ALEX Lesson Plan

     

The Transfer of Energy in Ecosystems 

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Virginia Warren
System: Mobile County
School: Breitling Elementary School
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34502

Title:

The Transfer of Energy in Ecosystems 

Overview/Annotation:

In this lesson, students will use technology to construct a model of a balanced ecosystem that shows how energy cycles from one organism to the next by completing research and writing short passages about their ecosystem. Students will then compare their balanced model ecosystem and describe a change or introduce an invasive species to show how the balance of their model ecosystem will change to adapt. As students are designing their model they will also describe the relationships of the components that make up an ecosystem and causes/effects of unbalanced ecosystems. 

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
11 ) Create a model to illustrate the transfer of matter among producers; consumers, including scavengers and decomposers; and the environment.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models
Disciplinary Core Idea: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Construct and use models to illustrate the transfer of matter among producers; consumers, including scavengers and decomposers; and the environment.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Model
  • Transfer
  • Matter
  • Producer
  • Consumer
  • Decomposer
  • Environment
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • 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.
  • 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, or solid) back into the environment.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Develop a model to describe a phenomenon that includes the movement of matter within an ecosystem, identifying the relevant components such as matter, plants, animals, decomposers, and environment.
  • Describe the relationships among components that are relevant for describing the phenomenon, including the relationships in the system between organisms that consume other organisms, including the following:
    • Animals that consume other animals.
    • Animals that consume plants.
    • Organisms that consume dead plants and animals.
    • The movement of matter between organisms during consumption.
  • Use the model to describe the following:
    • The cycling of matter in the system between plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
    • How interactions in the system of plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment allow multiple species to meet their needs.
    • That newly introduced species can affect the balance of interactions in a system (e.g., a new animal that has no predators consumes much of another organism's food within the ecosystem).
    • That changing an aspect (e.g., organisms or environment) of the ecosystem will affect other aspects of the ecosystem.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • A system can be described in terms of its components, like producers, consumers, and the environment, and their interactions, like the cycling of matter.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Dynamics of Ecosystems

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
L4.3: Organisms interact and are interdependent in various ways, including providing food and shelter to one another. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs are met. Some interactions are beneficial; others are detrimental to the organism and other organisms.



Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.5.11- Using a given model, identify a missing part of a simple food chain.


Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The student will construct a model of a balanced ecosystem that shows how energy cycles in an ecosystem.

The student will use their model to describe the relationships of the components that make up an ecosystem. 

The students will use their balanced ecosystem model to describe an ecosystem change or introduce an invasive species to show how the balance of their model ecosystem will change. 

The student will evaluate causes and effects of unbalanced ecosystems. 

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Technology Resources Needed:

Background/Preparation:

This lesson is intended to be a culminating project activity to allow the student to demonstrate what they have learned about the interactions of the components in an ecosystem. As the majority of this lesson will be completed by the student, the teacher needs to make sure students have a firm understanding of the flow of energy in an ecosystem and how the components of an ecosystem work with each other before allowing students to complete this project. 

Major Concepts:

  1. Producers (organisms that produce or make their own food)
  2. Consumers (organisms that eat other organisms for energy)
  3. Herbivores (consumers that eat only producers/plants)
  4. Carnivore (consumers that eat only other consumers/meat)
  5. Omnivores (consumers that eat both plants and other consumers/meat)
  6. Scavenger (consumers that eat dead organisms)
  7. Decomposers (an organism that breaks down nutrients from dead or decaying organisms and returns (recycles) the nutrients back to the soil)
  8. Matter (energy) is transferred between organisms during consumption.
  9. Newly introduced species can affect the balance of interactions in a system, as well affect other aspects of the ecosystem.  

**It would be helpful to have previously assigned ecosystems to students so that you don't have to do that when you are discussing the directions. 

  • Tropical Rain Forest
  • Temperate Forest
  • Prairie Grasslands
  • Savanna Grasslands
  • Desert
  • Tundra
  • Freshwater
  • Marine 

***The Unpacked Standards on the Alabama Insight Tool for this content standard may be helpful to understand the type of model students need to produce. 

***The Next Generation Science Standards Evidence Statements may also be helpful to see what the students need to be able to produce. 

  Procedures/Activities: 

I suggest breaking this project down into four, 30-45 minute lessons. After students begin working on their project the teacher should facilitate and guide students in their research and model creation without giving too much information away. 

Day 1

  1. Open the lesson by showing the LS2B Cycles of Matter & Energy Transfer in Ecosystems Bozeman Science Video.  
  2. After the discussion, pass out the project directions handout called "Ecosystem Encyclopedia Project Directions" (attached) to thoroughly explain the project directions and expectations to the students.
  3. Also, review the grading rubric that you created with students so that they know how you will be grading their Ecosystem Model project. 
  4. Allow students to begin researching and working on their model project. 
  5. If students are using computers to complete their model project be sure to remind them to save their work. Be very specific when telling them how/where to save.  

Day 2

  1. Open the lesson by allowing the students to refresh their memory of the parts and the flow of energy in an ecosystem. Use the National Geographic African Savanna Ecosystem website to have a class discussion about the parts of an ecosystem (producers, consumers, decomposers, and scavengers). 
  2. Students should continue working on their ecosystem project.

Day 3

  1. Students should be able to continue their project.

Day 4 and 5 (Optional: you could have one or two students present their project over the next few days so that you aren't using too much class time. 

  1. Students will be given no more than 5 minutes to explain and present their Model Ecosystem project.
  2. During the presentation, students will need to describe the relationships among the components of their ecosystem, how energy is cycled in their ecosystem, and how changing an aspect of the balanced ecosystem made it unbalanced. 
  3. The presentation could be part of their grade on the rubric. 


Attachments:
**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.
  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

The example rubrics in the attached Ecosystem-Encyclopedia-Research-Project-Directions may be used to assess the following.The student will construct a model of a balanced ecosystem that shows how energy cycles in an ecosystem.

The student constructed a model of a balanced ecosystem that shows how energy cycles in an ecosystem.

The student used the model to describe the relationships of the components that make up an ecosystem. 

The students used the balanced ecosystem model to describe an ecosystem change or introduce an invasive species to show how the balance of the model ecosystem will change. 

The student evaluated causes and effects of unbalanced ecosystems. 

There should also be a presentation rubric made for this project if you chose that option.

Acceleration:

Students who need extension activities could:

  • create a slide in the model presentation that explains how to re-balance their ecosystem model after an invasive species or environmental change was introduced
  • complete the sections of the original project that you chose to remove from the requirements  
  • help another student in need of assistance

Intervention:

  • For students that are not capable of completing research in a timely manner or because of a reading comprehension issue, the teacher may want to pre-select a library book that is on their reading level for them to use in their to research.
  • Certain students may also need extra time in completing their model project. 
  • Have a pre-presentation planning session with lower leveled students to help them choose what is most important to mention when they present their model project. (Make flash card notes to help them remember what they want to describe.) 

  


View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.