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Ecosystem Unit
Fifth Grade
Erika Ellis

Table of Contents
Pre-Assessment

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

11

Lesson 4

14

Lesson 5

18

Lesson 6

21

Lesson 7

25

Lesson 8

28

Final Assessment

32

Food Chain Card Game

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What I know about ecosystems.

What I want to know about


ecosystems.

What I know about food chains.

What I want to know about food


chains.

Ecosystem Unit Pre-Assessment

Lesson 1 - What is an Ecosystem?


Ecosystem Unit/ Grade 5
Time Frame 60 minutes or one class period
Materials

T-Chart with biotic and abiotic pictures


Art materials (glue, scissors, construction paper, old magazines, markers)
Slides with ecosystem pictures for Engage and Evaluate segments of lesson

Essential Question What is an ecosystem?


Objectives
Students will be able to define and identify an ecosystem.
Students will be able to classify biotic and abiotic components.
Students will be able to organize living things into organism, population and community.
Next Generation Science Standard

5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat
plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms
(both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as decomposers.
Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil.
Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are
met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are
each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced
species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.

Background Information - Students should know the basic characteristics of living and
nonliving objects.

Science Skills Used

Classify objects by characteristics


Communicate by creating a model

Inferring from observations

Grouping Arrangements -Students will be in groups of four.


Multidisciplinary Connections -Lesson has a writing reflection with the students created
ecosystem picture.

Safety Concerns -No safety concerns.


Terms/Concepts
Ecosystem
Organism

Abiotic
Population

Biotic
Community

Engage

This lesson defines ecosystem. Students should be able to identify an ecosystem by


learning the definition, the levels of organization and the scale.
Teacher projects pictures of different ecosystems (desert, rainforest, pond, tundra) and
states that the class will be ecologists today. Ecologists study ecosystems.

Exploration

In groups, students will study the projected pictures. They will discuss and record the
similarities in all four pictures.
One member from each group will write a similarity on a large piece of paper.
Teacher question
o Did any of these similarities surprise you? Why?
o What is the importance of these similarities?
o If I were to put up a picture of your neighborhood, would you find the same
similarities? Why?

Explain

Use power point presentation


An ecosystem consists of all the living organisms (biotic) and the nonliving components
(abiotic) that exist together in one place. All the organisms are linked together with the
biotic and abiotic components for survival.
Biotic/Abiotic Activity:
o Provide groups with a T-chart (labeled biotic/abiotic) and several pictures of
living organisms and nonliving components.
o Students work together to sort components.
Ecosystems have levels of organization.
o An organism is one living organism.

o A population is a group of the same organism that lives in a specific area and
time.
o A community is comprised of all the populations that live in a specific area and
time.
o An ecosystem is the community interacting and depending on the nonliving
components (abiotic) for survival.
An ecosystem can be any size.
o Small (puddle)
o Medium (large lake)
o Large (a rainforest/ can also be referred to as a biome)
An ecosystem can be aquatic (water) or terrestrial (land).

Elaborate/Extend

Students will use their knowledge (prior and new) to create their own ecosystem picture.
o Students will use various art materials (construction paper, magazines, markers,
crayons, glue).
Students should include biotic and abiotic components plus several populations.
Students will include a written reflection that explains why the student created picture is
an ecosystem. Reflection uses the lesson vocabulary when appropriate.
Rubric provided in assessment section.

Evaluate
Activity: Is it an Ecosystem?
o Teacher projects a picture of a glass or water, a decaying tree trunk, a home
garden, a forest, one animal.
o Students individually answer two questions in the ecosystem notebook. Is it an
ecosystem? Why or why not?

Assessment
The rubric for the ecosystem project in the elaborate portion.
2 points
The model includes abiotic and
biotic elements.
The written reflection explains why
components were chosen.
The written reflection explains why
the picture represents an
ecosystem.
The written reflection is written at a
fifth grade level with three or less
writing mistakes.
When appropriate the vocabulary
learned for this lesson is used
(ecosystem, organism, population,
community, abiotic, biotic).

