Exploring Ecosytems (SHRUBs-Students Helping Restore Unique Biomes)-Day 3
Lesson 8 of 9
Objective: SWBAT identify the parts of a Mediterranean Ecosystem and describe the climate, the native plants and the native animals that live in this ecosystem.
Unit 4: Ecosystems
Lesson 6: Exploring Ecosystems- SHRUBs- Day 3
5E Lesson Planning:
I plan most of my science lessons using the BSCS 5E Lesson Model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.For a quick overview of the model, take a look at this video.
I use this lesson model because it peaks the students' interest in the beginning during the "Engage" portion and allows for the students to actively participate in the investigations throughout the subsequent steps. The “Evaluate” component of the 5E Lesson Model can be used in many ways by the teacher and by the students.
In this Unit students will learn about ecosystems and the transfer of energy through ecosystems. The lessons in the unit are primarily based on our local ecosystem- the Santa Monica Mountains. This area is known as a Mediterranean Ecosystem or Biome and we will learn about the plants, animals, climate, and human impacts on this area.
In this lesson, students will participate in 3 activities on a field trip to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This is our 2nd visit to the park as part of the SHRUBs program (Students Helping Restore Unique Biomes). This hands-on, real world experience will help support the learning we are doing in the classroom in connection to Ecosystems.
- Nature notebook
- small clipboards
- National Park provides equipment for planting
Next Generation Science Standards:
The NGSS standards that will be covered in this unit/ lesson are:
5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: This lesson aligns to the Disciplinary Core Ideas of
PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life The energy released [from] food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water). (5-PS3-1)
LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion. (secondary to 5-PS3-1) Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water. (5-LS1-1)
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems The 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 relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem. (5-LS2-1)
LS2.B: 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)
Systems and System Models
A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions. (5-LS2- 1)
Energy and Matter
Matter is transported into, out of, and within systems. (5-LS1-1)
Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects. (5-PS3-1)
Science & Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models:
Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions. Use models to describe phenomena. (5-PS3-1) Develop a model to describe phenomena. (5-LS2-1)
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Engaging in argument from evidence in 3–5 builds on K– 2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s). Support an argument with evidence, data, or a model. (5-LS1-1)
Before we go on the hike, I remind the students about the previous field trip we had to the Santa Monica Mountains. I ask them to share what they learned from our visit to Rancho Sierra Vista and I write their responses on the board. The students talk about the hike we went on where we learned about the different plant communities in the Santa Monica Mountains. We also looked at some of the native plants and their structures and the students mention the restoration activity where they got to plant native plants. Some also mention the hike and the dichotomous key activity.
I explain to them that we are continuing to work and learn about the Mediterranean ecosystem and show them the map of where the other similar ecosystem are. (insert map).
We also talk about the different plants we observed and the basic structures of the plants (roots, stems, and leaves). We will be having another lesson about plants and their structure when we talk about photosynthesis.
I also review with the students about the activity we did about the animals that live in the Santa Monica Mountains. I show them the dichotomous key we used and go over the terms carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore with them.
I also show them this video that shows the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area from above. It's a bit lengthy, but it gives the students a look at other places they can visit and explore in the park. I tell them to also look for any plant communities we have learned about and to look also for any areas that we've been to. They may also see places that they have visited.
I also show the students the map of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and remind them about what locations we have visited. The students also have their own copy of this map.
This will be our third field trip to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. During the first field trip, we did a short hike to learn about the different plant communities that make up this Mediterranean Biome, we learned about the different parts of plants, and we also learned about how to collect seeds from plants. On the second trip students learned about the different types of animals in the Santa Monica Mountains and what they eat, they learn about how to plant native plants, and they participate in a hike to review and learn more about the different plant communities in the Mediterranean Biome.
The only activity for this trip is the hike. The students are divided into 4 groups ( about 15 students each) Each group goes on a hike of the Solstice Canyon Trail in the Solstice Canyon portion of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SAMO). The hike is led by National Park Rangers, interns and volunteers. Since this is our second hike, the students know how to be prepared, but I make sure to remind them of how they need to be safe in the outdoors. The day before the hike I remind the students to be prepared for the weather by wearing appropriate clothing (light layers for cooler mornings and warmer afternoons), a hat, bringing sunscreen, water, a snack, wear appropriate shoes and bring a small backpack to carry their items in as well as their lunch.
We use a acronym called T.R.I.P. and I tell the students don't "TRIP" The T is for Ticks, R is for Rattlesnakes, I is for Insects and P is for Poison Oak. These are the most common safety issues we come across in this area.
The rangers give a safety talk to the students about staying on the trail and listening to the instructions that the rangers give. We also use a hand signal called "quiet coyote". We let the students take a restroom break if needed and divide them into their groups.
I remind the students that we will be recording our observations from the hike in our Nature Journals and that they should write or draw anything they observe on the hike. The rangers will stop and give the students opportunities to do some observations. We have made the Nature Journals ahead of time. I also give out field guides to help them observe the plants and animals in the Santa Monica Mountains.
During the hike, I want the students to look for any plants or animals that might be found in this Mediterranean Ecosystem and I want them to also look for any differences or similarities to our visit to Paramount Ranch on our previous field trip. Ranger Robert and I also ask them the question of why it's important to maintain and restore these natural areas. We stop about half way through the hike and have the students do a Timed-Pair-Share to talk about the importance of restoration.
At the end of the hike, we sit and have lunch near what is called "Tropical Terrace" which was a home that was burned in a fire many years ago.