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    Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem. MS-LS2-1

    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.

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

  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-LS2-1)
  • RST.6-8.7 - Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table). (MS-LS2-1)

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 resource provides a variety of  online materials, including a teacher guide, student worksheets, and videos.  In this lesson sequence, students analyze historic and present-day food webs and graph historic and present-day Chesapeake Ba ...

  • The Middle School unit entitled Climate Change and Michigan Forests consists of 10 lessons on climate change and the local environment in Michigan based on forest ecology research conducted at the University of Michigan. The lessons can be adapted to ...

  • This ecosystem interactive will allow the user to determine the producers and consumers (primary and secondary) in a simulated ecosystem. The user can then see the outcome of including species with particular diets, including the result of how food ...

  • 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 ...

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  • Journey to El Yunque engages students in authentic ecological research about the effects of hurricane disturbance on the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico, which is being conducted as part of the NSF-funded Long-Term Ecological Research program. St...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about nature’s ecosystems and how their inhabitants coexist. The Interactions in Ecosystems learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic p...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn how species compete amongst themselves and with one another, and what influences this competition. The Competition for Resources in Ecosystems learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — ...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the resources organisms need to thrive, and what affects their ability to do so. The Factors Influencing Growth of Individuals and Populations learning objective — based on NGSS and state standa...

  • This is a collection of lessons produced for the NOAA Teacher @ Sea Program. The unit can be reached by visiting the following website: https://sites.google.com/lafayetteschools.org/damidon-teacher-at-sea/home

  • Middle school is full of relationship drama. So is science! This session introduced new, free modules that help students understand relationships between humans and germs in terms of relative size, inter-dependency in ecosystems, and the eternal stru...

  • This modeling sequence allows students to explore how factors, both environmental and otherwise, can affect the relationships within an ecosystem through changes in population size.

  • In this hands-on activity, students will learn about dendrochronology (the study of tree rings to understand ecological conditions in the recent past) and come up with conclusions as to what possible climatic conditions might affect tree growth in th...

  • This classroom activity is aimed at an understanding of different ecosystems by understanding the influence of temperature and precipitation. Students correlate graphs of vegetation vigor with those of temperature and precipitation data for four dive...

  • This teaching activity addresses environmental stresses on corals. Students assess coral bleaching using water temperature data from the NOAA National Data Buoy Center. Students learn about the habitat of corals, the stresses on coral populations, an...

  • In this activity, students examine NASA satellite data to determine if sea surface temperature has reached a point that would cause coral bleaching in the Caribbean.

  • Students explore their own Ecological Footprint in the context of how many Earths it would take if everyone used the same amount of resources they did. They compare this to the Ecological Footprint of individuals in other parts of the world and to t...

  • In this activity, students make a model sea floor sediment core using two types of buttons to represent fossil diatoms. They then compare the numbers of diatom fossils in the sediment at different depths to determine whether the seas were free of ice...

  • This lesson plan has students working in small groups to research the Mountain Pine Beetle in Colorado and other inter-mountain Western states. Students identify the factors that control pine beetle population and research how warmer winters and decr...

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • In this activity, students research various topics about ocean health, e.g. overfishing, habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change, pollution, and ocean acidification. An optional extension activity has them creating an aquatic biosphere ...

  • 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 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.

  • In this lab activity, students use brine shrimp as a proxy for krill to study how environmental factors impact behavioral responses of krill in the unique environment of Antarctica.

  • 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 activity introduces students to plotting and analyzing phenology data. Students use 30 years of data that shows the date of the first lilac bloom and the number of days of ice cover of nearby Gull Lake.

  • This is lesson five of a 9-lesson module. Activity explores the effects of climate change on different parts of the Earth system and on human well-being: polar regions, coral reefs, disease vectors, extreme weather, and biodiversity.

  • Activity is a Project BudBurst/National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) exploration of eco-climactic domains, as defined by NEON, by investigating characteristics of a specific domain and studying two representative plants in that domain.

  • In this activity from NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection, learners investigate how methane hydrates might have been involved with the Cambrian explosion.

  • In this experiment, students investigate the importance of carbon dioxide to the reproductive growth of a marine microalga, Dunalliela sp. (Note that the directions are for teachers and that students protocol sheets will need to be created by teacher...

  • In this activity, students explore the basic living requirements of algae (phytoplankton)through hands-on experience and an interactive game. Students investigate what algal biofuels are, how they are made, where they can grow, and, most importantly,...

  • This lesson sequence guides students to learn about the geography and the unique characteristics of the Arctic, including vegetation, and people who live there. Students use Google Earth to explore the Arctic and learn about meteorological observatio...

  • 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.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers. Part 1 of a 3-part set for the film series.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers II. Part 2 of a 3-part set for the film series.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers III. Part 3 of a 3-part set for the series.

  • From TeachEngineering - Students are introduced to the concept of engineering biological organisms and studying their growth to be able to identify periods of fast and slow growth. They learn that bacteria are found everywhere, including on the surfa...

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