Ecosystem Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde
What ecosystem do your students live in? Teach them the answer to this and other questions about ecosystems with this lesson plan. A text lesson provides direct instruction of facts, followed by a comprehension game, quiz, and activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'ecosystem'
  • describe differing types of ecosystems and their characteristics
  • investigate and report on an ecosystem


50 minutes for core lesson, plus additional time for research, writing and presentation, about 1-2 class periods

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.5

With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6

With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.7

Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.


  • Copies of the lesson Types of Ecosystems: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Audio music and equipment to play it
  • Index cards
  • Poster boards
  • Access to technology and the internet
  • Markers

Key Vocabulary

  • Ecosystems
  • Terrestrial ecosystems
  • Aquatic ecosystems

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Distribute the lesson Types of Ecosystems: Lesson for Kids and read the first paragraph of the first section, 'What Are Ecosystems?', together.
  • Give students five minutes to write about their homes and the ways they interact with their homes and other people in their homes.
  • After five minutes, divide students into partner pairs and have them share their work, then share briefly as a whole class. What are the characteristics of their homes? What are the characteristics of the people in their homes?
  • Now read the rest of the section and define 'ecosystem' together.
  • Have students title a page in their notebooks 'Ecosystems' and write the definition.

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