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Lesson Plan Format

Teacher: Joel Everett


Middle School
Unit: Interactions within Ecosystems
2014

Grade:

School: Woodstock
7

Date: October 28th,

LESSON MAP
Title of Lesson: Lesson 1 The Main Players within an Ecosystem
Curriculum Outcome:
- (306-3) Describe interactions between biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem.
- (210-1) Classify organisms as producers, consumers and decomposers.
- (304-2) Identify the roles of producers, consumers and decomposers in a local ecosystem and
describe both their diversity and their interactions.
- (211-5) Defend a given position on an issue or problem on the basis of their findings.
Student Objectives:
- Students will be able to define, identify and explain ecosystems including their components and
how they interact.
- Students will be able to identify abiotic and biotic components within an ecosystem given a
description of the specific component with at least 80% accuracy.
- Students will be able to distinguish between producers, consumers and decomposers when given
a description of an organism with at least 80% accuracy.
Assessment: There will be formative assessment throughout this lesson as the teacher will assess
students understanding during the group discussions at the end of the lesson. The students will
also submit an entry from their journal that will hopefully prove their complete understanding of
the material and will meet the student objectives of this lesson. Summative assessment of the
student objectives will take place on a unit test that will follow the completed unit on ecosystem
interactions.
Time Required for this lesson: 50 minutes
Materials/ Resources: 1 Ball of Yarn, Nametags with names of biotic or abiotic factors on them,
PowerPoint Presentation, Computer with SmartBoard, Killer Fungi YouTube Video, Question sheets
for guided journal entry.
Methods / Structure: For the first activity, students will work together as a large group. For the
rest of the class they will be in groups of 4 at their respective tables.
Text/Audio/Video-based Resources:
Cordyceps: The Killer Fungi Planet
Earth

Vocabulary:
Ecosystem - A community of plants, animals and
smaller organisms that live, feed, reproduce and
interact in the same area or environment.
Biotic Any living or formerly living component of an
ecosystem.
Abiotic Non-living components of an ecosystem.
Producer Biotic component that creates its own
energy through abiotic components.
Consumer Biotic component that cannot create its
own energy therefore it must consume other biotic
components.
Decomposer Plants, animals or fungi that break down
dead plants or animals into organic material that goes

back into the soil.


Instructional Strategies/ Procedure for the Class:
Phase 1: Introduction/ Warm-Up Activity 15 minutes
- Introduction
- Introduce the class schedule for the day. The class will consist of an introductory group
activity that will get the students thinking about how different organisms interact within an
ecosystem. After some discussion questions about the activity, there will be a review of
previous knowledge about ecosystems and some new material presented in a class
discussion/powerpoint format. After this, there will be a SmartBoard activity that will have
the students relating what they learned to the group activity at the beginning of the class.
And finally, there will be a group discussion about the new things that the class has learned.
- Warm-Up Activity
- Step 1 - Hand the nametags out to each student and ask them to form a circle in an open
area of the classroom. Ask them to make the circle as small as possible, while staying
comfortable. The nametags will include the following: Air, Soil, Rock, Mushroom, Earthworm,
Human, Bear, Salmon, Raspberry, Termite, Deer, Moss, Water, Deer Fly, Sun, Fir Tree,
Conifer Cone.
- Step 2 - Hand the student with the Air nametag a ball of yarn and ask them to toss the
ball to another student with the nametag of something that interacts with Air. Ask them to
state the interaction and hold on the string as they throw the ball.
- Step 3 - Continue the activity at least until all students have had the chance to share an
interaction and have the students observe what they notice about the circle when the
activity is complete.
- Step 4 - Have the students take their seats and present two discussion questions on the
activity. Have the students discuss the questions at their tables for a couple of minutes and
then ask for some ideas to be shared aloud.
o What did you notice about the interactions between each other during the activity?
o What did the circle look like at the end of the activity? What is the significance of
this?
Phase 2: Ecosystems Review and Content Knowledge 12 minutes
- Review
- Step 1 - Begin with a discussion about the students previous knowledge on ecosystems.
They should have learned a little bit about them in grade 6. They will likely all be at different
levels with respect to how much they learned or remember. Try and tease out them
something like the following definition: A community of plants, animals and smaller
organisms that live, feed, reproduce and interact in the same area or environment. Make
sure everyone understands the definition before you move on by asking if any students
need any clarification on any specific part.
- Step 2 - Present three pictures: a flower garden, a potato field, and a cow. Ask if they would
each be considered an ecosystem or not. The first two should be unanimous that it is an
ecosystem but expect some debate for the picture of the cow. It will probably be suggested
that the cow contributes to an ecosystem but is not one in itself. A student may suggest
that the cows stomach might be considered an ecosystem because there are living and
non-living things interacting. By definition, this would be a correct statement.
- Content Knowledge
- Step 1 Turn the students attention to the things that make up ecosystems. Some of the
students may have heard of abiotic and biotic factors before so see if they can create a
definition for both supported with examples. Make sure that they understand that biotic
factors are any component of the ecosystem that is living or has lived and that abiotic
factors are any component of an ecosystem that is non-living. *Students may ask whether