1 point

0 points

The model is missing either abiotic


or biotic elements.
The written reflection does not
explain why the components were
chose.
The written reflection does not
explain why the picture represents
an ecosystem.
The written reflection is not written
at a fifth grade level and has more
than six writing mistakes.
The vocabulary learned in this
lesson was not used.

The written reflection attempts to


explain why the components were
chosen.
The written reflection attempts to
explain why the picture represents
an ecosystem.
The written reflection has three to
six writing mistakes.
An attempt was made to use the
vocabulary used in this lesson.

7
Exceeds expectations: 10- 9 points Meets expectations: 8 -7 points Does not meet
expectations: 6 and below

Adaptations

IEP Students
o Use a behavior chart with behavior expectations for student during group work
o Provide a structured fill-in worksheet to help create the ecosystem model
ELL Students
o Provide an ecosystem vocabulary book on the class website that has the words
with the definitions using pictures, diagrams, examples and a voiced
pronunciation
Gifted Students
o Give an additional requirement in reflection How do the ecosystems created at
your table relate to each other?

Lesson 2: Biotic Roles in an Ecosystem


Ecosystem Unit/Grade 5
Time Frame - 60-minute class period
Materials

An Animal War card game for every student pair


Ecosystem student notebooks

Essential Question What are the roles of the biotic element in an ecosystem?
Objectives

Students will be able to identify a plant or animal as producer, consumer or decomposer.


Students will be able to identify a consumer as herbivore, carnivore or omnivore.
Students will be able to explain why an animal or plant is labeled as a producer,
consumer or decomposer.

Next Generation Science Standard


5-L S2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat plants for food and
other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and
bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and
therefore operate as decomposers. Decomposition eventually restores (recycles)
some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in
which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple
species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable
web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.
o L S2.B: Cycles of Matter and energy Transfer in Ecosystems Matter cycles
between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these
organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment,
and release waste matter (gas, liquid, and solid) back into the environment.

Background Information

Students should be familiar with the process of photosynthesis.


Students should understand the role that energy plays in survival of organisms.

Science Skills Used

Classification
Observation

Grouping Arrangements Students are placed in pairs.


Safety Concerns No safety concerns
Terms/Concepts
Consumer
Herbivore

Producer
Carnivore

Decomposer
Omnivore

Engage

Can you find a pattern? Game Show


Teacher projects five slides of two pictures of organisms with word winner underneath
the organism that consumes the other organism.
Teacher allows students to look for a pattern.

Exploration

Student pairs research the following questions using internet or textbooks. Students write
answers in ecosystem notebook.
o Why do organisms need energy?
o How do plants get energy?
o How do animals get energy?

Explain

Power point presentation with pictures


All energy begins with the sun.
Plants take the energy from the sun combined with oxygen and water through the process
of photosynthesis and produce their own energy. Plants are producers.
Other organisms cannot produce energy. They eat plants and other animals to get energy.
They are consumers. They consume energy.
o Herbivores They eat plants.
o Carnivores They eat other animals.
o Omnivores They eat plants and animals.
There is another role. Organisms that break dead matter or waste from living organisms.
They decompose break down nutrients and return it to the soil. They are decomposers.

Elaborate/Extend

Play the Animal War card game.

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o The cards have pictures of producers, consumers or decomposers.


o The students play in pairs and the cards are dealt between the two players.
o Both students lay a card down in the middle. The person that lays the trump
card gets to take both. The player with the most cards at the end wins the game.
o Students will also need to consider whether the animal is an herbivore, carnivore,
or omnivore when deciding what animal trumps the other.
o If two plants or decomposers are laid down at the same time, draw again.
o For the sake of the game, the decomposer cards will trump plants and animals. We
know though that the decomposer only breaks down dead matter or waste.

Evaluate

Teacher projects a picture of a plant, an animal and a decomposer.


Students must label each picture as producer, consumer and decomposer. The students
must also explain why they labeled each picture. Students write answers in ecosystem
notebook.

