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Meg Klingelhofer Subject: Science Lesson On: Land Ecosystems: Relationships and Human Impacts Date/Time to be Implemented: Thursday

, 11/21 at 1:45 Grade Level: 5th, at Penn Alexander School Anticipated Time: 45 minutes Thinking about Goals I wanted to find a way to connect something that fifth graders learn, according to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), with a geography unit that the class had recently completed. The geography unit included subjects such as using a topography map to describe elevation and to find river systems. This idea led me to looking into ecosystems because I wanted to expand upon study of different environments in the United States without being too redundant or repeating something that they learned last year. I had originally thought about doing a lesson on plate tectonics or an erosion lesson, but both of these subjects are covered in fourth grade. I decided, therefore, to look under the same category (“Earth’s Systems”) for fifth grade and found that water is a focus, but I really wanted to focus on ecosystems. I did searches for different ecosystems, specifically mountainous ecosystems, to connect with a lesson that I observed on mountains and differences in elevation. This subject does not match any of the standards in the NGSS, so I changed my focus to different organisms that make up an ecosystem, thereby satisfying LS2.A. This lesson focuses on components of a food web, involving producers, consumers, and decomposers, as well as herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. I also thought it would be interesting to expand the lesson’s scope to include a discussion of human impact on ecosystems, which satisfies ESS3.C. In this lesson, I would like for my students to learn the concepts involved in keeping an ecosystem running. I want them to make connections among organisms in different categories of the ecosystem and to show these connections in a diagram. Finally, I want my students to realize the consequences of careless human involvement in an ecosystem in order to make decisions about nature that keeps the components of an ecosystem running smoothly. Essentially, I want my students to walk away from the lesson knowing what organisms make up an ecosystem, how these organisms are related, and how important it is for humans to tread lightly when interacting with nature. In order to be successful in these endeavors, my students should be able to work with relationships in ecosystems. They should be able to decide, based on certain characteristics, how different organisms in an ecosystem interact, and should understand that these interactions are what keep ecosystems running. Additionally, students should be able to articulate the fact that human involvement in ecosystems can have dire consequences for the wellbeing of those ecosystems.

Comment [NRB1]: Topographic Was this a science lesson (Landforms?) or a social studies unit? If it was science I would call this geology rather than geography. Comment [NRB2]: And again in 6th if they follow SDP curriculum. This is where the Landforms curriculum lies. Comment [NRB3]: Crazily, Ecosystems is actually a unit in the spring SDP curriculum in 5th grade. Involves building closed environments.

Comment [NRB4]: Fits well with the STC curriculum I reference above. See those concepts here: tary/Ecosystems/index.asp

Core Decisions What? I will teach a lesson on the components of land ecosystems, as well as consequences of human impact on these environments. The lesson therefore addresses two NGSS standards. These are 5.LS2.A, “interdependent relationships in ecosystems,” and 5.ESS3.C, “human impacts on Earth systems.” The main crosscutting concept involved in this lesson is “systems and system models,” but it also introduces the topic of matter cycles, so “energy and matter in systems” is another crosscutting concept that is touched upon throughout the lesson. The lesson will introduce the ideas of different categories that organisms in ecosystems can fill and the relationships among these organisms as a way to transfer matter throughout the environment. The goals of my teaching in this lesson are for students to be able to distinguish among organisms that fill the different categories and to predict outcomes of human involvement in ecosystems. They will demonstrate this understanding through constructing a food web and discussing human interaction with the environment. How? There are many different strategies involved in the teaching of this lesson. The lesson begins with a discussion in order to assess prior knowledge of the concepts in the lesson. This discussion will include back and forth between the students and me, as well as a small amount of direct instruction, if the students are not at all familiar with the topics introduced. This portion of the lesson will end with an oral, informal assessment of the students’ learning of the new terms, which will be needed in the remainder of the lesson. I will then introduce the activity by guiding the students through a practice of a simplified food web. The students will construct this web with me on their own pieces of paper as I write it on a piece of posted chart paper. When the simplified food web is complete and students understand how to create one, I will give them independent practice. On this graphic organizer, they will construct their own food webs and then ponder a question of human interaction with an ecosystem. I will wrap the lesson up by having the students share their food webs with each other and discuss their answers to the human impact question. Why? I chose this topic for my lesson because I wanted to find a way to tie the geography unit that my class recently completed into a science lesson, but these were the standards that best fit. Additionally, I decided to focus on these topics because I know that my class will soon be starting an ecology unit in science class. I thought this lesson might be a good introduction to the unit. The content being taught may not be familiar to many, or all, of the students in the group. I really enjoy the topic of ecosystems, especially when they can be made into some sort of model. It is also an important lesson because I believe that many people do not think about the consequences of their impact on the environment. I would like to instill a value of the environment in my students in a way that they generate ideas about these consequences by themselves. This way, they

