Communities & Ecosystems (Day# 3 of 4)

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Students will understand the structure of ecosystems and how their members interact in complex ways in order to survive.

Big Idea

All living organisms and the environment are interconnected.

Learner Goals

Note: I recommend that you first check out this resource in order to get the most out of this lesson!

In high school I took several drafting classes and, for a while, I had hoped to become an architect. With respect to planning instruction and teaching, I feel that I can still live out the detailed approach to building something intricate and complex even though the product is a lesson rather than a certain "built environment".

The lesson-planning document that I uploaded to this section is a comprehensive overview of how I approach lesson planning. This template includes the "Big Three" aspects of the NGSS standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science Practices. Of course, there are many other worthy learning goals, skills, instructional strategies, and assessments that can be integrated into a class session. I don't feel compelled to check every box but, rather, use it as a guide to consider various options and tailor the lesson in light of these.

With regard to this particular lesson...

I hope you get some value from my work! Please find the more intricate details of this lesson plan there.

Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resistance/Food chains & food webs (HS-LS2-2 & HS-LS2-6)

Social Interactions and Group Behavior/Group behavior and increased chances of survival (HS-LS2-8)

Adaptation/Relationship between human use of natural resources and impacts on biodiversity (HS-LS4-6)

Organization for Matter and Energy/ Flow of energy in Organisms, cell respiration, photosynthesis, and metabolism (HS-LS1-5-7)

Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text (CCSS-ELA RST.9-10.2)

In sum, I want my students to understand the structure of ecosystems and how their members interact in complex ways in order to survive. Furthermore, students will see multiple ways in which humans are affected by their environment and how, reciprocally, humans impact the environment. Knowing this, they can begin to consider wise ways to steward the amazing resources we have at our fingertips!

Anticipatory Set ("Hook")

10 minutes

Please click here to return to the previous lesson in the series.

Teaching Challenge: How do I develop a classroom culture where students engage in meaningful and productive scientific discourse with peers?

Turn & Talk- “Discuss the cause(s) and effect(s) of eutrophication.”

Here are some of the necessary elements that I have put into play to generate higher level kinds of student talk:

1. Team concept with clearly defined roles and responsibilities: In this case, the spokesperson is the face of the team therefore during preliminary discussions, it is the team's job to help him or her look prepared and knowledgeable.

2. Reliance on a direct instruction strategy that is heavy laden with discussion and case studies. In other words, my lectures are typically conversational wherein I query many students at random each lecture period to give students different opportunities to share their questions, insights, conclusions, and background knowledge.

3. Emphasis on key academic vocabulary: In this prompt, students need to know eutrophication; food chains & food webs; nutrients and nutrient loading; algae blooms; hypoxia or anoxia; decomposition

4. Understanding cause and effect relationships: An overabundance of nitrates and phosphates (in the presence of sunlight) causes algae population bloom. This outpaces normal consumption by primary consumers. The excess algae, when dead, give rise to a bloom of aerobic bacteria which overconsume oxygen supplies leading to widespread marine organism kills.


Instructional Input/Student Activities

35 minutes

1. Lecture Main Idea #3-Energy Flow


With this lecture series, I want to use a variety of case studies as discussion points with my students. Yes, they do take notes but I am wary to have my voice be the lone one in class. By using discussion, I can draw out some great comments and questions. And let's face it, we remember stories very vividly!

-Points of Emphasis:

-Food webs (slides 46-50)

-Trophic structure (slides 51-52)

-Energy Supply (AKA Ten Percent Rule) (slides 53-55)


*As a side note, whenever I lecture in class, there is a specific format for students to follow; that is Cornell Notes. Please link to this lesson for a more thorough explanation of my expectations.

Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?

5 minutes

3-2-1 Prompt: Students are directed to complete the following exit task for the day:

(3) List three important details or concepts that you learned from today's lesson.

(2) List two questions for which you need clarification or a deeper explanation.

(1) Describe how your thoughts or actions may have changed as a result of today's lesson. For example, will you look to nature through a different lens knowing what you do now?

Please click here to advance to the next lesson in this series.

Lesson Extension & Follow-Up Activities

To underscore the importance of academic vocabulary, I create and regularly use the resource in my classroom. Tonight's homework is to self-study terms #11-20 for this unit's vocabulary list.