Assessment Teacher assesses student understanding by the answers in ecosystem notebook.


Student will have understanding if he can successfully describe why an animal is a producer,
consumer and decomposer.

Adaptations

IEP Students
o Students are familiarized with the animal war card game in the resource
classroom.
Ell Students
o Students are provided a word bank to help with writing science vocabulary in
ecosystem notebook.
Gifted Students
o Give an additional question for the evaluate activity How would you create an
unbroken chain using the three pictures. What else would you need to add to the
chain for it to be complete?

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Lesson 3: How do decomposers work?


Ecosystem Unit Fifth Grade
Time Frame

The initial experiment needs to be prepared about a week ahead of time.


The lesson will take one class period.

Materials

A slice of bread for each group


A Ziploc bag for each group
Ecosystem notebook
Camera
A tub of LEGOs for each group

Essential Question - What is the importance of decomposers to an ecosystem?


Objectives

Students will understand the importance of the decomposer in the energy flow of an
ecosystem.

Next Generation Science Standard

5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat
plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms
(both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as decomposers.
Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil.
Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are
met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are
each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced
species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.

Background Information Students should be familiar with an animal and plant life cycle.
Science Skills Used

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Observation
Communication
Predicting
Experimenting
Hypothesizing

Grouping Arrangements Students are placed in groups of four for both parts of the
lesson.

Multidisciplinary Connections

Building component with LEGOs (technology)

Safety Concerns

Students should wash hand before and after preparing the food samples.
Students should not open the food sample bags. Some people are allergic to mold.

Terms/Concepts decomposer, decomposition


Part I On the first day of the unit have the student groups (in four) prepare four food samples
for this lessons lab. Moisten four food samples, wipe moistened bread on a well-used surface,
and seal in a Ziploc bag. Place bags in a warm, dark place. Students hypothesize what will
happen to the bread. Each day student groups observe the samples and take pictures. The
students write observations and place photos in ecosystem notebook.

Part II
Engage

Place a tub of LEGOS in the center of groups.

Exploration

The LEGOs in the tubs are not all separated.


The groups can build any structure they want but they cannot separate any of the pieces.
They cannot separate the LEGOs that they have put together.
Teacher question
o What did your groups build?
o How easy/difficult was it to build without separating the LEGOs.
o How important is it to be able to pull LEGOs a part in order to build something
new?

Explain

Video of watermelon decomposition - http://www.watchknowlearn.org/Video.aspx?


VideoID=37467&CategoryID=6730

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In an ecosystem, decomposers break down dead and waste matter into pieces (like carbon
dioxide and nutrients) that can be used to grow new organisms (plants).
The food samples are covered in mold, which are decomposers.
Decomposers are nutrient recyclers. If matter is not broken down, it cannot be used to
build new organisms. (Think about the LEGOs.)

Elaborate/Extend

Student groups study the observations, written and pictures, of their mold samples.
Students compare their original hypothesis about what would happen to the food samples
and what did happen.
Each student writes a report in the ecosystem notebook.
o How the bread changed
o How the outcome compared to the hypothesis.

Evaluate

In notebook, students will answer the following question.


o What is the importance of the decomposer to the ecosystem?

Assessment Teacher will assess student understanding by the answer to the question in the
evaluate section. (Decomposers break down matter and recycle it so that it can be used again in
the ecosystem.)

Adaptations

IEP Students Give student a picture schedule for the steps of the bread mold activity.
Including the steps of observation with the camera and notebook.
ELL Students Post a picture schedule for the steps in the lesson for that day.
Gifted Students How is the concept of decomposing being used to eliminate or reduce
trash dumps?

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Lesson 4: How Does energy flow through the ecosystem?


Ecosystem Unit Fifth Grade
Time Frame 60-minute class period
Materials

Bins for each group with materials to create a circuit


o Small light bulb
o Bulb holder
o Clip connectors
o Battery holders and D batteries
White boards and markers for each students
Computers or I-Pads for each student pair

Essential Question How does energy flow through the ecosystem?


