California State University, Chico

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BIOL 134

FLOW CHART (17 % of class grade)

Due April 13

Consult these directions to develop the second group report that is due March 16.

Construct a one page flow chart (= diagram) illustrating many interacting factors that influence a major environmental problem (the topic must be clearly biological). The final single page represents a summary of many hours of reading and thinking! The research for this assignment should be the same time you would spend on a paper thirty or more pages in length. The flow chart is a diagram that illustrates ecological, social, political and economic interactions.

I want you to consider specific biological examples. Inappropriate topics include those that depend upon future projections, consider many different ecosystems, or consider several different species. Examples of these topics include: Loss of Tropical Rain Forests (there are many different kinds of tropical rain forests and each has different social, governmental and economic pressures), Human affect on changes in global temperature (biological impacts will be very different in different locations), Pacific Salmon (there are several species of pacific salmon and the problems with single species are very different in different watersheds), Whales (there are many species of whales), A current Environmental Impact Report for a large development (A good report contains the projected consequences of many different options). These topics are important; however, they are not effective first time learning examples.

Potential flow chart topics:

Look for a topic that has a variety of different references. I expect you to use library and internet references as well as technical (e.g., in a scientific journal) and non technical references. You may include personal interviews and information sent to you by agencies. The final grade is influenced by the variety of references used.

Feel free to come in and talk with me about your topic choice

Draw up four lists of the major ecological, social, political and economic issues that directly relate to your chosen topic. Develop a sublist under each of the four lists that includes indirect interactions (these secondary influences potentially represent a chain of interactions that connect to topics already listed).

Obtain a blank page for your first draft and place the chosen topic in the center of a the page and, consulting your lists, write in the major environmental issues to the left, economic issues to the right, government interaction on the top of the page and social interaction on the bottom of the page. This is a draft and it is typically easier to do this on paper and not on the computer. Now consult your list of interactions under each major topic and start adding secondary topics. Illustrate these by drawing in connecting arrows. The arrows represent the flow of resources, the regulation of action, or social pressure to change, and so forth. Not all ideas radiate out from the center, some second level connections influence major topics indirectly.

Develop ways to reduce the detail and organize the information in a way that is easy to understand. Your organization will make the figure look less like a spider web. Do not drop second level connections in an attempt to organize. You have to decide how to make the more important and direct connections obvious. As the chart develops you will need to mix and possibly change the location of the issues that you placed in the four directions. You may wish to use color to label interactions that have some common characteristic. One method of organization will involve developing a new listing of issues that provides for logical use of connecting arrows. You can you use actual numbers on the flow chart, if these are effective in presenting your message. Feel free to illustrate aspects of the flow chart with pictures, tables or charts. Tables are effective ways to present large quantities of information in a small space. The use of quantitative information with references will help your grade. Some topics will benefit from a time line and others from a map. You must have diversity, detail and organization (a way to understand the complex interactions).

Develop a system to cite the references used to obtain the quantitative figures, charts, tables or maps. The final copy is to have a list of references on the back or on an attached page. Use the text book as a model of the proper format to list references.

After you have developed several draft flow charts, prepare a near final chart. Develop simple drawings where you would like to place pictures. Add notes to this copy indicating how you plan to use color or explain connecting arrows. At this stage, it would be helpful to exchange these draft copies with another member of the class. Ask for lots of input and use only what you feel is important.

Develop the final flow sheet. This page must be 30" X 30" or smaller (it can contain fold-out parts). A free standing poster board is not appropriate.