Reflection: Pacing Intro to Ecology - Section 1: Introduction


Looking at the layout of this unit, it can seem as though there the balance between direct instruction, lecture/discussion lessons and more hands-on, inquiry based lessons is skewed in favor of the former.  While I stand by my belief that lecture/discussion lessons are terrific opportunities to teach content, check for understanding, and pose critical thinking problems, they can get monotonous (for us teachers as well as the students) if that's the only kind of lesson you're teaching. 

There are a few lessons in this unit that are of the hands-on, inquiry type of lesson (who are the creatures in your neighborhood?, of moths and sloths, and a walk through the chaparral), but the majority are of the direct instruction model.  Looking back on this now, I had to stop and ask myself, "Did I really subject my students to so many of these lessons without a break?".  The answer is no.  As this unit follows the modeling human impact project at the end of the previous unit, that project was still an ongoing concern during this unit. 

In light of this, please keep in mind as you look through the lessons in this unit that, in almost all cases, students were given 20-30 minutes of class time to work with their ecocolumns collecting and recording data.  Furthermore, the ecology content covered in this unit served to give students the vocabulary to more accurately describe and understand what was happening in their ecocolumns.  

To summarize, a long term project can serve as a good "hands on" activity to augment a content-heavy unit.

  Breaking up the monotony of too many lessons of the same type
  Pacing: Breaking up the monotony of too many lessons of the same type
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Intro to Ecology

Unit 3: Ecology
Lesson 1 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to name and describe the different levels of ecological organization and the functional roles of the three broad niches (producers, consumers, and decomposers).

Big Idea: One of the most important aspects of understanding the environment is understanding ecology, or the relationships between organisms and their environment.

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  60 minutes
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