Author:
Melody Casey
Subject:
Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Middle School
Grade:
8
Tags:
  • GEDB
  • Global Education
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    GEDB Ecosystems: A Changing World – Interconnected Ecosystem (Lesson 6 of 6)

    GEDB Ecosystems: A Changing World – Interconnected Ecosystem (Lesson 6 of 6)

    Overview

    Students will investigate an ecosystem of their choice and then create a food web poster with at least 30 organisms. The students will have different sections that will include food web, food chain, energy pyramid, invasive species, and symbiosis, climate and population factors within an ecosystem. This is the summative lesson of the unit. This will allow the student to apply all the information that has been learned throughout the unit. The students will demonstrate through analyzes how an ecosystem is an interconnected ever changing system that incorporates many factors that affect organisms living in the ecosystem.

    This lesson was developed by Elizabeth Bartlett as part of their completion of the North Carolina Global Educator Digital Badge program. This lesson plan has been vetted at the local and state level for standards alignment, Global Education focus, and content accuracy.        

    Lesson Plan

    Description

    Students will investigate an ecosystem of their choice and then create a food web poster with at least 30 organisms. Students will include how abiotic and biotic factors interconnect by having both abiotic and biotic examples represented on their poster. The food web must start with the Sun’s energy. The students will have different sections that will include food web, food chain, energy pyramid, invasive species, and symbiosis, climate and population factors within an ecosystem. The students will need to label ecosystem vocabulary directly on their created food webs that provide an example of that vocabulary word. This is the summative lesson of the unit. This will allow the student to apply all the information that has been learned throughout the unit. The students will demonstrate through analyzes how an ecosystem is an interconnected ever changing system that incorporates many factors that affect organisms living in the ecosystem.


    Content

    Student Engagement/Motivation

    The teacher will conduct a question and answer session with the students to review information previously learned.

    Examples:

    How can an invasive species change an ecosystem?

    Where does every food webs energy start?

    Explain why food webs must have more producers in order to maintain the ecosystem.

    How can limiting factors impact an ecosystem?

    Think about this for one minute before we share with a partner.

    Everything we have learned how do you think it all relates to each other.


    Learning Targets and Criteria for Success

    Learning Target:

    I can demonstrate my knowledge on how ecosystems are interconnected.

    Criteria for Success:

    I will create an ecosystem from a world biome that has many environmental components and many interactions that are connected through biotic and abiotic factors.

    I will be able to diagram the energy flow through food web, food chain, and energy pyramid.

    I will be able to identify the symbiotic relationships in an ecosystem.


    Supplies/Resources

    The teacher will supply the students with project instructions, project rubric, and vocabulary list. The teacher will also supply a student reflection at the end of the project. The students will need a computer with internet to investigate their ecosystem. The students will additionaly need poster board, markers and pictures of organisms from their chosen ecosystem. The students will need collaborative software programs such as Goggle documents. The students need a printer either at school or home. The students might choose to use a Microsoft Word document or a Google document, so they will need the software to accomplish the task.


    Learning Tasks and Practice

    Project Content:

    The project will incorporate a food chain, energy pyramid and food web including abiotic and biotic factors. The students must include producers, consumers, and decomposers on the food web.  The students will first create the thirty-organism food web. The teacher could modify the number of organisms required for the students to include in the project. The teacher found that thirty organisms worked in a regular class of students and give the students enough organisms to complete the required elements without using the same organisms every time. The students will use the food web to create a food chain which they must label. The students will create an energy pyramid using different organisms from those used in the food chain. The students are required to label the energy pyramid and include the loss of energy at each level.  The students will be required to label 30 vocabulary words using them correctly on the food web. The students will have five vocabulary words that are required to be incorporated.  The students will create a section that will include symbiotic relationships, which will include mutualism (cooperation), commensalism (coexisting), parasitism, competition, and predator/prey. The students are expected to use examples from their food web; if they cannot find an example on the food web, then the students need to add organisms on their food web. The added organisms must be part of the food web in nature. The students will need to research and find two invasive species in their food web. The student may need to add these organisms to their original food web. The students will also add a block that explains how each invasive species originated from and how it invaded the new ecosystems. The students must explain how the organism is part of the food web, for example a tertiary consumer. The students will then explain the relationship in the ecosystem, for example, it competes for food with rabbit. The students will create and research a section that will explain how the limiting factors and carry capacity affect the population of the food web. In this section the students will use at least two limiting factors and examples from the food web to explain how they affect carrying capacity and the population in their food web.  The students will need a section that explains what climate change is taking place in their food web and how it is affect the ecosystem. The students will need to use two organisms from the food web and explain how climate change has affected their own survival.

