Day Two of Plaid Pete Gets Decomposed!
Lesson 14 of 20
Objective: SWBAT describe the conditions necessary for a healthy ecosystem.
This is Day Two of a Two Day Lesson. Click here for Day One of Plaid Pete Gets Decomposed.
On Day One of this investigation, students engaged in a guided exploration where they played a food chain game and constructed food webs to explore how matter is transferred through ecosystems. On this second day, students will further their understanding of The Energy Cycle in ecosystems, and explore what happens when limiting factors are introduced that result in healthy ecosystems becoming out of balance.
Connection to The Next Generation Science Standards
In this investigation, students continue the work that will lead them to understand the Disciplinary Core Idea of Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems - that 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 a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of the ecosystem. (5-LS2-1); 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, or solid) back into the environment. (5-LS2-1) and the Crosscutting Concept of Systems and System Models - A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions (5-LS2-1).
Please Note: The Lexile Level for Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems - Lab Scenario Sheet Lesson 13 is 870 (5th Grade Range is 740 - 1010).
The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 10 minutes.
Preparation time for first time construction of the following is approximately 20 minutes.
Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems - Characteristics of Living Things Posters - Lesson 2 ; Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems - Characteristics of Living Things Poster Labels
One copy for each student of Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters In Ecosystems - Lab Sheet Lesson 14
One paper copy for each student of Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems - Word Wall Cards Lesson 14
One copy for team of one of the following: Forest Biome Food Chain Cards; Grasslands Biome Food Chain Cards; Desert Biome Food Chain Cards; Tundra Biome Food Chain Cards; and Aquatic Biome Food Chain Cards (Prepared for yesterday's lesson)
One copy for each team of Food Chains Fact Cards (Prepared for yesterday's lesson)
One copy for each team of Rules - Decomposer Prepared for yesterday's lesson)
One paper copy for each student of Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems - Word Wall Cards Lesson 14
One copy for each student of
One copy for team of one of the following: Forest Biome Food Chain Cards; Grasslands Biome Food Chain Cards; Desert Biome Food Chain Cards; Tundra Biome Food Chain Cards; and Aquatic Biome Food Chain Cards
One copy for each team of Food Chains Fact Cards
One copy for each team of Rules - Decomposer
One copy for each student of Plaid Pete is Perplexed - Lesson 13 Check-Up
Focus & Motivation
Discuss "Do Now" Activity
This morning, I handed out the Plaid Pete is Perplexed - Lesson 13 Check-Up as the "Do Now" activity. Students completed this when they first arrived and began their day. Because these were such new concepts, particularly the types of energy transfers, I allowed my students to complete these together in their teams. This is one example of a student's work.
All of my students have done well with this, but I know that is because I have allowed them to complete this in their teams. This is a very difficult concept, and I have no illusions that a good majority of my class will understand this! They will receive additional opportunities for practice.
I tell my students, "This is a great reminder about where we left off yesterday - ecosystems are dependent on the energy cycle, and each of the components are an important part of the cycle."
Introduce Task - Decomposer Game (with "Discrepant Event")
I tell them that they will have another opportunity to play Decomposer!, but that this time, they will be working with a different ecosystem than they worked with yesterday. My students think that I just want them to be familiar with different ecosystems. What they don't know is that I have arranged a "discrepant event."
I have taken out half of the producer cards from each set. Each set of biome cards contains 8 producer cards, and I have removed 4 from each set.
I again pass out a Food Chains Fact Cards to each of my teams. I pass out the corresponding Forest Biome Food Chain Cards; Grasslands Biome Food Chain Cards; Desert Biome Food Chain Cards; Tundra Biome Food Chain Cards, and Aquatic Biome Food Chain Cards (One set per team). I make sure I pass out a different set to each team than I gave them yesterday. I then pass out Rules - Decomposer in case they have forgotten.
Students Experience A Discrepant Event
Students begin playing Decomposer - they deal the cards and begin to make food chain matches. It takes a bit for my students to notice that something is different today - but finally someone catches on. My students are starting to moan and groan that they can't make any food chains! That's when I step in, and I ask who notices there is a problem? They realize that nobody can win the game because there are not enough producer cards to make food chain matches.