Objectives

The student will be able to draw and label a food chain.


The students will be able to draw and label a trophic pyramid.
The students will understand that a food chain and trophic pyramid trace the flow of
energy through an ecosystem.

Next Generation Science Standard


5-L S2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat plants for food and
other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and
bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and
therefore operate as decomposers. Decomposition eventually restores (recycles)
some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in
which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple
species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable
web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.
o L S2.B: Cycles of Matter and energy Transfer in Ecosystems Matter cycles
between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these
organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment,
and release waste matter (gas, liquid, and solid) back into the environment.

15

Background Information

Students should be familiar with the process of photosynthesis.


Students should have a basic understanding of electrical circuits.
Students should be able to navigate the internet on a computer or tablet.

Science Skills Used

Hypothesize
Observe
Communicate

Grouping Arrangements

Groups of four for explore and explain


Student pairs for computer work

Multidisciplinary Connections Technology component


Safety Concerns

Students should wear safety glasses during the circuit exploration.


Teacher should test electrical materials before using in classroom.

Terms/Concept
Food chain
Tertiary consumer

Trophic pyramid
Quaternary consumer

Primary consumer
Producer

Secondary consumer

Engage

Show a light bulb. What does this light bulb need to light?
Allow student responses.

Explore

In student groups, pass out electrical supplies to make a circuit and light bulb.
Allow students time to create a circuit.
Teacher questions
o How did the energy get to the light bulb?
o What happens if there is a break in the circuit?
o In an ecosystem what plays the same role as the battery in the electrical circuit?
o How does energy flow in an ecosystem?

Explain

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Play Study Jams Food Chain http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams/jams/science/ecosystems/food-chains.htm


What is a food chain?
Project a food chain. Take students through the process of transferring the organisms to a
trophic pyramid (food pyramid). The pyramid shape shows that less energy is passed on
as it is passed along the food chain.
o The first level is the producers.
o The second level is the primary consumers.
o The third level is the secondary consumers.
o The fourth level is the tertiary consumers.
o If there are more consumers, they will be the quaternary consumers.
In groups, practice drawing a complete food chain on the white boards. A complete food
chain will begin with an energy source and end with the energy coming back to the
producers.
Now using the same food chain transfer that information to a trophic pyramid. Label the
levels of the trophic pyramid.

Elaborate/Extend

In pairs, students practice food chains by playing the food chain game.
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/content/animals/kidscorner/games/foodchaingame.htm
Students put animals and plants into food chains.
o Small food chain
o Larger food chain
o Mixed food chain
o Complete food chain

Evaluate

Individually students answer the following questions in the ecosystem notebook.


o What is a food chain? (A food chain shows the flow of energy or the feeding
relationship between organisms in an ecosystem.)
o What are the three basic types of organisms in a food chain? (Producers,
Consumers, Decomposers)
o What are the different levels in a trophic pyramid? (producer, primary consumer,
secondary consumer, tertiary consumer, quaternary consumer)
o Draw and label a food chain. The food chain should have at least four levels and
be complete.
o Draw and label a trophic pyramid of the food chain.

Assessment Formative assessment will be the evaluate portion of the lesson plan. Students
understanding will be determined by answers to questions.

Adaptations

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IEP Students Give students a template for the ecosystem notebook exercise with a word
bank.
ELL Students Give students a graphic organizer of food chain and trophic pyramid that
is labeled with examples for the student to put in the ecosystem notebook.
Gifted Students Change ecosystem notebook assignment. Pick an ecosystem. Identify
and draw a food chain. Transfer the food chain to a trophic pyramid.

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Lesson 5 Food Webs


Ecosystem Unit/Grade 5
Time Frame one to two class periods
Materials

Six notecards for each group with pictures of organisms (labeled as producer, consumer,
decomposer and herbivore, carnivore, omnivore)
White boards and dry-erase markers for each student
Access to computers or tablets with internet for ecosystem food web research
Poster board for each group
Pictures of organisms available form clipart, internet or magazines
Various art materials (markers, glue, scissors, stapler, at least 10 different colors of yarn)

Essential Question How can we use one model to show all the different food chains in an
ecosystem?

