whole system operates and the parts involved, thus creating endless learning connections and experiences.

Life Cycle of Plants

Materials Needed:
Popsicle sticks
red (food) – around 5 per student
blue (water) – around 7 per student
yellow (warmth) – at least 1 per student
Outdoor area
Rope (to designate garden)

Goal: Student will understand the basic needs of plants and become part of the life cycle (and act it out).  This activity is best front-loaded with teachings on life cycles.

Set up: Create a “garden” using rope where students will “plant” themselves.  Scatter popsicle sticks all around the area.

1. Students start as “seeds” and must find warmth (a yellow popsicle stick).  When they find warmth, they return to the garden and stick it in the ground.   Students must then act out a seedling before can continue.  (Extension: make sure the students plant their popsicle sticks far enough away to allow the hypothetical space a plant would need).

2. After becoming a seedling the students must then run around and look for 1 food and 1 water to “grow” into a baby plant. They can only carry one resource at a time and drop it off in there garden.  When they have both, they act out a baby plant.

3. The teacher takes away their resources and now they must find 2 foods and 2 waters, drop them off one at a time, then become an adolescent plant.

4. Finally, the teacher takes away the resources and they must find 3 of each to grow into an adult plant.  Once complete, they act out the plant and wait for others to become a blooming garden.

Debrief: Did all plants make it to adulthood?  Why not? Were there enough resources? Etc..

 The Water Cycle

Materials Needed per team:
Bandanas (blue for water, white for cloud, yellow for sun)
A ball to represent water molecule
3 cones

Goal: Students will be part of and better understand the endless cycle of water.

Set up: Give each student a role: Sun, Cloud and Lake (use bandanas to identify each) and have them stand in a triangle (about 20 ft apart or more, use cones to mark).

  1. On Go, the Sun runs Lake to “evaporate” the water by tagging the Lake. The sun returns.
  2. The Lake (with ball) runs to the Cloud to “condensate” and gives the ball to Cloud.  Lake returns.
  3. The Cloud tags the Sun (explain that it is covering the sun, so about to rain) then “precipitates” and runs to the Lake and gives ball.
  4. Repeat, usually 5 times.  This can be played with more than one player in each position to see how it operates (use more balls) or set up more courses and have students race against each other.
  5. Debrief!

Materials Needed:
Jump Rope (Turbine)
Pylons (Set up boundaries)
“Boats” (Toboggans/boxes)
Blocks (for the ladder)
Ropes (for waterfall jump)
Tokens (can be anything)

Set Up: See picture for playing area.  Assign roles: Fish, Predator(s), Fishers

1. Students start in Spawning Area
2. They “swim” downstream while avoiding obstacles
3. In the Bay, they need to collect 4 tokens (represents years), then swim back upstream
4. They “win” if they make it to the spawning area again
6. If a fish is caught, they die (or can start again)
7. Debrief!!
-Did everyone make it? Do all fish make it? Did the predators catch any fish? Have you ever overcome any obstacles in your life? Etc…