    Lesson Flow

    Day One of Unit:

    The teacher does this part before the actual project starts. The teacher introduces the project at the beginning of the unit; this allows the students to already have collaborative groups and an ecosystem chosen. The teacher will start by explaining the project and going through the instructions and requirements of the project. The teacher will answer any questions the students have about the project. The students will work in collaborative groups of four. The students will be allowed to choose their groups. However, if the teacher has a class that they would like to select the groups, this will not affect the project. If the teacher has a class of odd number students, then they may want to form groups of three instead of four. The teacher always has a student who is absent for most of the project. The teacher can modify the project to allow that student to complete an individual project. The teacher had this issue and the only modification that was given to that student was they could complete it digitally. The students need to understand that everyone needs to be working on the project.

     

    Day One

    Instructions:

    The day of the project, the teacher need to review the rubric with the students.  The teacher needs to explain that most of the work will be completed away from the poster and later mounted. The teacher needs to explain that all four students need to collaborate and split the work of each element of the project. For example, when completing the invasive species section, all four need to research and find one invasive species and then discuss as group which two will be incorporated in the project. If the teacher fails to make this understood, then the students will split the poster and the four students will only demonstrate a small portion of the unit. Once the students have decided on their group, the students will choose a world ecosystem from a list supplied to investigate. The teacher needs to explain that the group must first make a food web in order to complete the remaining portion of the project. The students need to understand that every other part of the project pulls from the food web. The teacher can add an optional step by having the students create a land area and a water area in the ecosystem. If the teacher requires this step to be completed, then it is recommended that the students place water organisms in the water and land organisms on land. The background step took a little more time, however, it was easy to add the aquatic-terrestrial food web connection and the students could identify abiotic and biotic elements.

    Students will work through the project with parts of the project expected to be completed on a certain day otherwise the students will not complete in the given time frame. The teacher must ensure students are on task and hold the students to the amount due on each day.  The teacher included two layouts that students have used in the past that worked well as all information must be on the front of the poster. The layout is generally left open to the students as long as they have all the information on the front. The teacher also requires the students have an aquatic environment and terrestrial environment, so this is required to be on the poster in the food web section.

    Collaboration:

    The students will work with their group to choose a biome. The students will begin the project by deciding which students within the group will complete which specific elements of the project. The teacher suggests using a collaborative tool such as Google documents and share it among the group, so each student can place a picture of the organisms they located for the ecosystem. The students will be collaborating during the course of entire project.

    Research 35 Minutes:

    The students will investigate their ecosystem and find thirty different organisms that are part of the ecosystem they chose.  All the students in the group need to participate in locating the organisms.

    Create 35 Minutes:

    The group generally gives one person the job of creating the background of aquatic and terrestrial. The teacher has recommended getting green or blue poster board to eliminate some of the work. The other recommendation by the teacher is to have old green and blue crayons that the students can remove the paper and turn on the side to color a white poster board. A student did this in the class while completing the project and finished the background in fifteen minutes. The teacher has recommended this method to the students to cut the time on coloring a background.The students should have background complete, thirty organisms ready to print, and poster laid out and ready to use on the next day.

     

    Day Two

    Collaborate:

    The students will work together to assemble the food web for their world biome, making sure they have a proper ratio of producers to consumers that will allow the survival of their ecosystem. The students need to be sure they have the food web assembled with tertiary consumers on top and producers on the bottom. They need to be sure all aquatic organisms are located in the water and terrestrial organisms are located on the land. Decomposers need to be located to the side on the terrestrial and if used in aquatic also to the side. This will overlap with the research for the day.

    Research 55 Minutes

     

    Day Three

    Collaboration:

    The students need to work together to create a food chain and an energy pyramid. They must work together so the organisms are not repeated. The food chain and energy pyramid should be labeled by the end of class. This will overlap with the research for the day.

    Research 45 Minutes:  

    The students will investigate and locate two invasive species that are currently causing problems for the survival of the native species within their ecosystem. They will need to find out how they became a part of their ecosystem and if there are any measures that could be used to control or eliminate their spread within the ecosystem. The group needs to ensure that the invasive species are part of their ecosystem at the location they choose for their ecosystem.

    Collaboration 10 Minutes:

    The students need to set-up a Google document and all four group members should be investigating to find the invasive species. Each member should locate one invasive species, and the required information. The group should discuss which two organisms will fit best with the location they choose for their ecosystem.  

    The students should have the symbiosis completed today if it was not completed on day two. The students need to have also completed the food chain and energy pyramid. It is not necessary to have invasive species completed on day three.

     

    Day Four

    Collaboration 5 Minutes:

    The students will communicate with each other on the limiting factors of the group. Each group member should take a limiting factor and research. The group should create a Google document and share it in order to have collaborative space through the investigation.

    Research 50 Minutes:

    The students will investigate what will happen to the population if two limiting factors fall short of carry capacity. For example, a construction company removes thousands of acres to build a new community of houses and business.  The students will investigate how the population will respond if two limiting factors exceed carrying capacity.  The students will need to investigate what will happen to the population if a keystone species is removed through extinction. The students will need to explain how the population will respond in the ecosystem. The last part of the population section will be a primary consumer develops a disease in the species and over seventy-five percent of the population fails to survive. The students should have completed the invasive species and the population factors by the end of day four.