Objectives

Students will be able to create a food web.


Students will be able to identify the food chains within a food web.

Next Generation Science Standard


5-L S2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat plants for food and
other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and
bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and
therefore operate as decomposers. Decomposition eventually restores (recycles)
some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in
which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple
species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable
web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.
o L S2.B: Cycles of Matter and energy Transfer in Ecosystems Matter cycles
between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these
organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment,
and release waste matter (gas, liquid, and solid) back into the environment.

Background Information

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Students must have an understanding of the food chain.

Science Skills Used


Create a model
Make an inference
Grouping Arrangements

Student groups of six for explore section


Student groups of four for explain and elaborate sections

Multidisciplinary Connections There is a technology component to the lesson.


Safety Concerns

The teacher should make sure there is plenty of room for groups to work during the
explore section.
Students should be reminded of classroom rules (no running or rough play) during the
explore section. Students will be out of seat.

Terms/Concepts
Food web
Herbivore

Food chain
Carnivore

Producer
Omnivore

Consumer
Decomposer

Engage

Show a picture of a farm: Do you think only one type of animal eats the grass? How
many different animals can you think of that will eat the grass? What about the garden in
the farm do you think humans are the only ones that eat the lettuce in the garden? Think
about the pond on the farm are humans the only ones that eat the fish? Do you think a
food chain would be the best way to show the feeding relationship of a whole ecosystem?

Explore

Students are placed in groups of six.


Teacher hands out a notecard to every student.
Each group of cards will have two producers, two herbivores, one carnivore and one
omnivore.
Notecards
o Name of the organism
o Labeled as producer, consumer, decomposer
o The consumers will also be labeled as herbivore, carnivore or omnivore.

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Students have to decide how they will organize themselves to show the different feeding
relationships among the organisms present. (String and other materials are available if
needed by the student.)
Students will show on paper their organization.

Explain

Show video of Food Webs Study Jams http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams/jams/science/ecosystems/food-webs.htm


Lets Practice on the interactive white board http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/explorer/ecosystems/be_an_explorer/map/line_exp
eriment14.swf
o Project the interactive food web.
o Have student groups talk about and practice on white boards the relationships
o Each group of four will come up and make a connection.

Elaborate/Extend

Pick an ecosystem (group project of four)


Create a food web for the ecosystem on poster board. Use markers and pictures of
animals from internet or magazines.
Each individual person is responsible for one food chain. Mark each food chain with
different color yarn.
Include a trophic pyramid.
Label your organisms.
o Producer, consumer, decomposer
o Herbivore, carnivore, omnivore
o Trophic level

Evaluate

Each student answers the following prompt in the ecosystem notebook. What are the
similarities and the differences between a food chain and a food web?

Assessment Each student will be assessed individually on group work participation and
ecosystem notebook response.

Adaptations

IEP Students Give students a template to help them organize the similarities and
differences of a food chain and food web.
ELL Students Put the group with an ELL student near the teachers desk.
Gifted Students Allow the gifted students to be in a group together for this group
assignment.

21

Lesson 6: Surviving in Ecosystems


Ecosystems Unit/ Grade 5
Time Frame Two class periods
Materials

Student ecosystem notebook


Wolf/Moose Predation Game
o Playground
o 3 stopwatches
o Flag football flags
o Moose/wolf identification tags
o Chalk or boundary ribbon
Computer or tablet for each student pair

Essential Question How do populations interact with other populations in an ecosystem?


Objectives

Students will be able to explain the importance of a populations niche in an ecosystem.


Students will be able to explain what occurs when niches overlap competition, predation,
and symbiosis.
Students will be able to identify the different abiotic and biotic factors that create a stable
ecosystem.