dead things are abiotic or biotic. Explain the distinction that biotic components are things
that either have lived or are currently living (ex. Cones, carcasses etc.)
Step 2 - Next, break down biotic factors into producers, consumers and decomposers.
Explain that producers create their own energy through non-living things. Explain that
consumers get their energy from producers, or other consumers that have previously gotten
energy from producers. Explain that decomposers are plants, animals or fungi that break
down dead plants and animals into organic material that goes back into the soil. Provide
examples for these different components. Most of this material will likely be new for the
students and may need more time spent on it.

Phase 3: Thinking (Activities) SmartBoard Activity 10 minutes


- Step 1 - Ask the students to think back to the yarn activity about their specific component
and distinguish whether or not they represented a biotic or abiotic component of the
ecosystem. Allow the students to come up to the SmartBoard one-by-one to place their
component under the biotic or abiotic column. As the chart gets filled out, have the students
assess the columns and ask if there are any objections according to the definitions and
discussion from earlier. If there are objections, allow students to correct their mistakes and
make sure that the class is all on the same page.
- Step 2 - Do the same activity but with producer, consumer and decomposer columns. For
this part, those who were under the abiotic column will not have a component to place on
the board. Have them sit back and watch each person and allow them to be the first to say
whether or not there are any components under the wrong column. *For this part, there may
need to be some descriptions of what some organisms are or do for the students to be able
to differentiate between producers, consumers or decomposers. I.e. Moss, Conifer Cone, etc.
- The charts should look like this when completed:
Abiotic vs. Biotic
Abiotic

