Eye of the Cyclops
Eye of the Cyclops makes an excellent introduction to biological classification, diversity and ecology.
The series features scientific explorations in the ecology of ponds, streams, forests, and backyards. A unique visual style places micro-adventurers with the organisms that inhabit these environments. Interacting with the organisms, the “Cyclops crew” makes fundamental discoveries about the nature of life. These adventures will excite students with the idea of conducting their own explorations with a hand lens or microscope. The teaching guides provides follow-up activities and correlates the programs to the National Science Standards.
1. Plankton Play — Cyclops and its intrepid crew of explorers encounter the denizens of the plankton: micro-crustaceans, insects, rotifers, and protists, organisms with unique adaptations for open water life. (14 minutes)
2. Decomposers Everywhere — Settling their craft into the bottom, the micro-explorers discover that the bottom ooze is populated by bacteria, the microbes that break down and recycle organic materials–an unforgettable visual introduction to the concept of organic decomposition. (14 minutes)
3. Food Chains Begin with Photosynthesis — In this episode, a single algae cell is rescued, and its green secrets are revealed through experiments performed on board the Cyclops. The micro-explorers discover how algae start the food chains that ultimately sustain the fish, birds, amphibians, and mammals living in and around the pond. (14 minutes)
4. Protozoans and Algae — Cruising through the weedy shallows, the crew is amazed at the diversity of protozoans swimming by the observation ports. Through careful observation they discover how these amazing single cells feed, reproduce, and escape. (15 minutes)
5. Predators of the Shallows — While engrossed in observing the food capturing and feeding methods used by Planaria, a flatworm, the tentacles of Hydra trap the Cyclops crew where they receive a hands-on lesson in the process of digestion. (14 minutes)
6. White Water Adventure — Trying to return to their pond base, the microexplorers are channeled into the pond outlet, where they tumble into a rapidly flowing stream and discover a world of aquatic insects adapted for life in flowing water even waterfalls. (14 minutes)
7. Discovering a Forest Microcosm — The microexplorers are channeled into the pond outlet, where they tumble into a rapidly flowing stream and discover a world of aquatic insects adapted for life in flowing water. (13 minutes)
8. Backyard Diversity — The microexplorers discover that gardens support a community that includes herbivorous and predatory insects, pollinating insects, and a giant earthworm. They get a look at the animal’s internal physiology. (15 minutes)
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Assignment: The World has been discontinued by the producer and is no longer available for broadcast.
PBS Newshour Extra’s Daily News Story is a great alternative.