Next Generation Science Standard


5-L S2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat plants for food and
other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and
bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and
therefore operate as decomposers. Decomposition eventually restores (recycles)
some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in
which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple
species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable
web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.

Background Information Students should be able to read a graph.

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Science Skills Used

Observation
Prediction
Measurement
Interpreting Data

Multidisciplinary Connections The lesson has a technology component and a


kinesthetic component.

Safety Concerns The teacher will need to set specific rules of behavior for the wolf/moose
predation game: no pushing, no tackling, and no tripping. Students will be removed from the
game.

Terms/Concepts
Niche
Predation

Predator
Competition

Prey
Symbiosis

Engage

Students will play the wolf/moose game. http://www.pbs.org/edens/denali/mooswolf.htm


o Divide class into four groups two groups are wolves and two groups are moose
o Two students will be timekeepers with stopwatches.
o Moose will wear flag football flags.
o Each students will wear nametags identification as moose or wolf.
o Mark off five identified safe zones on the playground. These are places that
moose can rest and feed (two lakes, two forests and one mountain zone).
o Mark off ultimate boundary on playground.
o The moose and wolf teams should use a few minutes to plan for survival.
o The game will last for 20 minutes.
o Moose are given a 30-second head start to run to safety zones. Moose can only
stay in safe zones for three minutes and only one moose can be in a safety zone at
a time. If they stay longer than three minutes, that moose dies of starvation.
o The wolves chase the moose trying to pull the flag (a pulled flag means the wolf
has killed the moose for food).
o Every five minutes if a wolf has not gotten the flag of a moose that wolf is taken
out of the game for starvation.
Students come back to class and discuss the game.
o Students write down observations about predator/prey relationship in ecosystem
notebook.
o Questions:
What happened to the predator and prey populations?
What were your observations about the predator and prey populations?

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How do you think the game relates to the predator/prey relationship in the
wild?

Explore

Students will study the population of wolves and moose on the Isle Royale Island in Lake
Superior.
Students work in groups and decide how they need to graph the numbers in order to study
the populations.
Students will analyze the data that is put in graphs.
o What happens to the moose population over a ten-year period?
o What happens to the wolf populations over a ten-year period?
o What would be some reasons (biotic and abiotic) for the change in populations?
o How are the populations of the moose and wolf related?

Year
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011

Wolf
19
17
19
29
30
30
21
23
24
19
16

Moose
1120
1100
900
750
540
450
385
650
530
510
515

Explain

Each population occupies a niche. A niche is the role that species plays in an ecosystem.
o What would be an example of a role in an ecosystem?
No two populations can exist in the same role at the same time but populations can
overlap. Overlapping niches will lead to the following:
o Competition
o Predation
o Symbiosis
What would populations compete for in an ecosystem?

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o abiotic factors water, shelter, soil, light, nutrients


o biotic factors food
Symbiosis - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTGcS7vJqbs
o Good for both example?
o Good for one but does not help or harm the other example?
o Good for one but harms the other example?
Predation
o Remember our game.
o How could predation be good for the ecosystem?

Elaborate/ Extend

Sunny Meadows food chain interaction simulator http://puzzling.caret.cam.ac.uk/game.php?game=foodchain


o The goal is to keep the populations stable.
Add plants, rabbits, foxes and write down your beginning populations in
your notebook.
Make a prediction about the growth of the populations.
After running the simulator, what actually happened to the populations?
Using the graph, record the population amount for each species at
the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50-year marks in the notebooks.
How did the change in one species effect the change in another
species? Write in your notebook.
What do you need to change to make the populations stable over the 50year period?
o Work in student pairs.

Evaluate Answer in ecosystem notebook.

What are some abiotic reasons that a populations would not be able to stay stable?
Why might a population become extinct?
What happens to the ecosystem when a population becomes extinct?
When the niche of a population overlaps with another population what might occur?

Assessment Teacher will assess student understanding by answers to questions in ecosystem


notebook in the evaluate portion.

Adaptations

IEP Students Allow students with mobility issues to be timekeepers.


