Ecology Lesson Plan for High School

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

In this lesson, you will introduce students to the study of ecology. Reinforce concepts learned with class discussion, group work, and a culminating activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'ecology' and related key terms
  • provide the four levels of study in ecology
  • list biotic and abiotic factors in an environment
  • diagram relationships between organisms in an environment by creating a detailed food web


30-60 minutes


  • Poster boards
  • Markers/colored pencils/ crayons
  • If available, access to computers with color printers

Key Vocabulary

  • ecology
  • biotic
  • abiotic
  • food web

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


  • Begin the lesson with a brief whole-class discussion of the meaning of the prefix 'eco-.' What does 'eco-' mean? Where have you heard the prefix used before?
  • Play the video lesson What Is Ecology? - Definition & Explanation.
  • Pause the video for a moment at 00:39. Ask:
    • 'What does 'eco-' mean, then? Discuss as a class, comparing their 'before' answers to those they now provide.
  • Resume the video. Pause it again at 2:22.
  • Break students into groups of 2-4 and ask them to choose an environment somewhere on Earth.
  • Once groups have their environment chosen, ask them to list all of the biotic and abiotic factors they can think of for that environment. Move the video back to 1:20 if students need help deciding what is biotic and what is abiotic.
  • Resume the video from 2:22 and allow students to finish watching the lesson.

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