Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unit Resource Portfolio: Ecosystems

Unit Outline for SOL 4.5 Ecosystems


Day 1: Introduction to Ecosystems: SOL 4.5 d: Habitats and Niches

Objectives: Students will
  • Understand that an ecosystem is made of living and nonliving things
  • Be able to tell the difference between an ecosystem and a habitat
  • Create their own miniature ecosystem and identify how the different living and nonliving parts of that ecosystem contribute to that ecosystem.
Students are asked to observe the class fish aquarium and are asked why the fish aquarium is a habitat and how it is an ecosystem. Students are read the book What are Food Chains and Webs? Students watch video: Habitat, which explains what a habitat is and also what a niche is. Students are asked by the teacher some discussion questions that go with the movie which they must answer in their science journals after the movie. Students are given a graphic organizer which allows them to enter the information answered by the video/teacher/students and the handout information. This graphic organizer is handed in for a grade and the teacher uses a rubric to grade it. Teacher makes two collumns on the board and asks students what the characteristics of an ecosystem, habitat, and niche are and fills in all of the information. Students make a foldable which defines ecosystem, habitat, and niche.

Day 2:Ecosystems: SOL 4.5 d.: An Introduction to Different Ecosystems
Objectives: Students will:
  • Discover that different types of land and therefore weather accommodate/attract different types of living things
  • Be able to name several different types of ecosystems
Students are asked about different ecosystems they may have observed during travels or on T.V.. Students are read the book Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing Animal Habitats by Jim Arnosky. Students watch a video: Wetlands, Forests, & Deserts, which teaches students how surface terrain affects the precipitation and temperature which in turn affect living things in an ecosystem. Students answer questions which go with the movie Wetlands, Forests, & Deserts, and record the answers in their science journals. This is turned in for a grade. Students play on their class laptops Biomes, an interactive game which teaches them about biomes and is followed by discussion questions, which they must record in their science journals, also to be turned in for a grade. The teacher uses a rubric to grade the science journals. Students make a foldable which represents information that they learned about the different animal habitats from Biomes.

Day 3: Ecosystems: SOL 4.5 d.: Habitats & Niches: The Wetland Habitats
SOL 4.5 f.: Affects of Humans on an Ecosystem
Objectives: Students will:
  • Discover the characteristics of a wetland ecosystem
  • Learn what the wetlands are like as a habitat for living things
  • Explain how wetland habitats can be changed by humans
  • Explain how wetland habitats can be changed by natural causes

Students are asked: What kinds of animals and plants occupy wetland habitats? and How do you think a wetland ecosystem differs from any other ecosystem? Students are read the book: AJourney into a Wetland by Rebecca L. Johnson. Students watch a video:
An Everglades Visit and answer the questions that go with it after the teacher writes them on the board. Students play on their class laptops Florida's Everglades, which is an interactive lesson. Students make Wonderful Wetlands experiment in groups of 5 to explore how a wetland ecosystem is naturally equipped to resist pollutants through absorption. Questions are included in the experiment, which students answer in their science journals. Students watch video: Hurricane Katrina: Wetland Destruction to see how natural disasters can affect a wetland ecosystem.

Day 4: Ecosystems: SOL 4.5 d.: Habitats and Niches: Forests
SOL 4.5 f.: Effects of Humans on an Ecosystem
Objectives: Students will
  • Be able to notice specific similarities and differences among boreal, temperate, and rainforest ecosystems.
  • Observe characteristics of a boreal forest
  • Observe characteristics of a temperate forest
  • Determine how these ecosystems are threatened
Students are read the books A Walk in the Boreal Forest and A Walk in the Deciduous Forest. Students watch Biome in a Baggie video, which explains with an experiment how, with similar temperatures and precipitation, it is possible for two forests located in different parts of the world to have the same plants. They answer the included discussion questions in their science journals after the teacher has written for them on the board. The teacher asks them to answer the questions out loud to make sure everyone understands. Students listen as teacher tells a story about a town that was outnumbered by deer and then watch a short video about deer from a wildlife biologist's point of view: What's Your Problem?, Teacher leads a discussion by asking students why they think the population of deer is out of control in some areas. . A rubric is used to grade the handout. Students play a game to learn how populations of wolves can easily change in the wild: Wolf Population Game.

