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    Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. MS-LS2-3

    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

  • SL.8.5 - Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. (MS-LS2-3)

Mathematics

  • 6.EE.C.9 - Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation. (MS-LS2-3)

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.
  •    The Ecosystems unit is one of six unit in the Carbon TIME curriculum, which focus on carbon-transforming processes from the molecular scale to the global scale.  Ecosystems are larger systems where carbon-transforming processes ...

  • This resource is an interactive model showing the role of soil in the carbon cycle.   Using arrows to represent the cycling of the carbon through the soil under a variety of conditions, it gives a visual depiction of the process.  Stud ...

  • In this two-part lesson, students develop food webs and investigate human impacts on marine ecosystems. In Part I, students explore the ecological role of organisms in an ocean habitat and use information provided on Food Web Cards to develop food ch ...

  • 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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  • In this series of games, your students will learn how organisms consume and transfer energy in an ecosystem. The Food Webs in an Ecosystem learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic perf...

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

  • 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.

  • This activity uses a mix of multimedia resources and hands-on activities to support a storyline of investigation into melting sea and land ice.

  • 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 activity illustrates the carbon cycle using an age-appropriate hook, and it includes thorough discussion and hands-on experimentation. Students learn about the geological (ancient) carbon cycle; they investigate the role of dinosaurs in the carb...

  • 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...

  • This hands-on activity is a kinesthetic game illustrating the dynamics of the carbon cycle. Acting as carbon atoms, students travel from one carbon reservoir to another. At each reservoir they determine, by rolling dice, how long they stay in the res...

  • 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.

  • This is a hands-on inquiry activity using zip-lock plastic bags that allows students to observe the process of fermentation and the challenge of producing ethanol from cellulosic sources. Students are asked to predict outcomes and check their observa...

  • 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 3-part lab activity, students investigate how carbon moves through the global carbon cycle and study the effects of specific feedback loops on the carbon cycle.

  • 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 role of combustion in the carbon cycle. They learn that carbon flows among reservoirs on Earth through processes such as respiration, photosynthesis, combustion, and decomposition, and that combustion of fossil ...

  • This animated video outlines Earth's energy. The video presents a progression from identifying the different energy systems to the differences between external and internal energy sources and how that energy is cycled and used.

  • In this activity, students explore the way that human activities have changed the way that carbon is distributed in Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere.

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

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