Lesson: Introducing biotic and abiotic factors

David Kujawski Bird Middle East Walpole, MA
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Lesson Objective

YWBAT: 1)Identify and explain the difference between living and non-living things 2)Define biotic, abiotic and ecology

Lesson Plan


1)      DO NOW: What do the words typical and atypical mean to you?  Define them in your own words.

2)      Review DO NOW: typical means something that always happens and is expected.  Atypical is something that is unexpected or doesn’t happen often.  

3)      Ask students if they’ve ever heard of biology.  Define biology as the study of life.

4)      Ask students what the definition of biotic might be, knowing what they know about biology.  Define biotic: Living parts of an ecosystem.

5)      Then ask what they might think the definition of abiotic is.  Emphasize the definition of atypical as the opposite of typical.  Define abiotic: The nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

6)      Activity: Give students (Student worksheet 1) and have them complete it with their partner.  Review.

7)      Next, have students try to come up with a definition for ecology.  Reiterate the definition of biology as the study of life.  State: Now that you know the definitions of biotic and abiotic, try to develop a definition for ecology.  Circulate the room to check in on student progress.  Guide as needed.

8)      Have several partner groups share their definitions.  As one group shares their definition, ask other groups to raise their hands if there definition is similar or identical to one just shared.  This will cut down on groups sharing the same definition over and over again.

9)      Finally, define ecology with the class as: The study of the relationship between (or interconnectedness of) living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) things in an ecosystem.  Reassure students that they will learn the definition of ecosystem during tomorrow’s lesson. 

10)   Activity 2: Have students pick a location that is familiar to them, like their backyard, and have them draw a picture of at least 3 biotic and 3 abiotic things.  They should not label the items.  They will color and finish the picture tonight for homework.  Tomorrow, they will share their picture with the class and students will try to identify the living and nonliving things.

11)   Formative assessment: End of the class review of biotic and abiotic.  Use the (Check for understanding PowerPoint).


Lesson Reflection:

This lesson is very effective at introducing biotic and abiotic.  Students enjoy the drawing activity.

Lesson Resources

Checking for understanding biotic and abiotic   Assessment
Student worksheet 1   Classwork
Flipped video that covers vocab and checks for student understanding Homework


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