Biotic

Air

Conifer Cone

Moss

Soil

Mushroom

Termite

Water

Earthworm

Deer Fly

Rock

Human

Deer

Sun

Bear

Fir Tree

Salmon

Raspberry

Producer vs. Consumer vs. Decomposer


Producer

Consumer

Decomposer

Raspberry

Human

Moss

Fir Tree

Bear

Mushrooms

Conifer Cone

Salmon

Earthworm

Deer
Deer Fly

Termite
Phase 3: Discussion/Video and Conclusion - 12 minutes
- Discussion
- Give the students some time to think about possible answers to the following questions and
assess their understanding through their responses.
- Can someone give an example (other than one we saw during the activity) of an
interaction between a biotic and abiotic component of an ecosystem?
- Answer could be anything.
- How do we (humans) interact with abiotic and biotic factors in the environment?
- Answer could be anything.
- How do we affect abiotic and biotic factors?
- Hopefully get some answers that refer to clear cutting, and other ways humans
destroy ecosystems i.e.
overhunting, Pollution, Land Conversion, etc.
- Identify an organism that can be both a consumer and a producer? Why?
- Venus Fly Trap?
Show the students a YouTube video of the killer fungi. It will hopefully help them better
understand decomposers while providing them with some entertainment as it quite
interesting and gruesome to see how the fungi work.
Conclusion
Hand the students out a question sheet that they have the rest of the class to finish or
complete for homework. The answers are to be placed in their journal, which has been
ongoing throughout the year. The sheet is attached.
References:
Atlantic Canada Science Curriculum. (2002). Science 7. Retrieved from:
http://www.gnb.ca/0000/publications/curric/grade7science.pdf
New Brunswick Department of Education. (2009). Interactions within Ecosystems: Components of
an Ecosystem. Science Resource Package: Grade 7. Retrieved from:
https://moodle.stu.ca/course/view.php?id=549

Interactions within Ecosystems


Place answers to the following questions in your Science Journal. Answers should
be approximately half a page long. Full marks will be given for complete sentence
answers that relate to class discussions and activities. Journal will be collected on
November 4th.
1. Which is more important to an ecosystem, biotic or abiotic components? Defend your
answer with reasoning from classroom discussion.
2. Which is more important to an ecosystem: producers, consumers or decomposers?
Defend your answer with reasoning from classroom discussion.
3. Describe an ecosystem that consists of 5 abiotic components, 3 producers, 3
consumers and 2 decomposers. Be sure to explain at least one interaction for each
component. (This question may be completed in point form.)
4. In your opinion, why are decomposers important in an ecosystem? What would
happen if there was no such thing as decomposers? (This question will lead into our
next class project.)

Lesson Plan Format


Teacher: Joel Everett
Middle School
Unit: Interactions within Ecosystems
2014

Grade:

School: Woodstock
7

Date: October 29th,

LESSON MAP
Title of Lesson: Lesson 2 Digging Deeper: A Look at Decomposers
Curriculum Outcomes:
(208-2) - Identify questions to investigate arising from practical problems and issues.
(209-1) - Carry out procedures controlling the major variables.
(209-4) - Organize data, using a format that is appropriate to the task or experiment.
(306-2) - Describe how matter is recycled in an ecosystem through interactions among plants,
animals, fungi, and microorganisms.
(306-3) - Describe interactions between biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem.
Student Objectives:
- Students will be able to generate a specific scientific question when given parameters for an
experiment that has to do with material that has been discussed in the classroom.
- Students can follow directions to complete a simple science experiment.
- Students will be able to observe and record differences between daily observations of a simple
experiment.
- Students will be able to interpret observed differences and apply them to classroom discussion
and material.
Assessment: Student assessment during this lesson will be completed formatively as the students
are completing their ecosystems. The main goal of this class is to complete the ecosystem within
the time frame given and most of the assessment will take place after student observations are
completed on their experiment, which will take place over the next few weeks. Eventually, the
students will submit a lab write-up outlining their question, materials, procedure and observations.

This will be marked using the rubric included in this lesson plan.

