In this problem-based learning experience, students collect data in the field. Students go to a pond ecosystem to experience biotic and abiotic factors in a real-world, authentic setting. These factors are important to study because biotic and abiotic factors interact to create a balance in the environment and their relationship to each other is important.
This is an important opportunity to discuss the Cross Cutting Concept, cause and effect. Biotic and Abiotic factors in an ecosystem affect each other and biotic or living things depend on abiotic factors. For example, fish (biotic) depend on oxygen in the water (abiotic). Students are investigating and explaining this causal relationship.
The focus of this lesson is on four science specific vocabulary terms: biotic, abiotic, deciduous, and coniferous. In the Day 2 pond experience, students focus their note taking using these four terms.
As students collect data, I want them to understand that both types of factors affect life equally. Students collect water temperature, air temperature, and weather data and make anecdotal observations about biotic and abiotic factors in the pond ecosystem.
What are some biotic and abiotic factors in the pond ecosystem?
I ask students to recap biotic and abiotic factors at the pond ecosystem. I want them to record a list of both factors in their science journal (notebook). They could also draw pictures or write questions about these factors.
Some student answers include: