5E Instructional Model Plan: Ecosystem Disruption & Recovery

Contributor
Kiran Purohit, New Visions for Public Schools
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Curriculum , Experiment/Lab Activity , Instructor Guide/Manual , Informative Text , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Model , Phenomenon
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This lesson plan by New Visions for Public Schools is part of a larger unit called “Ecosystems and Invasive Species within a one year course called The Living Environment. Each lesson is part of a unit storyline that helps students engage in three-dimensional learning as they make sense of the anchor phenomenon - the zebra mussel invasion into the Hudson River ecosystem. In this lesson, students explore how ecosystems change over time and how ecosystems respond to disturbances. Each lesson may be used alone using a different investigative phenomenon. The lesson follows the 5E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) and is expected to take 5-8 days. Teachers can select options, such as how groups are formed or the order of the instructional sequence, within each part of the lesson to achieve instructional goals. Extensive instructional support, student handouts, and a final performance assessment task are provided.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

Clarification Statement: Examples of changes in ecosystem conditions could include modest biological or physical changes, such as moderate hunting or a seasonal flood; and extreme changes, such as volcanic eruption or sea level rise.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Throughout this lesson, students engage in three-dimensional learning as they build towards explaining the anchor phenomenon. Using a variety of Group Learning Routines, different ways to engage all students in differentiated classrooms, students explore three case studies of natural disturbances, interpret diagrams on ecological succession, and use reasoning and evidence to explain how ecosystems recover from various disturbances. In the Elaborate section, students test their ideas (and misconceptions) by applying their thinking to a fourth case study, the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. In the Evaluate section, students return to the performance task, introduced earlier in the unit, to examine the evidence for how the zebra mussel may have changed the Hudson River ecosystem over time. The instructional materials recommend that students look at and revise the performance task before, during, and at the end of the lesson. In this way, students can see how their conceptual understanding changes during the course of the lesson.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The performance task associated with this lesson, “Hudson River Ecology”, provides students with the opportunity to construct an explanation and revise it during the course of the lesson. Students are instructed to support their explanation with evidence from different parts of the lesson. Beginning with the introduction of the anchor phenomenon prior to the start of the lesson, teachers may want to encourage students to be thinking critically about their explanations as they encounter new evidence throughout the lesson. In the Elaborate section within this lesson, students are asked the guiding prompt, “How can reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park change the flow of a river?” Students first construct an explanation (a prediction) based on their background knowledge and what they have learned during the Explore and Explain sections. Then, students may revise, confirm, or reject their initial predictions based on evidence from this section.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students are challenged in the Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate sections of the lesson to make claims and to use evidence and reasoning to support those claims. For example, in the Idea Carousel activity, step 3 in the Instructional Sequence for the Explore section, students articulate their ideas about how ecosystems respond to disturbance using evidence from the three case studies. Then, the students evaluate each other’s explanations and offer annotations that show both commonalities and differences among their peers’ understandings and their own. Step 4 in this same section encourages teachers to help students make sense of their understandings prior to moving on to the Explain section. In the Explain section, students use a KWLS chart and a group learning routine called “Talk-Think-Open Exchange” to justify their understandings about primary and secondary succession with evidence from the case studies. Teachers may want to emphasize to students the importance of evidence to support their claims throughout the lesson. In the Evaluate section, students are provided tables to help them identify and apply evidence to support their claims as they construct an explanation about the phenomenon of zebra mussel invasion in the Hudson River.xchange” to justify their understandings about primary and secondary succession with evidence from the case studies. Teachers may want to emphasize to students the importance of evidence to support their claims throughout the lesson. In the Evaluate section, students are provided tables to help them identify and apply evidence to support their claims as they construct an explanation about the phenomenon of zebra mussel invasion in the Hudson River.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
In the Explore section of this lesson, students investigate case studies on how ecosystems respond to different types of disturbances, differing in complexity. For each case, students figure out the most important events and create a sequence chart. Working in small groups, the students confer about questions designed to push their thinking. In step 3 of the Instructional Sequence for this section, a peer review process is recommended to help students share out their ideas. In the Elaborate section, students apply what they have figured out to the even more complex ecosystem found in Yellowstone National Park. This case study provides information about factors that stabilize and factors that disturb an ecosystem. Finally, in the performance task, students have the opportunity to answer the question, “How has the invasion of zebra mussels in the Hudson River affected one biotic or abiotic factor in the river ecosystem?” Teachers may want to encourage students to compare the simple systems they first encounter in the lesson with the more complex systems they consider in subsequent sections and consider ways that complexity may be beneficial to ecosystem functioning.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The driving question of the performance task associated with this lesson, “How has the invasion of zebra mussels in the Hudson River affected one biotic or abiotic factor in the river ecosystem?” provides students with the opportunity to consider how the Hudson River ecosystem may have changed or remained stable after the introduction of zebra mussels. Throughout this lesson, students use a variety of Group Learning Routines such as “Rumors”, “Idea Carousel”, “Talk-Think-Open Exchange”, and a KWLS chart as they construct an explanation to the question, “How do ecosystems respond to disturbances?” Students defend or refute their explanations with evidence throughout the lesson. In the Evaluate section, students answer the question, “How have our ideas on ecosystem disruption and recovery changed?” Tasks such as these help students to construct explanations for how the Hudson River ecosystem may be changing or remaining stable after the introduction of zebra mussels. Teachers will want to help students to keep connecting back to the anchor phenomenon.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson plan within the “Ecosystems and Invasive Species” provides students with rich opportunities to engage in three-dimensional learning as they figure out the impact of zebra mussels on the Hudson River ecosystem. Students develop and use multiple practices, such as asking questions, constructing explanations, and engaging in argument from evidence as they use authentic data and information about current environmental issues affecting ecosystem stability. The crosscutting concept of stability and change links the lesson sections together as students use their understanding to ultimately make a claim and use evidence and reasoning to explain the outcome of this invasive species. Teachers may want to emphasize the crosscutting concept as it may be less obvious to students.

  • Instructional Supports: New Visions for Public Schools provides teachers with abundant resources to support the instruction of this unit. Within the Ecosystems and Invasive Species Unit Plan, teachers will find planning resources, such as a storyline and pacing guide. Within the lesson, teachers have access to materials such as driving questions, alternative resources, student handouts, instructional sequences, group learning routines, and reading strategies. Information about the anchor phenomenon (as well as an associated performance task) will help support instruction of this lesson. Teachers may want to consider using components of other lessons to help students make sense of the anchor phenomenon. A variety of Group Learning Routines to help students deepen their understanding are included within the lesson. Formative assessment opportunities are embedded within the lesson plan and a final performance assessment task is provided for the unit. Instructional strategies, such as “Pre, During, & Post Reading Strategies in Science Classrooms” help make student thinking explicit and provide opportunities for teachers to modify instruction during the lesson. Guidance for teachers to support differentiated instruction is provided by including materials such as alternative lab activities and graphic organizers. Teachers are encouraged to explore the website for other resources not mentioned in this evaluation.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Through multiple graphic organizers, handouts, peer sharing, and tasks, this lesson provides many ways for teachers to monitor student progress. However, there is no scoring guidance nor are there any examples of student work. Further support may be required to provide students with equally accessible tasks.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -