Understanding ecosystems and their services through Apollo 13 and bottle models

Carmen T. Agouridis, Tyler M. Sanderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Recognizing that an ecosystem’s components are interconnected is an important step in understanding ecosystem dynamics. Collectively, the world’s diverse ecosystems provide numerous life-sustaining goods and services such as food, air purification, and pollination yet their worth is generally undervalued. The goal of the learning activity described in this chapter is to (1) help students define ecosystems, (2) identify biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem, (3) identify the ecosystem goods and services valued by humans, and (4) understand how ecosystem components affect each other. This will be accomplished with movie clips from Apollo 13, examining a model ecosystem and creating a visual web of an ecosystem’s interconnectedness, all of which prompt a discussion of connections between biotic and abiotic elements and how ecosystems relate to human well-being. The knowledge gained from these activities should help students better understand how human actions can positively and negatively impact ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearner-Centered Teaching Activities for Environmental and Sustainability Studies
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9783319285436
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • Ecological complexity
  • Ecosystem models
  • Ecosystem services
  • Learner-centered teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Social Sciences (all)


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