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    Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. MS-LS2-5

    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

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

ELA/Literacy

  • RI.8.8 - Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced. (MS-LS2-5)
  • RST.6-8.8 - Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text. (MS-LS2-5)

Mathematics

  • 6.RP.A.3 - Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations. (MS-LS2-5)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (MS-LS2-5)

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.
  • Teaching With Tarantulas is a lesson plan that provides a sequence of learning activities to help students understand the roles of predators in the health of ecosystems and the importance of preserving Earth's ecosystems.  The lesson pl ...

  • This 25 minute movie from PBS highlights the work of a group of female, middle school students in a science club. Very short cartoon portions of the video can be edited off of the beginning and end. The goal of the group of students is to improve the ...

  • Students investigate soil erosion by completing research of erosion, current/recent landslides, and planting a model hillside garden to best prevent erosion.

  • Using dilemma cards describing some of the issues affecting Yellowstone National Park, students work in small groups to consider management issues that meet both of the conflicting mandates that the National Park Service must follow." There are 6 dil ...

  • A resource specifically aimed to improve the content knowledge of an educator who plans to teach about the flow of matter and energy in ecosystems. Gives thorough explanation through text, graphics, and animations of all relevant ideas and how all of ...

  • This lesson engages students in exploring the phenomenon of soil erosion at the beach, and in designing solutions to mitigate it.  In part one of this lesson, students research how wave energy affects shorelines, predict the relationship be ...

  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • In this series of games, your students will learn about biodiversity, why it is important to an ecosystem, and what threatens it. The Biodiversity and Health of Ecosystems learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved stu...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the importance of biodiversity and the impact of human activity on ecosystems. The Biodiversity and Humans learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student eng...

  • This is a collection of lessons produced for the NOAA Teacher @ Sea Program.

  • In this activity, students collect data and analyze the cost of using energy in their homes and investigate one method of reducing energy use. This activity provides educators and students with the means to connect 'energy use consequences' and 'clim...

  • Students explore how various energy sources can be used to cause a turbine to rotate and then generate electricity with a magnet.

  • In this activity learners work in pairs or small groups to evaluate energy use in their school and make recommendations for improved efficiency. Students create and use an energy audit tool to collect data and present recommendations to their class. ...

  • In this activity, students distinguish between directly and indirectly transmitted diseases and participate in a group game to simulate the spread of vector-borne diseases. They then research a particular pathogenic disease to learn how global warmin...

  • This activity includes an assessment, analysis, and action tool that can be used by classrooms to promote understanding of how the complex current issues of energy, pollution, supply, and consumption are not just global but also local issues.

  • This video examines what will happen to crops as Earth's temperature rises and soils dry out because of changing climate.

  • This video is the second of three short videos showcasing the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems. The video highlights the marine mammals and birds and how they depend on Arctic sea ice, as well as questions about how these animals will c...

  • A collection of repeat photography of glaciers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The photos are taken years apart at or near the same location, and at the same time of year. These images illustrate how dramatically glacier positions...

  • This video illustrates conditions under which two infectious diseases - cholera and dengue fever - flourish, and how climate change is likely to exacerbate those conditions. Note: you may need to scroll down the Changing Planet video page to get to ...

  • This video provides background information and teaching tips about the history and relevance of phenology and seasonal observations of plants and animals within the context of rural Wisconsin.

  • In this video, a team of paleontologists, paleobotanists, soil scientists, and other researchers take to the field in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin to document how the climate, plants, and animals there changed during the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum ...

  • C-ROADS is a simplified version of a climate simulator. Its primary purpose is to help users understand the long-term climate effects (CO2 concentrations, global temperature, sea level rise) of various customized actions to reduce fossil fuel CO2 em...

  • This video describes the effect of a warming climate on the tundra biome and specifically the impacts of changing climate on the Rocky Mountain Pika, a small mammal that struggles with summer heat.

  • This video provides a comprehensive introduction to the role of coral reefs, the physiology of corals, and the impacts of ocean warming and acidification on coral survival. It highlights experts from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and the U...

  • This video features changes in the land, sea, and animals that are being observed by the residents of Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, Canada — many of whom hunt, trap, and fish—because of their long-standing and intimate connection with the...

