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    Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales. HS-LS2-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Mathematical and computational thinking in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections


  • RST.11-12.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account. (HS-LS2-2)


  • HSN-Q.A.1 - Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. (HS-LS2-2)
  • HSN-Q.A.2 - Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling. (HS-LS2-2)
  • HSN-Q.A.3 - Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. (HS-LS2-2)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-LS2-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-LS2-2)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This Data Nugget lesson begins with a phenomenon: an introduced crab species is killing native plants in a marsh ecosystem. The invasive European green crab, introduced into the Great Marsh ecosystem on the North Shore of Massachusetts, uproots eelgr ...

  • BiomeViewer, an interactive app from HHMI BioInteractive, is designed to engage students in three-dimensional learning as they explore the phenomenon of human impact on biodiversity and the environment. BiomeViewer contains data about biomes, anthrom ...

  • This resource, from Science in the Classroom (AAAS), uses an authentic scientific research paper and an interactive web tool to help students and teachers investigate the phenomenon of forest cover change at different scales over time. The provided f ...

  • This Data Nugget begins with a phenomenon: a salt marsh ecosystem in Gloucester, MA, was changed when a road restricted tidal flow between the salt marsh and the ocean. In 2003, a culvert was constructed that restored tidal flow under the road. Scien ...

  • This article in NSTA’s November 2016 issue of The Science Teacher describes a set of activities that engage students in three-dimensional learning by using diatom bioassessments to assess water quality and biodiversity in a variety of local aqu ...

  • This NetLogo simulation, developed by Uri Wilensky at Northwestern University, models three populations (rabbits, grass, weeds) within an ecosystem over time. Settings within the simulation help students to make sense of the phenomena of ecosystem re ...

  • This article in the October 2016 issue of The American Biology Teacher uses five interrelated  “data-rich problem” tasks to help students make sense of the phenomenon of species loss within the context of a marine ecosystem. By using ...

  • This article in the September 2016 issue of The American Biology Teacher describes an investigation designed to help students engage in three-dimensional learning as they explore the phenomenon of  biodiversity in two natural areas of different ...

  • The lesson contained in this article from the April 2016 issue of The American Biology Teacher is designed to engage students in three-dimensional learning as they participate in The Invasive Mosquito Project (USDA) -- a citizen science project. This ...

  • This article in NSTA’s December 2015 issue of “The Science Teacher” describes two lessons developed by teachers attending the Crossing Boundaries Project (www.crossingboundaries.org) - a joint venture of The Cornell Lab of Ornitholo ...

  • In this lesson plan, students use Simpson’s biodiversity index to answer the research question: “How do two wooded areas of different ages compare in species biodiversity?” Simpson’s biodiversity index measures not only how many different species the ...

  • This lesson plan on invertebrate biodiversity provides teachers with instructional and laboratory tools to introduce students to ecological fieldwork and data analysis. Five different collection techniques are described; students can build their own ...

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Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.