ELL Students Show a moose/wolf game on video so that instructions are
understandable.
Gifted Students What are some human factors that could change the balance of an
ecosystem?

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Lesson 7 The Carbon Cycle


Ecosystem Unit Grade 5
Time Frame 60-minute class period
Materials

Ecosystem notebook
Research sources (internet, textbook) for students.
Interactive white board
Poster board and art materials (glue, tape, scissors, markers, pictures)

Essential Question Why is carbon important to the ecosystem? How does carbon cycle
through the ecosystem?

Objectives

Students will be able to explain why carbon is important to the ecosystem.


Students will create a diagram of the carbon cycle.

Next Generation Science Standard


5-L S2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat plants for food and
other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and
bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and
therefore operate as decomposers. Decomposition eventually restores (recycles)
some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in
which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple
species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable
web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.
o L S2.B: Cycles of Matter and energy Transfer in Ecosystems Matter cycles
between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these
organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment,
and release waste matter (gas, liquid, and solid) back into the environment.

Science Skills Used

Observation
Communication through a diagram

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Understanding relationships

Background Information Students should have an understanding of photosynthesis and


the life cycle of plants and animals.

Grouping Arrangements Students are in groups of four and pairs.


Multidisciplinary Connections The lesson has a technology component.
Safety Concerns No safety concerns
Terms/Concepts Carbon cycle
Engage

Can you remember what produces the energy in the ecosystem?


How do plants produce energy?
If plants did not produce energy, where would animals get energy?

Explore

In groups of four, students write down the components necessary for the process of
photosynthesis. Students research and write down where these components are found.
Students may use resources for answers (internet, textbook)
Groups list the components and where the components come from on white board.
All of these ingredients come from the ecosystem where the plants live. Today we will
look at the carbon cycle to understand how carbon recycles through the ecosystem.

Explain

http://www.kscience.co.uk/animations/carbon_cycle.htm
Teacher uses the carbon cycle interactive to explain the cycle.
o Plants take in carbon dioxide to create energy. Animals eat plants and take in
carbon. Plants die and carbon is release into the air through decomposition. Plants
die and fossilize which creates fossil fuels. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon is
released into the atmosphere.
o Animals release through carbon dioxide into the air through exhaling. Animal
carcass and animal waste is decomposed and carbon is released.

Elaborate/Extend

In pairs, students will make a carbon cycle poster.


Students will use poster board, markers, glue, tape, and pictures.
Students will label the parts of the diagram.
Students will create a key that describes the flow of carbon through the diagram.

Evaluate

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In ecosystem notebook, students will answer the following question. Why is carbon
important to the ecosystem?

Assessment
2
The carbon cycle diagram is
present.
The elements of the carbon
cycle diagram are labeled.
The poster has a key that
describes the flow of carbon
through the cycle.
The carbon cycle poster is neat
and clean.

1
The carbon cycle diagram is
attempted but not complete.
Labels are present but not
understandable.
A key was attempted but not
complete.
X

0
The carbon cycle diagram is not
present.
No carbon cycle diagram is not
labeled.
A key was not included.

The carbon cycle poster is not


neat and clean.

8 points is excellent - 7 to 6 points is satisfactory - 5 or below is unsatisfactory

Adaptations

IEP Students Allow students to create the poster on a computer.


ELL Students - Pair student with a student who will speak clearly and willing to help
student understand.
Gifted Students Knowing that plants take in carbon dioxide during the photosynthesis
process and give off oxygen, can you create a diagram that shows the oxygen cycle in an
ecosystem.

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Lesson 8: Ecosystem Project


Ecosystem Unit Grade 5
Time Frame two 60-minute class periods
Materials

Ecosystem notebook
Outside activity
o String
o Popsicle sticks
o Magnifying glass
A Desert Scrapbook, Dawn to Dusk in the Sonoran Desert by Virginia Wright-Frierson
A 2-litre soda bottle for each student (label removed)
Masking tape
Scissors
gravel
potting soil
bean and grass seeds
snails, worms, other insects

Essential Question How can I build a mini ecosystem?


