What Are Ecosystems?

Key Question: Can you recognize and explain an ecosystem?
Time Frame: One Hour
Grade: Grade 3
Scientific Process: Communicating
Inferring
Predicting
Scientific Concept: Ecosystems
Objective: The student will be able to recognize and understand ecosystems.

TEKS:
Science TEKS Grade 3 (2) Scientific Inquiry: Field and Laboratory

  1. plan and implement descriptive investigations: ask well-defined questions, formulate hypothesis, select and use equipment and technology
  2. collect information: observe and measure
  3. analyze and interpret information to construct explanations from direct and indirect evidence

Science TEKS Grade 3 Systems (8) Living Organisms Needs- food, water, light, air, waste disposal, environment

  1. observe and describe habitats within ecosystems
  2. observe and identify organisms with similar needs that compete for resources
  3. describe environmental changes which cause organisms to thrive, become ill, or perish
  4. describe how organisms modify environment to meet their needs

Materials:
Index cards
String
Colored markers
Coat hanger
Scissors
Glue
Overhead projector
Reference books or software

Background Information:
Students will need information regarding the following concepts:

Ecosystems
Producers
Consumers
Decomposers
Predators

Engagement:
In your journal write what life would be like without insects. Share with your group and each group list common concepts expressed by group members.

Explore:
Students remain in their groups. Each group is assigned one concept of ecosystems (Producers, Consumers, Decomposers, and Predators). Each group is responsible in designing and constructing a mobile which reflects their assigned ecosystem concept.

Explanation:
Each group will share their findings with the class. Mobiles will be hung in the class.

Elaboration:
Students will construct a class bulletin board reflecting ecosystems concepts.


Evaluation: Scoresheet

GROUP SKILLS/COOPERATION

Points Characteristics
0 Student behavior interferes with group process
0 Student refuses to cooperate or make contributions to the group
1 Student cooperates, but does not contribute to the group
2 Student cooperates and makes at least one measurable contribution to the group
3 Student consistently cooperates and makes several significant contributions to the group

PARTICIPATING

Points Characteristics
0 Does not participate
1 Participates inappropriately for the assigned task
2 Participates appropriately for the assigned task

OBSERVING

Points Characteristics
0 Fails to make observations
1 Makes one observation
2 Makes two or more observations
3 Makes two or more observations and supports with evidence

Connections:
Drama- Act out what interaction might occur if you were a predator in the ecosystem

Technology/Careers- Have students research various careers related to the study of ecosystems

References:

Engagement and Explore Activities Adapted from SCIS 3, Delta Education (1993), Chapter 5, "Inventing the Concept of Ecosystems"


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