Comment [NRB5]: I think that an energy and nutrient pyramid might serve your goals better here.

will better understand the greatness of the effect that one human’s actions can have on an entire ecosystem. I wanted to incorporate multiple modes of response throughout the lesson because some of the students in the group are extremely shy and do better with written responses. These students are also more willing to participate in discussions when they have something that they have already completed that they can just read, instead of forming original thoughts on the spot. This is also the reason that I focus on laying out my expectations explicitly at the beginning of the lesson. These expectations include raising your hand and being encouraging of all responses. In this way, as with teaching students about treating the environment well, I can begin to train the students in being considerate so that they know how a safe space feels and how they should treat others. Lesson Plan Goals/Objectives SWBAT classify organisms as producers, consumers, and decomposers IOT construct a food web including organisms of all three categories and show their relationship to the cycling of matter through an ecosystem. SWBAT describe differences and relationships among consumers that are herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores IOT utilize these relationships in a food web. SWBAT analyze human impact on the environment IOT demonstrate change to an ecosystem when humans are added. Standards 5.LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems 5.ESS3.C Human Impacts on Earth Systems Materials and preparations  Chart paper  Marker  Print-outs of components of a land ecosystem  Food web templates (two different graphic organizers for differentiation purposes) for each student  Pencils for each student  Colored pencils Classroom arrangement and management issues The lesson will take place in the pod outside the classroom. The group of five students will sit at a round table. They will have brought a pencil with them, but I will provide the other materials. This will reduce the possibility for the students to become distracted with materials that they have in their possession while we have our discussion and read aloud. I will assign the seating around the table so that the students do not have the urge to talk to their friends, as they might if they sat next to each other.
Comment [NRB7]: State again here which standards these are. (These next generation standards will not be familiar to most people) Comment [NRB6]: Primary and secondary consumers

Comment [NRB8]: I have questions about these but hope to find them and comment on them below. Comment [NRB9]: OK, at this point I have seen that the graphic organizers have not been included. See note at the bottom of the page

There are several potential management issues that could come up during the lesson. First, it could be a challenge to make sure that everyone, especially the quieter students, participates. I will try to encourage broad participation by using wait time, as well as by allowing for varied ways of response. These include verbal responses to the whole group, turn and talk responses, and written responses. Additionally, it is a concern of mine, and is my focusing question, to make a safe space where everyone feels comfortable sharing opinions and responses. I plan to tackle this concern by discussing my expectations at the beginning of the lesson reinforcing them throughout the lesson. My expectations on this subject are that all students will respect each other and will welcome others’ answers and opinions, even if they may not agree with everything that is said. Finally, a problem that arises often when I work with students in the pod is that there are many distractions that arise when working at tables in the pod. For instance, the special education class is right next to the pod table, and the classes that take place there involve a lot of discussion. Because the door to that classroom is generally open, students sitting in the pod can become distracted if they listen to the class occurring in the special education room. Also, the water fountain and bathrooms are located in the pod, so students in the other classes can distract students working in the pod by trying to talk to them, or even just by walking by. I will combat these possible distracters by using proximity and positioning myself away from the water fountain and special education classroom so that the students are directed away from distraction by maintaining eye contact with me. Plan 1) Launch (15 minutes) I will open the lesson by assessing prior knowledge. I will do this by asking students if they remember anything about dinosaurs and what they ate. This will, I’m hoping, lead to the introduction of the terms herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore. If they do not make this connection, however, I will make the connection for them. If they are still not sure about the definitions of these terms, I will provide definitions, which are located in the section of this plan entitled “anticipating student responses and your possible responses.” After the students have grasped these concepts, I will give them examples of consumers and ask them which category each falls into. I will ask about standard animals, such as rabbits, bears, and lions, before asking the challenge question of which category humans fit. Once these terms have been explained, I will make the connection between dinosaurs’ eating habits and ecosystems. I will begin this discussion by asking the students is they know what an ecosystem is. I will have all of these terms posted on a piece of chart paper. Once again, if the students are not familiar with this term, or the term biome, I will be prepared to explain this concept. After this idea has been established, we will turn to the components of a food web, namely, producers, consumers, and decomposers. I will provide these terms but will ask students to use