  • This interactive shows the extent of the killing of lodgepole pine trees in western Canada. The spread of pine beetle throughout British Columbia has devastated the lodgepole pine forests there. This animation shows the spread of the beetle and the i...

  • The video addresses impact of warming temperatures on major lakes of the world with specific focus on Lake Superior and Lake Tanganyika. It discusses the science of water stratification and its impact on lake ecosystems and on human populations whos...

  • This is the first of three short videos showcasing the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems. This introduction to the impacts of climate change in Alaska includes interviews with Alaska Natives, commentary by scientists, and footage from Al...

  • This video clip highlights the effort on by a group of young students to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in the city of Santa Monica. The video documents the effort and provides visual testimony of the effects that trash and specifically plastic...

  • Coral Reefs in Hot Water is a short video displaying computerized data collected on the number of reefs impacted by coral bleaching around the world.

  • This activity is a learning game in which student teams are each assigned a different energy source. Working cooperatively, students use their reading, brainstorming, and organizational skills to hide the identity of their team’s energy source whil...

  • This is a National Geographic short video that briefly describes how succulent plants in the South African Karoo biome are dying off due to changes in climate.

  • This PBS video shows how Klaus Lackner, a geophysicist at Columbia University, is trying to tackle the problem of rising atmospheric CO2 levels by using an idea inspired by his daughter's 8th-grade science fair project. The video examines the idea of...

  • This video introduces phytoplankton - the base of the marine food web, the source of half of the oxygen on Earth, and an important remover of CO2 from the atmosphere. The video also explains how satellites are used to monitor phytoplankton and how wa...

  • A short video on how changing climate is impacting the ecosystem and thereby impacting traditional lifestyles of the Athabaskan people of Alaska.

  • This Flash animation describes how hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxili...

  • This audio slideshow examines the changes in the ecosystem that will occur to the Arctic due to increasing temperatures and disappearing sea ice.

  • This video focuses on the science of climate change and its impacts on wildlife on land and in the sea, and their habitats in the U.S. There are short sections on walruses, coral reefs, migrating birds and their breeding grounds, freshwater fish, bee...

  • In this video, the mountain pine beetle problem is explained by two scientists. Their research investigates the beetle and how climate change is hastening its spread.

  • This video looks at the impact of changing climate on animal habitats around the world, showing how different creatures are responding to changing temperatures and precipitation patterns.

  • In this video, students learn that the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 was not the sole cause of the decline of species in the local ecosystem. Rather, an explanation is posited for why some animal populations were already in decline when th...

  • This video is part of the Climate Science in a Nutshell video series. This short video looks at the effects of climate change happening right now around the globe, including: more extreme weather events, droughts, forest fires, land use changes, alte...

  • In this video segment, two students discuss the greenhouse effect and visit with research scientists at Biosphere 2 in Arizona, who research the effects of global climate change on organisms in a controlled facility. Their current research (as of 200...

  • This video segment depicts how climate change is impacting the migration of Canada's barren-ground caribou. Changes in the plant community and tree lines will change the prime habitat for some herds of caribou. Caribou are faced with adapting to thes...

  • This video documents the scope of changes in the Arctic, focusing on the impacts of warming and climate change on the indigenous Inuit population.

  • In this video, students learn how scientific surveys of wildlife are performed at a site in Yosemite, California. These surveys, in conjunction with studies from the early 1900s, provide evidence that animal populations in Yosemite have shifted over ...

  • This video documents the challenges that climate change presents for four specific Arctic predators: polar bears, Arctic foxes, beluga whales, and walruses.

  • In this short video segment Native Americans talk about climate change and how it impacts their lives as they experience unexpected changes in environmental conditions. They describe observed changes in seasonality, how these changes affect ecosystem...

  • This video profiles the Arctic Inuit community of Sachs Harbour and its collaboration with scientists studying climate change. Changes in the land, sea, and animals are readily apparent to the residents of Sachs Harbour—many of whom hunt, trap, and...