At first, I think they are a little frustrated with me. I tell them though that I created this experience to get them thinking.
I ask them to extend this experience to real life ecosystems - "What happens when there aren't enough plants or producers in an ecosystem?" I ask my students to turn and talk in their teams and respond to this question. Students are able to correctly respond that without plants or producers, the other living organisms within an ecosystem will die - and end up being fodder for the decomposers.
I extend that discussion and ask my students, "Which would be worse - if a quaternary consumer was permanently removed from a food chain, or a producer was removed? At first, my students all agree that the producers are more important. However, dissenting opinions begin to arise that show they are now thinking about the interconnectedness of all living things within an ecosystem!
I tell my students to get ready for some more information from Mia and her friend R.J., because we are going to watch a Study Jams Video from Scholastic that has additional information.
Since I began with the discrepant event, I waited until this segment to introduce the learning objectives.
Learning Objective & Success Criteria
Note: Consistent with the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, I am now including a language objective with each lesson. These objectives were derived from the Washington State ELP Standards Frameworks that are correlated with the CCSS and the NGSS.
I share the learning objective and success criteria:
Learning Objective: I can describe the conditions necessary for a healthy ecosystem.
Language Objective: I build on the ideas of others adding relevant information and evidence. [ELP.4-5.2]
Success Criteria: I can complete my lab sheet that includes key points, and participate in a class discussion.
Introduce the Video
I tell my students that as they are viewing the movie, I have a "Listening Guide" that will help them focus on the important points in the video. I tell them to listen carefully and try and fill in the blanks as they are watching the video. I pass out a copy of Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters In Ecosystems Lab Sheet - Lesson 14 to each student. Then I play Scholastic Study Jams Video: Population Growth.
After we finish viewing the video, I give my students a few moments to discuss the Listening Guide in their teams, and then we review them as a class. I use these concepts as talking points, and using the Food Chains Fact Cards pose the following questions:
- What would happen if we removed a primary consumer from a food web?
- How about if we removed a tertiary or quaternary consumer - one of the animals at the top of the food chain - what would the potential effects be on an ecosystem?
- What would happen in this ecosystem if one of the decomposers became extinct? How would the food web be affected then?
- What would happen if a new species was introduced to an ecosystem?
My students have very thoughtful responses to these questions. Some students remark that they had not realized that this was so complicated. I explain that there is a very delicate balance in nature and it is something that we always need to keep in mind. I believe my students walk away from this lesson with a better appreciation for the natural world around them.
We get out our Science Notebooks and get ready to add some new vocabulary!
Consistent with the 5E Model for Science Instruction, I have provided a hands-on opportunity before introducing vocabulary.
I present the words from the Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems - Word Wall Cards Lesson 14 using the following instructional routine:
- Say the word to students.
- Ask students to repeat the word at least 5 times. For example, I will say, "Say it to the window. Say it to my hand. Say it to the door. Say it to the ceiling."
- I say the word in context. For example, I will say, " The position the plants were placed in was one of the controlled variables in the video."
- I will then randomly call on a student to use the word in a sentence, giving successive prompts to assist them, if needed.
I use the following routine to have students write these words into their Science Notebooks:
After introducing the words, I demonstrate for students how to make a three column table with rows for each of the eight vocabulary words. I model for them in my own Science Notebook how to write the word in the first box, a non-linguistic (e.g. picture) representation of the word in the second box, and work with the class to generate an example sentence for the first word in the third box. Students cut out their copies of the cards and place in the envelope, which they glue on the page behind their table. They will finish sentences for the remaining seven words either for homework, or for seat-work later. A completed notebook will look like this Example
Reflection & Closure
My students are getting excited to begin the process of building their ecosystems in a jar. I ask them to turn back to the Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters In Ecosystems Lab Scenario Sheet - Lesson 4 that contains the list of required components. We go through each item on the list, and students agree that we are almost ready - almost. We still need to learn about The Carbon Cycle.
I tell them - that is tomorrow's lesson - the end is near!