Comment [NRB10]: Good – glad you included your focusing question here so that I can keep it in mind as I read.

Comment [NRB11]: OK, so using dinosaurs to elicit prior knowledge about categories like carnivore before bridging to new ways to think about these – producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, (etc.) and decomposers. Comment [NRB12]: Remembered, right?

Comment [NRB13]: This question is so large that it might stall them. How about asking something like, “When I say the word ecosystem, what do you think of?” And then after you have collected all of the random thoughts this generates try to get someone to put it together into what we mean by an ecosystem? That way the little thing that they think of first is not wrong, it is just a piece of a bigger whole.

context clues and related terms to figure out what these terms mean, especially in terms of an ecosystem. 2) Work and Explore Guided Practice (10 minutes) After students understand these terms, in the context of ecosystems and in relationship to each other, I will model the graphic organizer with a simplified ecosystem, consisting of six organisms, one producer, two primary consumers, two secondary consumers, and one decomposer. Although I will demonstrate this on a piece of chart paper so that all the students can see the format of a food web, I will also have students draw the same food web on pieces of plain white paper so that she can have the practice of writing the food web with me as I explain it. Allowing for practice actually constructing a simple food web will help students gain confidence in their abilities to make their own food web when I give them the handout for independent practice. I will walk around and check to make sure that each student has copied this down correctly and completely. Independent Work (10 minutes) I will pass the graphic organizer out to each student. They will use the organisms whose pictures I will lay out in the middle of each table. They will do this by labeling each space in the food web with the name of the organism that fits in each space. Once they have completed the food web, they will answer a question involving human impact on the ecosystem for which they have just created a food web. They should address the outcome of the scenario that I give them and discuss the consequences of humans’ entrance into the ecosystem. 3) Debrief and wrap-up (10 minutes) I will bring the students back together in order to share their food webs and thoughts about human impact on ecosystems. Because there are two different sets of organisms (one for each table), the students will tell each other about the organism in each category of the food web for each table. As they name each component, I will ask whether the organism is a producer, consumer, or decomposer, and whether the consumer is an herbivore, omnivore, or carnivore, as a way to reinforce the students’ understanding of these concepts. After sharing the components of the two ecosystems, I will ask the students to share their ideas about human impact by going around the group to make sure that every student participates. Finally, I will wrap the lesson up by reinforcing the importance of treating ecosystems well. Anticipating student responses and your possible responses There may be several challenging and confusing aspects of this lesson. First, there is a possibility that none of, or most of, the students have never heard of any of the terms presented in this lesson. If I ask them what they know about dinosaurs’ eating habits and the terms for these, I will work through that dinosaurs could eat only plants, only animals, or both plants and animals. This will make the definitions of the terms herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore apparent without my needing to tell them explicitly.

Comment [NRB14]: Be sure you are leading with concepts here rather than vocabulary. I understand dinosaurs as a starting place because that is where children often learn carnivore and herbivore. But I would recommend letting them help you work through the relationships in a well-known ecosystem next, and using this work to introduce the more sophisticated terms that way. (See discussion of energy pyramids below) Deciduous forest organisms probably work best – all the plants you can think of, rabbits, squirrels, deer, mice, foxes and hawks and then lots of decomposers. Comment [NRB15]: OK – here is is! I would make this the second step of the launch Comment [NRB16]: Do you think so? Or will trying to take it down as you do it distract them from engaging with what you are actually saying and doing? Isn’t it just as good to leave this on the board for them to use as a model as they do their own? Comment [NRB17]: Could they push the pictures around to make the pyramid first and then write the names in their template? Comment [NRB18]: Questions I have here include: 1) Why did you decide on individual responses? Wouldn’t working together in pairs necessitating 6 rather than 5 students) be better, as students could discuss among themselves, and use each other’s knowledge? 2) To get back to your goal of connecting this to geography, what about giving different students (or pairs) organisms from different ecosystems (prairie, dessert, etc.) so that they can see that this same structure applies even though the particular organisms have to be adapted to their own environment? 3) I would argue that this gives the opportunity for deeper discussion when the worksheet is finished. 4) I am not sure that you have given students the basis to think about human interference here. I understand, of course, that discussions of food web often go to “what happens if you break a strand of the web?” But really, one of the messages of ecology is that the more ... Comment [NRB19]: OK, here we are sort of on the same page. Comment [NRB20]: This is unlikely in this group. Comment [NRB21]: It is fine to be explicit. My guess is they will tell you.

