Ecological Niche Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is an ecological niche? Use this lesson plan along with a video lesson to help your students learn the answer to this question. A puzzle activity explores the concept further.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'ecological niche'
  • list specific examples of ecological niches
  • discuss the relationship between ecological niches and the survival of an organism


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • 3-LS4-3

Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.


Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.


  • Paper copies of the quiz worksheet from the associated video lesson
  • Textbooks or other resources providing information about the organisms that make up a particular environment (e.g. forest, desert, ocean, lake)
  • White cardstock
  • Markers
  • Scissors


  • Ask students to list three characteristics of their ecological niche.
  • Have the students take turns sharing their ideas.
    • Was it difficult to describe your ecological niche? Why or why not?
  • Play the video lesson Ecological Niche: Definition & Importance, pausing it at 0:39.
    • What is an ecological niche?
    • How do biotic and abiotic factors factor into ecological niches?
    • How might you change your descriptions of your ecological niche if given the chance?
  • Resume the video lesson. Pause it this time at 2:06.
    • How does access to food impact one's ecological niche?
    • What is the role of survival in regard to the ecological niche?
    • How do ecological niches work together to create successful environments?
  • Resume the video lesson. Pause it this time at 2:40.
    • Why does the uniqueness of an organism's ecological niche increase its chances of a successful life?
    • What is unique about the ecological niche of the polar bear?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson for the class.
  • Review key facts about ecological niches with the class before continuing.
  • Distribute the quiz worksheet to the class, one to each student.
  • Have students work independently to complete the worksheet using what they learned about ecological niches to do so.
  • When everyone in class has finished the worksheet, allow students to share and discuss their answers with one another before reviewing them with the class.

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