Time Required for this lesson: 50 minutes


Materials/ Resources:
The following materials will be provided so that each group of two has one of each:
2L pop bottle with air holes in the top and drainage holes in the bottom already poked
Pie Plate
Scissors
Aluminum Foil
The students will find the following on the schools playground (in an area that has been prepared
by the teacher):
2-3 earthworms
2-3 cups of soil
1 cup of dead leaves
Rubric for scientific write-up (One for each student)
Methods / Structure: The first part of the class will be a whole class discussion on decomposers.
The students will then venture outdoors where they will collect the necessary materials to create
their own pop bottle ecosystem. The students will complete this activity in pairs.
Text/Audio/Video-based Resources:
Nova Decomposers Video
Pop Bottle Ecosystem Instructions taken from NatureWatch.com
Instructional Strategies/ Procedure for the Class:
Phase 1: Introductory Discussion 7 minutes
- Have a classroom discussion about the importance of decomposers. Students are quite
familiar with producers and consumers from earlier years but have not really been exposed
to decomposers to the same extent. Use the following as guiding questions:
- Where does all of our waste go? Expect answers like landfill, recycling, sewage waste.
- What happens to wastes that are produced by nature? Dead animals, plants, manure?
Expect answers like decays, decomposes and goes back into the soil.
- Relate these student answers to the previous days examples of decomposers. Ex. Fungi
(mold) break down dead plants and animals and return nutrients to the soil.
- Highlight the importance of the return of nutrients to the soil, which in turn creates new life
through the creation of new producers (green plants).
Phase 2: Pop Bottle Experiment 43 minutes
- Material Collection 10 minutes
- For this part of the experiment, it is important that the teacher has already scoped out a
spot on the schools property that will have the necessary materials that are needed for the
experiment. Students will form groups of 2 and groups will collect the following: 2-3
earthworms, 2-3 cups of soil and a handful of dead leaves. If time was an issue, the teacher
could have enough of these things already gathered to eliminate this potentially timeconsuming activity from the experiment. It is important that students begin to become
exposed to this sort of activity because data/material collection is an important part of
scientific experiments.
- Ecosystem Construction 20 minutes
- Provide each group with a 2L pop bottle with air holes that the teacher has pre-constructed
that they will use as a container for their ecosystem. Advise the students to cut the top off

their pop bottle just above where the label would be. The students will then pack their soil,
worms and leaves into the bottom of the pop bottle. Detailed instructions that will be
handed out to the students are attached.
- Clean-up and Observation Preparation 13 minutes
- Explain to the students that they will be preparing an experimental write-up that includes: a
scientific question, list of materials and procedure. This process introduces the students to
writing a formal lab report.
- Students will clean up their own workstations and be given a rubric for their experimental
write-up that will be due for marks later in the unit. It is important for the teacher to go over
the rubric so that the students know exactly what they need to include in their write-up.
- The rubric is as follows:
Got it
Nearly there
Not yet
Question is stated clearly and in Question is clear but not in a
Question is unclear.
a testable form
testable form.
Materials list includes all
Materials list incomplete.
Materials list
necessary and appropriate
incomplete and
items.
contains
unnecessary items.
Written steps are detailed and
Some steps are unclear or
Steps are not
in sequential order. Steps are
missing and/or steps are out of
accurate or there is
detailed enough that variables
order. Missing some details that
not enough detail to
are controlled. Procedure could would control one or more
replicate procedure.
be replicated.
variables during the replication.
Spelling and grammar errors are Some spelling and grammar
Spelling and grammar
absent or rare.
errors.
errors common
- The students should also be prepared to begin the next class by creating an observation
chart.
- Time will be of the essence during this class period because of the experimental set-up and
collection. It is imperative to emphasize that the students collect and construct their
ecosystem in a timely matter in order to be able to complete the task during the time
allotted.
References:
Atlantic Canada Science Curriculum. (2002). Science 7. Retrieved from:
http://www.gnb.ca/0000/publications/curric/grade7science.pdf
New Brunswick Department of Education. (2009). Interactions within Ecosystems: Components of
an Ecosystem. Science Resource Package: Grade 7. Retrieved from:
https://moodle.stu.ca/course/view.php?id=549
WormWatch.com. Earthworm Science. Investigation #2: Earthworms in Action. Retrieved from:
https://www.naturewatch.ca/english/wormwatch/activities/invest2.html

Instructions for Pop Bottle Ecosystem Adapted from wormwatch.com


1. The teacher has prepared 2L pop bottles that have holes poked in the top for air and
on the bottom for water drainage.
2. Take the bottle and carefully cut just above where the label would be. Cut all the way
around the outside of the bottle so you have two parts of the bottle. A funnel shaped
head of the bottle with the cover still on it and the rest of the bottle with an open top.