In addition, if the students do not seem familiar with terms on the subject of ecosystems and components of ecosystems, I will have an explanation ready, and I will also know that I need to redirect the lesson to deal with this issue. I will connect the idea of an ecosystem with their study of maps in social studies. In this unit of study, the students were responsible for reading topographic maps in order to indicate elevations of different parts of the United States, as well as answering questions about borders and river systems. These different parts of the country can be seen as different ecosystems. If students can understand the connection between elevation, for example, and climate, which is a main factor in classifying ecosystems, then we can move onto the producers, consumers, and decomposers that make up the ecosystems in these parts of the country. Finally, I will have them write the model of the food web that I record on the chart paper in order to give them practice with classifying organisms into each category and actually writing the organisms into the correct place when setting up a correctly formatted food web. Assessment of the goals/objectives The goals of this lesson revolve around the organisms in a land North American ecosystem, their relationships to each other, and consequences of human impact on the ecosystem. These goals will be assessed periodically throughout the discussion of the terms and concepts involved in the lesson. In addition to discussion, I will collect the graphic organizers from each student as a way to assess their understanding. For students whose work I check during the lesson, I will make notes on their handouts, shortly after the lesson is over, if they had to change any answers after I checked them. Accommodations 1) Accommodations for students who may find the material too challenging For students who may have difficulty working with this material, I will provide a differentiated template handout. Whereas the first graphic organizer will include the general form of a food web, this one labels each spot in the food web template to help students tell which organism should go into which spot. These labels will be producer, consumers, and decomposer. I will also provide a template for answering the question on the handout about human involvement in the ecosystem. 2) Accommodations for students who may need greater challenge and/or finish early If students finish early, I will check their work to make sure that they have completed the food web correctly. If they have filled in the web in the right way, I will ask them to label each type of consumer as an herbivore, omnivore, or carnivore. Then, the students can illustrate the food web with the remaining time. MeghanI think your goal here is to move your students beyond the simple plant-eater (herbivore – many kids will say vegetarian)/meat-eater (carnivore) model to the more sophisticated idea of tropic levels (producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer, tertiary consumer, decomposer)

Comment [NRB22]: Remember, this is the OUTCOME that you want at the end. Don’t expect it at the beginning.

Comment [NRB23]: I don’t think you need this step.

Comment [NRB24]: I think making notes to yourself in some way, rather than writing on the student papers, would be better. This is the first introduction to this material, right? You should not be thinking of this assessment as testing so much as thinking about it as formative: what would I need to do in a next lesson to help this student understand better?

Comment [NRB25]: Again, this would be much more meaningful if the templates where here. See comment below. Comment [NRB26]: This is another place where having a partner would really help, even if you want each student to produce a paper of his or her own to keep.

That really makes an energy pyramid a more appropriate model than a food web. (And I am confident that your students are ready for this.) I just Googled Energy web and there are lots of beautiful examples there, but most of them are missing the decomposer element that you so carefully included. Here is one that does: It is interesting kind of odd that they go from the pyramid to the rectangular food web in the The wahy they have shown it obscures the importance of the pyramid. I think it is better to put the arrows indicating energy flow (from the grasshopper into the ostrich) in the pyramid. The point of the pyramid is that there have to be fewer and fewer organisms at each level. Or another way of putting this is that it takes a lot of grass to support one grasshopper and a lot of grasshoppers to support an ostrich.) This is why we can argue that a vegetarian diet is easier on the environment.