Day 5: Ecosystems: SOL 4.5 d.:Habitats and Niches: Rain Forest
SOL 4.5 f.: Human Effects on an Ecosystem
Objectives: Students will
  • Understand the characteristics of a rainforest
  • Understand the human threat to rainforests
Students are read the book Rain Forest Animals by Carolyn Franklin. Teacher shows students a World Trust webcam of Southern Atlantic rainforest in Brazil. Teacher asks students how the rainforest ecosystem might differ from the other forest ecosystems. Students watch video Amazon Rainforest and then answer the included discussion questions in their science journals.Students break up into groups of four to research on their class laptops and in classroom books one species of animal that lives the rainforest. They will find out the risks to it's survival and details about behavior and habitat. They will make a poster and present this information along with a drawing of the animal. Each group will present their project to the class at the end of class.

Day 6: Ecosystems 4.5 d.: Habitats & Niches: Coral Reef
4.5 f: Human Effects on an Ecosystem

Objectives: Students will
  • Learn about nonliving and living contributors to a coral reef ecosystem
  • Find out the human and natural threats to a coral reef ecosystems
Students are read the book The Seaside Switch. Students watch video: Coral Reef Connections and then answer the included discussion questions that the teacher writes on the board. Students will participate in activity from Contrasts in Blue: Life in the Carribean Coral Reef
where they will receive a handout and then fill in information about the coral reef food chain.

Day 7: Ecosystems 4.5 d.: Habitats & Niches: Deserts
Objectives: Students will

  • Learn about living and nonliving contributors to a desert ecosystem.
  • Find out about threats to the desert ecosystem
Students are read the book A Desert Habitat. Students watch video Desert Biome and then answer included discussion questions in their science journals. Students watch video Desert Tortoise and answer included discussion questions afterwards. Students research on their laptops 3 desert plants or animals and make a foldable which explains how each contributes to the desert ecosystem, what each does to obtain food and water, etc.

Day 8: Ecosystems 4.5 d. Habitats & Niches: Tundra & Arctic Habitats Part 1
4.5 f. Human Effects on an Ecosystem

Objectives: Students will
  • Be able to describe an arctic ecosystem.
  • Be able to describe a tundra ecosystem
  • Determine what living and nonliving things make up an arctic ecosystem
Students are read the book A Walk in the Tundra. Students watch video Arctic Tundra and then answer the included discussion questions in their science journals to be turned in for a grade. Students are read the book Life Under Ice and the teacher asks the students if they can think of any other plants or animals that are suitable for life in a very cold or icy ecosystem. Students then watch the video Arctic Ecosystem and answer the discussion questions in their journals to be turned in for a grade.

Day 9:Ecosystems SOL 4.5 d. Habitats & Niches: Arctic Habitats 2
4.5 f. Human Effects on an Ecosystem

Objectives: Students will
  • Learn about living and nonliving components of the arctic ecosystem
  • Discover natural contributors to changes that are occurring in arctic ecosystems
  • Discover human contributors to changes that are occurring in arctic ecosystems
Students will watch the video Arctic Summer to get a better idea of what seasons look like in arctic ecosystems. They will answer the included discussion questions in their science journals. Students watch Arctic Haze, Contaminants in the Arctic Food Chain, and How the Arctic Ecosystem Might Change to learn about the natural and human-caused reasons why the Arctic ecosystem is changing. They answer the included discussion questions for these videos in their science journals.

Day 10: Ecosystems SOL 4.5 d. Habitats & Niches: Conclusion
Objectives: Students will
  • Review nonliving and living characteristics of the ecosystems that we studied
  • Review human and natural contributors to changes in the ecosystems
Students will again play Biomes for review and their scores will be graded.


Curriculum Framework Background for SOL 4.5 d and f.


The concepts developed in this standard include the following:
· Organisms have structural adaptations, or physical attributes, that help them meet a life need.
· Organisms also have behavioral adaptations, or certain types of activities they perform, which help them meet a life need.
· The organization of communities is based on the utilization of the energy from the sun within a given ecosystem. The greatest amount of energy in a community is in the producers.
· Within a community, organisms are dependent on the survival of other organisms. Energy is passed from one organism to another.
· The organization of a community is defined by the interrelated niches within it.
· The sun’s energy cycles through ecosystems from producers through consumers and back into the nutrient pool through decomposers.
· An organism’s habitat provides food, water, shelter, and space. The size of the habitat depends on the organism’s needs.



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