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Elements Of Biology: Ecosystems: Organisms And Their Environments Elements-Of-Biology-Ecosystems-Organisms-And-Their-Environments?

  • Subject: Life Science
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
  • |
  • Duration: 3 class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Student Objectives


  • Demonstrate an understanding of the elements that make up an ecosystem.
  • Observe one element of a local ecosystem.
  • Create a class food web showing the interactions among elements of the ecosystem.

Materials


  • Elements of Biology: Ecosystems: Organisms and Their Environments video
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Newsprint and markers
  • Pencil and paper
  • Colored pencils

Procedures


  1. Ask students to watch the programElements of Biology: Ecosystems: Organisms and Their Environments . Ask them to think about the following questions:
    • What is an ecosystem?
    • What elements make up an ecosystem?
    • How are the elements of an ecosystem related?
    • What is the relationship between predators and prey in an ecosystem?
    • What is the relationship between producers and consumers in an ecosystem?
    • What is a food web?
  2. After watching the video, have the class choose a local ecosystem to study, such as a park, pond, or field near the school. Tell students they will work in pairs to study one element of the ecosystem. For homework, have students visit the ecosystem and observe its plants and animals. Ask them to keep a list and to focus on a couple of elements.
  3. During the next class, make a list of the elements the students observed; it will probably include trees, shrubs, squirrels, birds, rabbits, and other small animals. Assign each student pair to one element. Then tell students to return to the ecosystem and be ready to answer the following questions:
    • Is the element an autotroph or a heterotroph?
    • If it is an animal, what does it eat?
    • Is the animal a primary or secondary consumer?
    • Is the animal predator or prey?
    • What abiotic, or nonliving things, are part of the ecosystem?
  4. After students have completed the assignment, have them pool their observations to create the ecosystem's food web. Put up a sheet of newsprint and ask a volunteer to draw the food web. Make sure that the students include the sun, which provides the energy for plants to make food, in the middle of the food web, followed by plants and the animals that eat plants. Students should show how the animals that eat other animals are related to those that eat plants.
  5. Give students time in class to work on the food web. Encourage them to be creative and make it look interesting and attractive.
  6. Conclude the lesson by holding a discussion about ecosystems. What have students learned by observing an ecosystem? How are different elements of the ecosystem related to each other?

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Assessment


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points:  Students demonstrated a clear understanding of an ecosystem and its elements; made careful, thorough observations of an element; and made significant contributions to the creation of a food web.
  • 2 points:  Students demonstrated some understanding of an ecosystem and its elements; made adequate observations of an element; and made some contributions to the creation of a food web.
  • 1 point:  Students demonstrated little understanding of an ecosystem and its elements; did not complete observations of an element; and made no contributions to the creation of a food web.

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Vocabulary


abiotic
Definition: The nonliving elements of an ecosystem
Context: Air and water are abiotic elements of an ecosystem.

autotroph
Definition: The elements in an ecosystem that produce their own food
Context: Plants are autotrophs and make their own food through a process called photosynthesis.

biotic
Definition: The living elements of an ecosystem
Context: Plants and animals are the biotic elements of an ecosystem.

ecosystem
Definition: A habitat in which plants, animals, and microorganisms interact with each other and their surroundings
Context: In the ocean ecosystem, algae produce food that is eaten by fish and other marine animals.

food web
Definition: The relationships of interacting food chains in an ecosystem
Context: A food web shows that an relationships between plants and animals are extremely complex.

heterotroph
Definition: The organisms in an ecosystem that cannot make their own food
Context: Heterotrophs, also known as consumers, are animals that eat plants or other animals.

predator
Definition: Animals that hunt other animals for food
Context: In many forests, the coyote is the major predator of deer.

primary consumer
Definition: An animal that eats only plants
Context: Giraffes are primary consumers in their ecosystem on the African plains.

prey
Definition: An animal that is eaten by other animals in an ecosystem
Context: A balance of predators and prey in an ecosystem shows that it is healthy.

secondary consumer
Definition: Animals that live off primary consumers
Context: Lions and tigers are secondary consumers because they eat zebras and other animals that eat plants.

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Academic Standards


National Academy of Sciences
The National Science Education Standards provide guidelines for teaching science as well as a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically literate for students in grades K-12. To view the standards, visit this Web site: http://books.nap.edu/html/nses/html/overview.html#content.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Life Science: Interdependence of organisms; Behavior of organisms
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visithttp://www.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Science: Life Sciences ? Understands relationships among organisms and their physical environment
  • Nature of Science ? Understands the nature of scientific inquiry
  • Language Arts: Viewing ? Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media

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