     

    Day Five

    Research 20 Minutes:

    The students will research how climate change is affecting their ecosystem. The students will need to choose two organisms that are at two different trophic levels and explain how climate change is affecting that organism.

    Collaborate 10 Minutes:

    The students need to discuss how climate change will change their ecosystem over time. The students need to make a prediction of a continued climate change with increasing temperatures that will change the organisms in the ecosystem.

    Collaborate 25 Minutes:

    The students will work together with the student with best hand writing labeling the twenty-five vocabulary words correctly on the food web. For example, the students might label a producer with autotroph. It is not necessary for the students to label every organism on the poster, just one example of each vocabulary word.

     

    Day Six

    Collaboration 10 Minutes:

    The students will discuss the energy flow through the ecosystem and add the arrows through the ecosystem. The teacher likes for students to make as many energy flow connections as possible. The students food web should look like a bunch of interconnected lines with arrows. The teacher must be very observant during this part of the project as some students will draw the arrows in the wrong direction. The teacher could review this at the beginning of class to help prevent this error from occurring on the students' projects.

    Collaboration 20 Minutes:

    The students will join another group, if there is another group with the same ecosystem, and pair up at this point. However, that is an ideal world and the teacher might have an odd number of groups that dont have another group with same ecosystem in class. The teacher can pair the odd groups together.  If the teacher has odd groups paired then the students will need to pick one of the two biomes.

    Research 25 Minutes:

    The students will research what kind of conservation, deforestation, poaching, and other preservation or destruction that is taking place in the ecosystem. The students will determine if the preservation or destruction is taking place due to the culture of the region. For example, the region is extremely poor with no way to make money, so they are poaching animals to provide food by consuming or selling the horns, hides or claws on the black-market.

     

    Day Seven

    Collaboration 10 Minutes:

    The students will elect a speaker for each combined group of eight. The teacher will direct this section and have each group share their findings about ecosystem preservation or destruction from day five with the class. The class will then discuss how cultural aspects affect the preservation or destruction of ecosystems.

    Communications 45 Minutes:

    The students will submit their finished posters. The posters will be hung throughout the hallway for the students to conduct a gallery walk. If the teacher is not allowed to use the hallway during class time, the teacher can conduct this part in the classroom or find a larger space that is less disruptive. For example, the teacher has used an outdoor courtyard, weather permitting, for gallery walks.

    Evaluate:

    The students will be asked to make comments using sticky notes. The comments need to be constructive and aid the group to improve the project. The comments need to target the information and not focus on layout unless it makes the information hard to locate. This is being done while students are viewing the posters.

     

    Day Eight

    Collaborate 10 Minutes:

    The original group of four will be allowed to read the comments made about their work on day seven and revise the work utilizing the suggestions.

    Evaluate 25 Minutes:

    The teacher will explain that each student will use a rubric to evaluate their own project. The teacher will quickly go back through the rubric with the students. The teacher will answer any questions the students have about using the rubric. The students will utilize the rubric and evaluate the project.

    Collaborate 15 Minutes:

    The students will discuss the four rubrics and make any corrections to the project that were found during the self-evaluation of the project.

    Completed 5 Minutes:

    The students will submit the poster they created after corrections are made from peer reviews and self-evaluation.

    Evaluate: 

    The teacher will now evaluate the work using the rubric.


    Technological Engagement

    The teacher will need to use the SMART board to provide instruction to the students on the project. The students will need access to computers with internet.


    Collecting and Documenting Evidence of Learning

    The finished poster using the rubric which is attached to the lesson.


    Student Self-Reflection and Action Steps

    The students will complete a reflection on the amount of work involved in the project and how they worked within their collaborative group. How well did the group communicate with each other? What do you think you could do different during the project?


    Feedback/Instructional Adjustments

    The students will provide peer feedback during the gallery walk. The students will then have the opportunity to view the comments and adjust their poster.


    Extended Learning Opportunities

    This is the summative evaluation of the unit with a large amount of work. Enrichment for the project is not usually necessary as the students take up to the last day to finish the project. If the teacher has a group complete the project early then the teacher should have the students complete a self-evaluation of the project. The students can ask for teacher feedback if finished early. The students can then correct their work. The teacher has found that on most ecosystems the students can make more connections on their energy flow through the food web.


    Teacher Reflection of Learning

    The students had a hard time finding a way to communicate in the beginning. The teacher finds it is best to allow students to choose their groups as these groups are comfortable with each other and will get started right away. The down side to allowing students to choose the groups is the students will sometimes get off task. The teacher found that by having daily expectation of completed work it eliminates a lot of the off task behavior.


    Summative Assessment

    The poster project.


    Formative Assessment

    The teacher will make observation and ask questions throughout the project.