Exploring Ecosystems December 8,2009
Volume 1, Issue 4
More About the Exploring Ecosystems Unit
In this unit, students will be exploring different aspects of
each ecosystem. The plants and animals that are found in a
particular location are referred to as an ecosystem. These plants
and animals depend on each other to survive. Any kind of
disruption to an ecosystem can be disastrous to all the
organisms within the ecosystem. Along with class activities,
students will be asked to explore the ecosystem in which they
Questions we will be answering
• What are some problems ecosystems are facing?
12/ 9 –
Field Trip We will try to come up with some ideas/ solutions on
Permission how to improve the problems.
• How are the ecosystems similar? How are they
Field trip to
Dauphin • How many kinds of ecosystems are there?
12/ 28 –
Speaker, Lisa Benefits of the Unit
Balazs • Students will meet state standards and course objectives
12/ 30 – • Students will get a hands on look at what makes up an ecosystem
Last day for • Students will explore their own ecosystem
Projects • Students will use critical thinking skills and their knowledge of
ecosystems to address the problems facing ecosystems
1/1 – • Students will gain awareness of how humans alter the physical
Page 2 of 4 Exciting Ecosystems
Project Based Learning Q & A
Q: What is Project Based Learning?
A: Project Based Learning (PBL) is an
instructional approach, which involves specific
learning activities designed to reflect “real world”
Q: Will students be meeting the objectives and
standards for this course if PBL is employed?
A: Yes, students will be learning the same
information and will be meeting the same
standards and objectives. They will also be
relating the topic of study to real world situations.
Q: Will the projects take valuable time away from
other topics of study?
A: No, students will spend the same amount of
time on this topic as they have on other topics.
Students will not receive written homework on
this topic. Instead, I expect students to use this Unit Objectives
time to work on their projects. • Students will be able to
identify specific ecosystems
when given a list of plants
and/or animals that live there
• Students will be able to list
and describe the
State Standards characteristics and features of
• Identify components of various each ecosystem
• Students will gain an
• Identify ways in which humans alter the understanding of the impact
physical environment humans can have on the
These and other state standards can be found environment
Exciting Ecosystems Page 3 of 4
Student Project Guidelines and Details
To better understand the components of an ecosystem, students will be exploring
their own ecosystems.
-Small gardening tools (optional)
-Magnifying glass (will be provided)
-Thermometer (will be provided)
- Popsicle sticks (will be provided)
- Locate a small patch of land to examine
- Use string to partition a segment
- Record observations about your ecosystem. Include all living and non-living
- Record temperatures in your ecosystem
- Dig up a small patch of turf. Look at the soil. What is beneath the surface?
- Consider the variety of living and non-living things in your ecosystem.
Which was the largest population?
- How are the survival needs being met in your ecosystem? (Air, food, water,
- What population could not survive in your ecosystem?
- Write a one page paper describing your ecosystem. In this paper, be sure to
answer all of the questions listed in the conclusions section.
- Illustrate a picture of your ecosystem. Label any identified organisms.
*I am aware that some students may have allergies which may limit their ability to
do this project. I will model a sample Exploring Ecosystems project in class on
the 12th. Students can use the information gathered from the demonstration to
complete their project.
Exciting Ecosystems Page 4 of 4
What is the Role of the Student?
Students are expected to complete and submit the assigned project on or
before the due date. Students should do the project independently. They may
use class notes and their textbook as references. It is the student’s
responsibility to ask any questions about the project. Students can ask the
teacher for guidance. Students who check out materials from the classroom
are responsible for them. If the materials are not returned in the same
condition they were received, students may be charged for their replacement.
What is the Role of the Teacher?
It is Ms. Morris’ job to make sure students and parents understand project
requirements. The project will be explained and a copy of the project
guidelines and details will be distributed and sent home with each student at
least two weeks before the deadline. Ms. Morris will help direct and guide
students who need extra help on the project. Extra help will be provided up
until one day before the project is due.
What is the Role of the Parent?
Parents are expected to help facilitate the project. Parents can help direct
students, but should not complete the project for their children. If a parent
completes the project for their child, that student may receive a failing grade.
Parents are encouraged to remind students to work on the project.
To receive more information about our class,
please visit the following sites.
Teacher: Ms. Haley Morris
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://hmorris2007.livejournal.com
Twitter: hmorris2007 http://hmorris2007.webs.com