Ecosystems By Alyssa Lambert EDUC 357.002 11/27/2009
Social Studies Standard 3: Geography Indicator 3.3.7: Describe how climate and the physical characteristics of a region affect the vegetation and animal life living there. Taken from: http://dc.doe.in.gov/Standards/AcademicStandards/StandardSearch.aspx Link to activity: http://www.indianastandardsresources.org/files/soc/ss_3_3_5.pdf
What is an ecosystem? Definition: a system formed by living things interacting with their physical environment. Talk about the ecosystem with students. What is in the ecosystems around the school? What about the ecosystems around their homes? What about ecosystems in Florida or Alaska? Make a list on the board of all the things the students name. Direct students to categorize the items they named into groups.
The parts of an ecosystem Talk about the parts of an ecosystem: climate, vegetation, animal life. Climate—the average weather in a region over a long period of time. Vegetation—plants growing in a particular place. Animal life—all the animals living in a particular place. Talk about how all three parts work together to make up the ecosystem. We need all parts for the ecosystem to exist the way it does.
Our ecosystem Introduce the name of the ecosystem we live in: temperate deciduous forest. Deciduous—trees and shrubs that shed their leaves in the fall. Temperate—a climate that has a range of temperatures from cold to hot, but not too extreme. Read the handout Temperate Deciduous forest on the overhead as a class. Discuss the items we wrote on the board as a class and decide which items fit the characteristics to live in our ecosystem.
Class Activity A poster board would be cut into three pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces would be labeled climate, vegetation, and animal life. The class would be divided into three groups and each group will receive a piece of the puzzle. Students will have a variety of magazines, calendars, brochures, etc. to give images from. During the activity the teach should be walking around the groups and asking questions about the ecosystem we live in to help reinforce the information they learned from the information sheet read.
Climate Group The climate group’s job is to make a collage on their puzzle piece of all the different seasons we experience in the temperate deciduous forest ecosystem. Images need to reflect how the seasons truly look here. Students can use a variety of magazines.
Vegetation Group The vegetation group’s job is to make a collage on their puzzle piece of all the vegetation they see in the temperate deciduous forest ecosystem. Encourage students to show different images of how the vegetation looks throughout the year. Example: summer trees verses winter trees.
Animal Life Group The animal life group’s job is to make a collage of all the different animal life found in the temperate deciduous forest ecosystem. Remind students of the characteristics the animals need to live here. Animal have to be able to adapt and live through all the seasons.
Wrapping up the activity After all puzzle pieces have been completed, the group will present their piece to the rest of the class. Explain the images they used. Why did they use the images that they did? After all groups have presented their piece, hang the pieces up so they fit together. Explain again how all pieces of the ecosystem fit together. All pieces are needed for the ecosystem to work the way it does.
Lesson Extension We will address the other ecosystems in science and social studies. Students will be put into groups and given an ecosystem to study. Books will be provided and the internet. Students can research in the books or on the internet during allotted computer lab time. Students will make a poster size picture of their ecosystem that are studying. They can use magazines, markers, crayons, rocks, string, etc. to make their pictures. They will also present their findings and information to the class about their ecosystem while they present their picture.
Books for researching These are a few examples of books I would have in the classroom for the students to use while researching. 1000 Facts on Planet Earth by John Farndon Ecosystems by Stephen Currie Rain Forests by Mary and Will Osborne I Wonder Why the Sea is Salty by Anita Ganeri
Resources Websites: http://www.indianastandardsresources.org/files/soc/ss_3_3_5.pdf http://dc.doe.in.gov/Standards/AcademicStandards/StandardSearch.aspx Books: Farndon, John. (2003). 1000 Facts on Planet Earth. Barnes and Nobles. Currie, Stephen. (2009). Ecosystems. Cherry Lake. Osborne, Mary and Will. (2001). Rain Forests: A Nonfiction Companion to Afternoon on the Amazon. Random House. Ganeri, Anita. (2003.) I Wonder Why the Sea is Salty. Kingfisher.