Communities & Ecosystems (Day# 1 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

Teaching Challenge: How can I develop my students' ability to apply unifying ideas to make connections across science content?

KWL: Prompt#1- Analyzing the pros and cons of hog farms. Students will complete the K, W, and, L portions of the handout.

The topic is "Farming". I teach in a urban/suburban environment and I am pretty sure that my students don't have personal experience farming. That said, farms provide a great case study to anchor the concepts of this lesson series.

The Related Assignment or Activity is called "NC Rising Tide".

Students will complete the W column and then watch this farming video and complete the L column.

The unifying concepts of matter and energy pervade all facets of life science. Consider the inputs and outputs of cells and the biomolecules created from nutrients. Imagine how life would likely not exist were it not for the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration forming the two fundamental and mutually interdependent chemical reactions. Furthermore, how would the diversity and abundance of species be impacted by altered distribution of nutrients in the various biogeochemical cycles?

Instructional Input/Student Activities

35 minutes

1. Blueberry Blues "EOC Scenario": As part of my state's end-of-course exam, students must master eight short answer prompts. (I haven't included it here but can be found at this link.)

2. Lecture Main Idea #1-Organism Interactions

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:

Competitive exclusion (slides 13-15)

Keystone predators (slides 18-22)

Symbiosis (slides 23-27)


*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

KWL Review: I randomly call on students to recall something that they either knew, wanted to know, or learned from today's hog farm scenario.

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

Lesson Extension & Follow-Up Activities

Students will complete the EOC practice prompt for homework if need be.