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Engage in Argument from Evidence, Investigation Four of the 8 Practices of Scientists

Engage in Argument from Evidence, Investigation Four of the 8 Practices of Scientists

Author: Michael Steger
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Scientists engage in argument from evidence.

The study of science should produce a sense of argument necessary to advance, defend or explain ideas. Scientists argue for the explanations they create, and defend how they interpret data, and support their theories.

Solid arguments are based on evidence, proof or data supporting your thoughts or ideas.  Many arguments today are based on second or third hand information and much of the evidence isn't verified or checked out.

We're going to look at the reintroduction of wolves in areas or habitats they once populated.  I want you to view the materials below, videos and readings.  Determine if the information and arguments or reasoning you are seeing is the result of primary or secondary information.  I've got a couple of short videos helping you determine what is primary and what is secondary information.  Please watch those primary and secondary information videos first.

Your task will then to state your position on the reintroduction of wolves in habitats or areas they were eliminated from. You may use other sources of information than those I provided to help support your position. More directions will be given below at the end of this tutorial.

Primary and Secondary Sources of Information (2:10)

A short overview of what a primary and secondary source of information is.

Source: Mary Jones

Primary vs. Secondary Sources of Information (2:58)

Another review of what primary and secondary sources of information are.

Source: Rob Redmon

Wisconsin Wolves Killing More Hunting Dogs

The link below takes you to a short article.  The article explores the impact wolves are having in Wisconsin.  Is this source of information primary or secondary?  How did the author treat the information he had available to him? (I just want you to keep that in the back of your head while you're reading it.)  Take a look at the comments after reading the article.  Are these informed statements or statements made with an emotional attachment?

 February 18, 2011

Wisconsin Wolves Killing More Hunting Dogs


QUEST TV: Wolves and the Ecology of Fear

In this video we journey to Washington State’s Cascade Mountains, where the return of wolves could have a profound impact on a vast wilderness area. We meet up with biologist Aaron Wirsing to explore why wolves and other top predators are needed for diverse ecosystems to flourish. Using a simple video camera (a “deer-cam”) Wirsing is gaining a unique perspective on predator/prey relationships and changing the way we think about wolves.

Copy and paste the link below into your web browser to go directly to the website. The website contains much more information. You may also click the link below next to source.

(Silent) 1930's video of "Game Management On the Kaibab" (19:24)

Don't bother with your volume. There's no sound in this video. Believe it or not, at one time films didn't have sound. This is one of them. The first half of the video has the most information. Keep in mind what a primary and secondary source of information is. Seeing the image is primary, reading the someone's interpretation of the image is secondary. Predators were removed from this area.

Wolves At The Door-NPR

Can two top predators coexist in the American West?

A story about wolves and people.

Click on this link to be taken to the website.

Podcast: The Fragile, Invisible Connections Of The Natural World

From the TED Radio Hour, writer and environmentalist George Monbiot tells the story of what happened when wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park after a 70-year absence.


Follow this LINK to listen to the podcast.  You may either listen to the podcast or read the transcript.  The podcast is about 3 minutes.

Gray Wolves: A Case Study of Keystone Species Removal and Restoration

This PDF is an excerpt from a larger story on keystone species. (Keystone species help maintain an ecosystem.) The article explains what happened in Yellowstone National Park when wolves were eliminated and what happened when they were reintroduced.


How Wolves Change Rivers (4:34)

An overview of the reintroduction of wolves.
(description from the site)
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

NATURE | The Wolf That Changed America | Wolf Expert | PBS

Started in 1994, the Wolf Project has taken advantage of the visibility of Yellowstone's wolves to explore wolf population dynamics. Of particular interest is how wolves interact with prey and scavenger populations in the park. Smith hopes that Wolf Project research can help replace common misconceptions about wolves with factual information.

Idaho hunters: Wolves taking too many elk

Idaho hunters: Wolves taking too many elk

Becky Kramer
The Spokesman-Review
Tags:elkelk huntinghuntingoutdoorsShoshone County Sportsmen’s AssociationSteve Blahunkawolves


Idaho Department of Fish and Game plans two additional meetings: A Sandpoint meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bonner County Fairgrounds in the Lehman Building; a Coeur d’Alene meeting will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

KELLOGG – Steve Blahunka used to bow hunt in Idaho’s St. Joe region, but he switched his hunting grounds after he and his buddies saw fewer and fewer elk.

Wolves are having an impact on North Idaho’s elk herds, and Blahunka isn’t happy about it.

“I don’t want wolves, I want elk,” said the Pinehurst resident. “My family wants to eat elk.”

That was a common sentiment at the Shoshone County Sportsmen’s Association breakfast here Saturday, where about 150 people gathered to hear Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s proposals for the 2012 hunting season.

The department is recommending moving to a “bull only” general hunting season for elk in the Idaho Panhandle, with a limited number of either sex permits in some units.

By restricting hunting on cow elk, department officials hope to ease pressure on elk herds in the St. Joe, where wolves have had the greatest impact and elk calf survival is low, said Jim Hayden, Fish and Game’s regional wildlife manager. They also hope to keep elk herds healthy in the Coeur d’Alene River drainage, where wolf packs are expanding.

“Looking over the top of the St. Joe divide, we’ve got a problem there and we don’t want the same situation in the Coeur d’Alenes,” Hayden told the crowd.

Wolves aren’t the only natural predators of elk, Hayden reminded the audience. Bears eat elk calves, too, and last year’s rainy, cold spring also affected calf survival. But many in the crowd put the blame for low elk calf numbers squarely on wolves.

“Hunting is a lifestyle for a lot of families in the valley,” said Robin Stanley, a director for the sportsmen’s association. “They’re frustrated that they are having to give up their season because of the wolves.”

Idaho is in its second year of allowing hunting and trapping wolves, which were reintroduced to central Idaho in the mid-1990s. The state is acting aggressively to lower wolf populations, but doesn’t want to trigger a lawsuit that could result in a re-listing of gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act, either, said Tony McDermott, chairman of Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission.

To ensure that doesn’t happen, Idaho is committed to keeping at least 150 wolves in 15 packs.

However, “we’ve got a bellyful of wolves. We understand the problem,” McDermott told the crowd. “We didn’t raise these elk herds in Idaho to feed them to the wolves.”

Hayden said that hunters and trappers are making a dent in the Panhandle’s wolf population. Sixty-seven wolves have been killed so far, and Hayden expects a harvest of about 80 when the season closes March 31.

Together with natural mortality, illegal kills and hunting in Montana of wolves belonging to border packs, he anticipates a modest net decline in the Idaho Panhandle’s wolf population.

Last summer’s estimate was 130 wolves in the Panhandle, with another 130 wolves in border packs that use territory in both North Idaho and Montana or North Idaho and British Columbia. However, those figures don’t include new pups.

Fish and Game officials are recommending that Panhandle hunters and trappers be allowed to take up to five wolves each, or up to 10 wolves for an individual with both licenses. Hayden said the proposal would reward the most skilled wolf hunters and trappers, but predicted that few people would bag the full limit.

In response to audience questions, Hayden said he doesn’t recommend extending the wolf season into May or June, even though the longer season would reduce predation on elk calves. Hayden said such a season would give the impression that Idaho condoned “shooting (wolf) puppies,” and create public image problems for the state.

Public input on the 2012 hunting proposals will be accepted through Saturday. The Fish and Game Commission will make the final decision on seasons.

Wisconsin wolf hunt snags attention

Paul Smith, Outdoors Editor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper looks at both sides of the wolf controversy in Wisconsin.

Article appeared in the October 22, 2014 issue of the paper.