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    Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems. MS-LS2-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. 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

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed world(s).

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


  • 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.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-LS2-2)
  • RST.6-8.8 - Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text. (MS-LS2-5)
  • SL.8.1 - Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (MS-LS2-2)
  • SL.8.4 - Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. (MS-LS2-2)
  • WHST.6-8.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (MS-LS2-2)
  • WHST.6-8.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research. (MS-LS2-2)


  • 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)
  • 6.SP.B.5 - Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context. (MS-LS2-2)
  • 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.
  • Do Insects Prefer Local Or Foreign Foods? is a lesson plan that provides a sequence of learning activities to help students understand what might determine if an exotic species will become invasive.  This lesson is divided into four parts. ...

  • "The Jubilee Phenomenon" is a lesson plan that provides a sequence of learning exercises to help students understand what is locally known as a "Mobile Bay jubilee"(Alabama) and the importances of preserving estuaries.  The l ...

  • "Architects of Seamount Ecosystems" is a three part lesson plan that introduces students to the fascinating world of the ecologically critical seamount ecosystems.  Students participate in the construction of a Sierpinski Triangle to d ...

  • 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 ...

  • This lesson utilizes a video clip of a visit to the Everglades, short articles for students to read, a series of slides and a suggested project for students to complete. Students sign up for a pbsteacherline.org account (no email required) to save th ...

  • This article describes an interactive lesson in which the complexity of food webs and ecosystems is explored.  Students generate a list of organisms in a Pacific aquatic ecosystem, assign each organism to a student, and then link the organisms t ...

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