How to use WRL

The following diagram shows the layout and organization of the WRL data sets. Within a module each data set is laid out in the same way so access to the study is clear and easy to understand. Each resource within the data sets is available for download, in multiple formats where applicable (e.g. .doc and PDF for text based resources), while photographs are unprotected allowing them to be copied into other documents or saved to a hard drive to provide a more interactive experience for students.

We recommend a teacher begins by taking a look at the overview which summarizes the task and lists keywords and potential links to various exam specifications. Each module has a general introduction text document that is supported by a short PowerPoint summary presentation of the data set task which is perfect for use in lessons. There is also a folder containing other valuable and useful resources to support the study (Important background reading, definitions/glossary of terms used in the study, supporting photographs, videos, description of the research site and a profile of the scientists involved). Research questions and discussions are provided early on so that the scope of the data set can be assessed by teachers.

The data required to complete the exercise is stored in a separate folder, and is provided in a number of levels of complexity to allow their use to be flexible. For example many data sets are available in their raw form, requiring students to complete more of the analysis, but also are included with calculations and even graphs completed to allow them to be used for quick revision exercises. A detailed methods and analysis document supports each data set, and talks students through exactly how to take the raw data and complete the exercise to answer the specific research questions.

WRL will be added to on a regular basis and we aim to keep the format similar for all of the data sets.

How to use

Welcome the Wallace Resource Library (WRL) 2014, produced by Operation Wallacea and the Opwall Trust. The WRL is designed as an educational tool for teachers, specifically those teaching biology, environmental science, and geography to 16-18 year olds, although many components will be applicable to other disciplines and age groups.

The opening page of each data set displays an overview table, which highlights the research questions being addressed, links the data set to the syllabus for a range of curricula, and provides a suggested level of difficulty. This page is designed to provide teachers with a quick assessment of the data set, helping them decide how and where to use it within their lessons.

The various resources which make up each data set are then arranged into a number of folders, links to which can be found on the left of the page. In each folder will be a brief explanation of the files contained, and the files themselves which can be downloaded for use in a lesson, or provided to students for homework, individual learning or revision. File formats include Microsoft Word documents (.doc), PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (.xls). Where possible, multiple formats are provided. Teachers can select which documents are provided to students, allowing them to tailor the exercises to fit their own requirements, but all information is provided to allow entire lesson plans to be constructed easily and quickly.

A number of additional resources are provided which, although not directly required to complete the exercise, are designed to make the experience more interactive and interesting for the students. These resources include photographs and video clips relating to the data set, which can be used by students writing reports or preparing presentations, summaries of the research site where the data were collected, and a profile of the scientist responsible for the project.

All data included in the WRL have been collected from real life research projects run by Operation Wallacea around the world. Although designed and coordinated by scientists from universities in a number of countries, many data sets include data collected by university and high school volunteers joining the Operation Wallacea projects to learn valuable field ecology skills and contribute to research and conservation.