3. Fill the bottle with the materials you gathered from outdoors (soil, dead leaves). Write
down the order in which you place the materials in the bottle. This will go in the
procedure section of the write-up and will be important when you make observations
on the ecosystems later.
4. Pour a cup of water into the soil/leaves to moisten the ecosystem.
5. Place the worms on top of the ecosystem, put the top part of the bottle on and wrap
the bottle in aluminum foil. (Earthworms are sensitive to light and will perform better
in a dark environment)
6. Place the ecosystem in a pie plate so the water does not leak on to the counter.

Lesson Plan Format


Teacher: Joel Everett
Middle School
Unit: Interactions within Ecosystems
2014

School: Woodstock
Grade:

Date: October 30th,

LESSON MAP
Title of Lesson: Lesson 3 Wrap-Up Decomposer Activity Explanation/Commencement of Energy
Flow.
Curriculum Outcome:
(209-1) - Carry out procedures controlling the major variables.
(209-4) - Organize data, using a format that is appropriate to the task or experiment.
(306-2) - Describe how matter is recycled in an ecosystem through interactions among plants,
animals, fungi, and microorganisms.
(111-6) Apply the concept of a food web as a tool for interpreting the structure and interactions of
a natural system.
Student Objectives:

- Students will be able to identify and explain the use of a control in a scientific experiment.
- Students will be able to properly observe elemental differences between their own experimental
trial and a control trial
- Students will be able to keep track of observations of these differences over a seven-day period.
- Students will be able to explain how photosynthesis happens with 80% accuracy.
- Students will be able to distinguish between herbivores, carnivores and omnivores if given a list of
animals and what they eat with 80% accuracy.
- Students will be able to construct their own energy flow map if given specific animals and how
they get their energy.
Assessment: Students will hand in their completed observation charts along with their
experimental write-up after 7 days of observation. This will be graded on proper completion of the
chart and according to the rubric included in the last lesson. Formative assessment will take place
during the discussion portion of this lesson and pairs will submit an exit slip with an answer to an
open-ended question as the class comes to an end.
Time Required for this lesson: 50 minutes
Materials/ Resources:
Previously constructed control pop bottle ecosystem (no worms added)
Whiteboard & Marker
SmartBoard with picture referenced in lesson plan.
Methods / Structure: Students will observe their experiments in their pairs that were formed on
the previous day. The new lesson will take place with the students discusses and sharing as groups
of 4 at their tables. The exit slips will be completed in groups of 2.
Vocabulary:
Control - A subject or a group in an experiment where the factor being tested is not applied, hence,
serves as a standard for comparison against another group where the factor is applied.
Photosynthesis - Plants take in carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil; put them
together (in the presence of light energy and chlorophyll) to produce sugar (glucose) and oxygen.
Herbivores Consumers that eat plants
Carnivores Consumers that eat other animals
Omnivores Consumers that eat other plants and animals
Instructional Strategies/ Procedure for the Class:
Phase 1: Introduction to Observation stage of the experiment 15 minutes
- Last class, the students constructed their own pop bottle ecosystems that contain
earthworms, dead leaves and soil. Present to the class a pop bottle ecosystem that is just
like the ones that they created but is void of earthworms. Explain to them that this will be
used as a control for their experiment. They will compare observations of their own
ecosystem with the control and note differences in an observation chart.
- The students will likely be unfamiliar with the term Control. Explain that a control is a
subject or a group in an experiment where the factor being tested is not applied, hence,
serves as a standard for comparison against another group where the factor is applied. Read
them the following definition from biology-online.org: In scientific experiments, the use of
controls allows to study one variable or factor at a time. It is, however, important that both
the control and other (experimental) group(s) are exposed to the same conditions apart
from the one variable under study. Doing so will help draw conclusions that are more
accurate and reliable. In this case, the control will be under all of the same conditions
except the fact that there are no earthworms (decomposers), present.
- Next, guide the students in constructing their own table that they will use to track

observations of their ecosystem. Allow the students to create their own tables with the
following things in mind: they will be tracking seven (class) days of observation and they
need to include daily differences in their own ecosystem and how their ecosystem differs
from the control. Have them create drafts of a table and when they have it approved by the
teacher, they can create a final copy.
Once they have a final copy of a table approved by the instructor, they can complete their
observations of day 1.