Objectives

Students will use their knowledge about ecosystems to observe a local ecosystem.
Students will discuss the similarities and differences between a local ecosystem and a
desert ecosystem.
Students will build an ecosystem in a bottle.

Next Generation Science Standard


5-L S2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals,
decomposers, and the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas


o L S2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - The food of almost any
kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in
which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat plants for food and
other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and
bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and
therefore operate as decomposers. Decomposition eventually restores (recycles)
some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in
which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple

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species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable
web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.
o L S2.B: Cycles of Matter and energy Transfer in Ecosystems Matter cycles
between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these
organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment,
and release waste matter (gas, liquid, and solid) back into the environment.

Science Skills Used

Observation
Communication

Background Information No background information needed


Grouping Arrangements Students will work in groups of four for the engage and explore
activities. They will work individually on the ecosystem bottle.

Multidisciplinary Connections

Literature component

Safety Concerns

Student should use safety glasses during the outside observation. Students should wash
hands after the outside observation.
Students should use safety glasses during the building of the bottle ecosystem. Students
should wash hands before and after building the ecosystem.

Terms/Concepts Student will be using and reviewing the ecosystem unit vocabulary words.
Engage

In groups of four, students will study the ecosystem at their school.


o Students observe the ecosystem and write observations in the science notebook.
o Each group is given a 12x12 inch patch of land. Students will turn over a patch
with a Popsicle stick. Students will observe and record what they see.
Students should record biotic factors. What type of organisms are
observed? What are some possible food chains?
Students should record abiotic factors. Where does the ecosystem get its
water? What kind of sunlight is in the ecosystem?
How do the populations in the ecosystem interact?
What population do think is the largest?

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Explore

The teacher reads, A Desert Scrapbook, Dawn to Dusk in the Sonoran Desert by Virginia
Wright-Frierson.
Students write down observations of the Sonoran Desert Ecosystem in the ecosystem
notebook.
In groups of four, students discuss the similarities and the differences between the
Sonoran Desert and the ecosystem they observed outside.

Explain

Teacher explains that the students will build an ecosystem.


In groups, students will brainstorm what is needed to build an ecosystem.

Elaborate/Extend
Directions

Teacher will have already prepared and cut the bottles.


Place about gravel in the bottom of the bottle.
Loosely add 3 of potting soil. Tap the bottle to help soil settle.
Poke holes about an inch deep in the soil using a pencil. Place a bean seed in each hole.
You only need four bean seeds. Lightly cover the bean seeds.
Scratch the surface lightly with a plastic fork and scatter three pinches of grass seed.
Place the organisms into the bottle.
Sprinkle water until the soil is very damp but not soaked. Let it sit to allow the water
settle through the soil. Sprinkle more water if the soil is not damp all the way to the
bottom.
Place the top part back on the bottle and secure with scotch tape.
Use masking tape to label your bottle with your name and the date.
Place the bottle is a warm sunny spot. Enjoy watching your ecosystem grow.

Evaluate

In ecosystem notebook, students will identify abiotic/biotic factors in the bottle


ecosystem.
Students will write a response comparing and contrasting the ecosystem outside and the
ecosystem in the book.

Assessment Students will be assessed on their understanding of ecosystems by their


response to the compare and contrast question in the evaluate portion.

Adaptations

IEP Students Give a note-taking template that will help compare and contrast the two
ecosystems.

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ELL students Give the student picture instructions for the bottle ecosystem.
Gifted Students Present students with the question, how could students document the
growth of the ecosystem in a bottle?

32

Ecosystem Final Assessment

1. On a separate piece of paper, design a food chain with the


organisms below. Label the organisms as decomposer, producer, or
consumer.
2. Design a trophic pyramid with the organisms below. Label each
level.

Grasshopper
Grass

Snake

Mushroom

Frog
Hawk
3. An ecosystem consists of all the
factors that exist together in one place.

factors and the

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