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How Is Energy Passed Through an Ecosystem?

Lesson: Science: Chapter 5, Lesson 2 Teacher: Mrs. Donovan Time Allotted: 45 minutes Grade: 5th Date: 11/25/13 Actual time: 60 minutes

1) Purpose, Student Understanding, Instructional Objectives: Students will understand food chains and food webs. Students will know the roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers in ecosystems. Students will be able to identify energy flow in ecosystems. 2) Nationals Standard(s) Addressed:

LS 2A: 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) LS 1C: 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) 3) UM Student Teaching Performance Outcome(s) Addressed: Performance Outcome 3: Uses appropriate technologies and resources to enhance instruction and student performance. Performance Outcome 5: Implements instructional and behavioral management strategies to promote a safe and positive learning environment. 4) Materials/Resources Needed: SmartBoard app: Food Chains downloaded from Smart Exchange 5) Instructional Method/Teaching Practices: Previous Lesson: Review with the students the process by which plants make food. Ask them what three things are required for that process to occur. Ask them to think about why sunlight and plants are important for all living organisms.

Review what the terms producers and consumers mean. Introduction to Current Lesson: Ask students to define the term ecosystem. Give examples of ecosystems. Explain how organisms in ecosystems all interact with one another by eating one another, competing for space, or sharing homes. Explain that there are many different organisms in each ecosystem. Next, introduce food webs by giving an example from a tundra ecosystem. Write the words in a chain on the board as each level is introduced. Explain that plants, called producers, are at the beginning of the food chain. Next in the chain are animals that eat producers, called herbivores. Explain that they are also known as first-level consumers. The next animals are the ones that eat other animals, called carnivores, or second-level consumers. Some students might mention that animals sometimes eat both plants and animals. Explain that those animals are called omnivores. They can be either first- or second-level consumers. Give examples of those type of animals. Finally, give an example of a carnivore that eats another carnivore. Explain to the students that these animals are third-level consumers. Ask: Do you see a pattern in the food chain? Why is each level either first-, second- or thirdlevel consumer? Explain to the students that there is food energy that is transferred between each level and that is why it is called a food chain. Ask: Does a food chain have a beginning and an immediate ending? What happens to the food energy once a plant or animal dies? Introduce animals that are carnivores, called decomposers, break down the remains of dead organisms and use the food energy. The food energy that is not used is mixed with the soil. The plant roots absorb these nutrients for their food, then herbivores come eat these plants. In this way, decomposers connect both ends of food chains. Use the SmartBoard app to let the students create some food chains. Help the students understand that all organisms in an ecosystem depend on producers to make food. Without them, organisms would start to die because the food resources at each level would be gone. Ask: Does a snake eat only grasshoppers? Does a bear eat only berries? Explain that most animals eat more than one kind of food. Example: A hawk might eat a mouse that ate seeds. The same hawk might also eat a small snake that ate grasshoppers and other insects. The insects might have eaten grass. An organism can be a part of several

different food chains. In this way, the food chains overlap. This is called a food web, which shows the relationships among different food chains. Go over the examples of a prairie food web and pond food web in the book. Ask: How/where do humans fit in these food webs? Restate that carnivores eat herbivores, omnivores, and other carnivores. Then explain that carnivores help limit the number of organisms below them in a food web. Explain what would happen if there were no snakes. After, ask a student to explain how carnivores help keep an ecosystem in balance. Emphasize that organisms in an ecosystem depend on one another for survival. A change in the number of one kind of organism can affect the entire ecosystem. Go back to what is being transferred from animal to animal. Explain that not all of the food energy is transferred to another animal. An animal uses about 90% of the energy for its own life processes, and stores about 10% of the energy. Give an example of a plant using 90% of its energy for life processes and storing 10% of the energy. An herbivore that comes to eat this plant will only get that 10% that the plant stored. Explain that scientists create food pyramids to see this energy transfer. Help the students see that the food pyramid shows that each level of a food chain passes on less food energy than the level before it. Explain that the base of the pyramid is so large because the first-level consumers require a lot of food energy from the producers. Mention that the second-level consumers also require a lot of food energy from the first-level consumers because they are getting so much less energy than the first-level consumer received from the producers. Show this relationship with math. The grass has 1000 kilocalories of food energy. If a cow ate the grass, it would get 10% of that energy. How many kilocalories would it get? (100kc)If a human butchered the cow, he would get 10% of that energy. How many kilocalories would he get? (10kc). Have students create energy pyramids with the SmartBoard app. Go over the examples of the 10% rule. Also explain why each level of the pyramid contains fewer animals than the level before it. To wrap up the lesson, ask the students to think about how changes in the environment and ecosystem can affect the whole food chain, the whole food web, and the whole energy pyramid. Give examples of droughts, human cutting down trees in a forest, fires, etc. Ask students to think of other human-caused factors that could causes changes in the ecosystems.

6) Adaptations for Individual Student Needs: For students that are having difficulties understanding what an energy pyramid is, have them build one out of clay. Each level can be a different color. They can draw pictures of plants and animals to attach to each level with toothpicks. 7) Inclusion of Indian Education for All: 8) Assessment Procedures: I will know if students have reached the objectives if they can create food chains without help from me and can label each level appropriately. I will also know if students understand if they can accurately describe what happens in the energy pyramid. 9) Reflection: The lesson was pretty successful. If I had more time, I would go more in-depth with the energy pyramid and the math of the energy transfer between organisms.


References: HSP Science. Orlando, FL: Harcourt School, 2009. Print.