Phase 2: New Content on Energy Flow 30 minutes


- Now that students have a better understanding of all the components within an ecosystem
(previous years knowledge on producers and consumers, yesterdays lesson and
experiment on decomposers) its time to take a deeper look at the energy exchange within
an ecosystem.
- Use the think/pair/share method in groups of 4 to come with ways that producers,
consumers and decomposers get energy. This activity will be used as a refresher to get the
students thinking about interactions again.
- Answers should include that: producers make their own energy, consumers get their
energy from producers and decomposers break down decaying matter for their energy.
- Using the whiteboard, brainstorm ideas as a class after the think/pair/share that groups
came up with for each type of energy production. Once you have examples for each, return
to producers and begin to explain the process through which they get energy. If someone in
the class mentioned photosynthesis ask them to tell the class what they know about it and
see if the class can come up with a definition themselves. If they cannot come up with the
proper definition explain to them that: Plants take in carbon dioxide from the air and water
from the soil; put them together (in the presence of light energy and chlorophyll) to produce
sugar (glucose) and oxygen. The sugar that is produced is what the plant uses for its own
energy and also what consumers seek in looking for producers for energy.
- Next, introduce the concept of herbivores, carnivores and omnivores as consumers. See if
the students can come up with definitions of the three based on previous knowledge. The
definitions should be something like: herbivores are consumers that eat plants, carnivores
are consumers that eat other animals and omnivores are consumers that eat other plants or
animals. Also state that herbivores are considered primary consumers, carnivores that eat
herbivores are considered secondary consumers and carnivores that eat other carnivores
are considered tertiary consumers.
- Show the following picture on the SmartBoard and explain with reference to the terms
previously discussed:

Explain that this is a food web and represents the flow of energy within an ecosystem.
Once the students have asked all necessary questions and the image has been explained,
have them create, in groups of two, their own energy flow map using specific examples that
they know of in real life. Ex. Gazelles eat leaves off of a tree and then, gazelles get eaten by
lions. Ask groups to share their examples aloud to the class.

Phase 3: Conclusion/Exit Slip 5 minutes

The students will work in pairs to answer the following question and pass their answer in as
an exit slip. Answers only need to be 3-4 sentences long. Write the question on the board
and have them write their answer on a loose sheet of paper to hand in before they leave.
There are more herbivores than carnivores on the earth. Why do you think this is?
Hopefully, some pairs will come up with an answer that talks about the fact that carnivores
need to hunt their food and herbivores just need to find it. Some students may make a link
to the fact that herbivores only turn a fraction of the energy gained from producers into
body mass because much of it is needed for life processes such as digestion and
reproduction. This means that carnivores only get a fraction of a fraction of the energy
needed for their life processes because of the energy lost in the herbivores. The carnivore
then has to make up for this deficit in order to properly grow and sometimes this cannot
happen. This would be considered an extremely advanced answer to this question but would
be a good way to open the next class if this topic were to continue.

References:
Atlantic Canada Science Curriculum. (2002). Science 7. Retrieved from:
http://www.gnb.ca/0000/publications/curric/grade7science.pdf
New Brunswick Department of Education. (2009). Interactions within Ecosystems: Components of
an Ecosystem. Science Resource Package: Grade 7. Retrieved from:
https://moodle.stu.ca/course/view.php?id=549
Food chains and food webs online resource. Retrieved from:
http://www.vtaide.com/png/foodchains.html
Picture retrieved from: http://images.tutorvista.com/content/environment/food-chain-in-grassland.jpeg