Life in the Big City- Can the Mountain Lion Survive?
Lesson 9 of 9
Objective: SWBAT Determine what factors have affected the lives of mountain lions living in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and what we can do to help keep them there.
Unit 4: Ecosystems
Lesson 10: Life in the Big City- Can the Mountain Lion Survive?
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.
A great resource for lesson plan frameworks and explanations is the Community Resources for Science. The 5E Lesson Template and Planning Prompts come from this website.
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 learn about the largest carnivore in the Santa Monica Mountains and what we have done to change its ecosystem.
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)
To engage the students in the lesson I will show them an image of a Mountain Lion that is affected by notoedric mange.
This particular mountain lion has been recently made famous by having several of his images published in National Geographic magazine. He also lives in the middle of Los Angeles in Griffith Park and is the only know mountain lion to have lived there in several years.
I will tell them to write down some observations they might have about the image and for them to write down any questions they may have. I then ask them to share some of their thoughts and observations about this creature and I give them some background about the mountain lion.
Here are some questions that the students asked about P22:
After giving the students more information about the mountain lion (and re-assuring them that he is now healthy) I tell them that I want them to do some research on them and I give the students an opportunity to find out what has happened to the mountain lion to cause his condition. I will guide them with a list of resources and have each group create a question or statement about why the mountain lion is sick. They may also discover some other ways that humans have impacted the lives of mountain lions and will be encouraged to share these also.
I give each student a copy of theMountain Lion Research Notes and have them also use their Science Notebooks (spiral notebook) so this would be the tool I would have them use to record their findings, questions, and other information. They would copy the resources and initial questions on the left side of their notebooks and write their observations, questions. draw pictures or write other questions on the right side of their notebook.
This lesson aligns to the NGSS 5-ESS3- Earth and Human Activity. The goal is for the students to understand the human impact on the lives of mountain lions in the urban and suburban area of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (and in other parts of the United States). The students will research the ways that scientists have been using their findings to protect the mountain lion habitats as well as to create other ideas for helping them. Specifically, the students should be able to connect the use of rat poison (anticoagulent rodenticide) with the disease that has affected mountain lions. They should also become aware of the habitat fragmentation that has occurred for mountain lions that are living close to human developments.
I use the Prezi to answer any questions that students may have about their research and give them more information if needed.
I also show the students and give them a copy of this graphic: rodenticide impacts which shows how poisons get into the food chains and food webs of the local wildlife.
This will be the opportunity for students to share their findings and research and to continue to answer any questions they still may have. I encourage the students to come up with some solutions to the problem that P22 faces. I tell them that they should write some ideas in their Science Notebooks and that we can work together to make more people aware of how their actions affect the ecosystems around them.
If possible, I would also consider bringing in a wildlife biologist from the National Park to also answer any questions they may have. (Which may make the lesson longer).