  • This video features CU Boulder Professor Jeff Mitton and his research team, who study the effects of mountain pine beetle infestations on the forest ecology in the Rocky Mountains. They explain the pine beetle life cycle and how they attack trees. A...

  • This video features the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment Experiment near Cheyenne WY, where scientists expose mixed-grass prairie to higher temperatures and CO2 concentrations to study impacts on the prairie for late in this century.

  • This slideshow lays out a photo story with short descriptions of how designers of city buildings all over the world are taking climate change and rising sea level seriously.

  • In this video, scientist Dr. Susan Prichard discusses the impact of pine bark beetles on western forests. She explains how climate change, specifically rising temperatures, is exacerbating the problem.

  • This video from ClimateCentral looks at the way climate conditions can affect vegetation in the West, and what influence this has on wildfires. Drought and rainfall can have very different wildfire outcomes, depending on vegetation type, extent, and ...

  • In this interactive, students can investigate a typical hydrogen fuel cell prototype car from its fuel cell stacks to its ultracapacitor, a kind of supplementary power source. The limited-production vehicle seen in this feature is a Honda 2005 FC...

  • In this activity, students conduct a life cycle assessment of energy used and produced in ethanol production, and a life cycle assessment of carbon dioxide used and produced in ethanol production.

  • In this video, NOAA’s Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center, recaps the temperature and precipitation data for the continental US in summer 2012. It describes how these conditions have led to drou...

  • This short activity provides a way to improve understanding of a frequently-published diagram of global carbon pools and fluxes. Students create a scaled 3-D visual of carbon reservoirs and the movement of carbon between reservoirs.

  • This beautifully filmed and produced video describes the changes that global warming is already bringing to Northern Canada and Greenland. Local people describe changes to ecosystems, impacts on culture and life styles, and the challenges of melting ...

  • This video segment features subsistence fishing and harvesting in the Northwestern US. The segment was adapted from a student video produced at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington.

  • In this video segment, adapted from a student video produced at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham Washington, Native American elders discuss the impact of climate change on salmon populations and the importance of restoring balance in the natura...

  • This video presents predictions and solutions for range shifts (wildlife corridors) by an iconic species of North American wilderness: the wolverine.

  • This video illustrates how one community developed and implemented a sustainable solution to help keep stream water cool enough for healthy fish. Their solution has the added benefit of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • This video shows 15 years of data obtained via Polar-orbiting satellites that are able to detect subtle differences in ocean color, allowing scientists to see where there are higher concentrations of phytoplankton - a proxy for the concentration of c...

  • This video follows Bermuda scientists into the field as they collect data that documents a warming trend in ocean temperatures. BIOS Director Tony Knapp discusses some of the impact of warming temperatures on sea levels, storms, and marine ecosystems...

  • Global Forest Watch is an interactive, online forest monitoring and alert system that provides users globally with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.

  • This activity relates water temperature to fishery health within inland freshwater watersheds as a way to explore how environmental factors of an ecosystem affect the organisms that use those ecosystems as important habitat.

  • This video highlights specific climate change-related phenomena that are threatening the flora and fauna of Yellowstone National Park.

  • This sequence of activities using real-world data to explain the importance of coral reefs and the relationship of coral reef health to the surrounding environment. Unit includes five activities.

  • In this activity, students explore real data about renewable energy potential in their state using a mapping tool developed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) to investigate the best locations for wind energy, solar energy, hydropower, g...

  • This small-group activity uses engineering concepts to design energy systems for three off-the-grid towns in Mali, Ethiopia, and Namibia.

  • In this activity, students work through the process of evaluating the feasibility of photovoltaic solar power in 4 different US cities.

  • This 10-question quiz covers some of the major impacts to human health caused by climate change.

  • This video documents the effects of increasing global temperatures on biodiversity (changes in distribution, range, and numbers) and human populations. Adaptations to climate change are also outlined.

  • Students gain first-hand experience with the steps of the scientific method as well as the overarching engineering design process as they conduct lab research with the aim to create a bioplastic with certain properties. Students learn about the light...

  • Students are presented with a guide to rain garden construction in an activity that culminates the unit and pulls together what they have learned and prepared in materials during the three previous associated activities. They learn about the four ver...

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