About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the Ecology & Ecosystems chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday||The environment and ecosystems; food chains and trophic levels||What makes an environment and an ecosystem, the meaning of ecology, how scientists study ecology using organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems and the biosphere, food chains, food webs, roles organisms play in an ecosystem, how energy flows in an ecosystem|
|Tuesday||Predator/pray interactions and relationships||Why animals look and act as they do, how animal appearances relate to predator/prey relationships, types of symbiosis in biology, how symbiotic relationships have a positive, negative or neutral effect on an individual species|
|Wednesday||Carrying capacity; conservation biology; ecological succession||Species' maximum growth capacities, how species group themselves, why migration occurs, habitat fragmentation and metapopulations, ecological succession from development to climax|
|Thursday||How species alter ecological balance and the exploration of biomes||The ecological impact of a species moving into a new environment, biomes in the desert, tropical rainforest, savanna, coral reefs, tundra, taiga, temperate grasslands and coastlines|
|Friday||The nitrogen and carbon cycles||Differentiate between nitrite and nitrate, explore how all nitrogen in the atmosphere becomes usable, examine the carbon cycle and how it functions on the global scale|
1. The Environment, Levels of Ecology and Ecosystems
Do you know the difference between an environment and an ecosystem? In this lesson, you'll find out what makes an environment, and what makes an ecosystem. You'll also learn what ecology is and some of the ways that scientists study ecology using organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems and even the entire biosphere.
2. Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem
In this lesson, you'll learn about food chains, food webs, and the different roles that organisms play in an ecosystem. You'll also learn about how energy flows through an ecosystem.
3. Predator/Prey Interactions, Camouflage, Mimicry & Warning Coloration
You probably know that skunks can be quite stinky, bees sting and monarch butterflies are pretty, but do you know why? This lesson will introduce you to the reasons why some animals look or act the way they do and how these things relate to the predator/prey relationship.
4. Symbiotic Relationships: Mutualism, Commensalism & Parasitism
If your cat or dog has ever had fleas, you've witnessed symbiosis in action. In this lesson, learn the many types of symbiosis in biology, and how these relationships can have a positive, negative, or neutral effect on the individual species.
5. Carrying Capacity, Migration & Dispersion
Have you ever wondered why some types of birds fly south in the winter or why some animals form territories? Watch this video to learn about a species' maximum growth capabilities, the way its members group themselves and why they might migrate to new locations every year.
6. Conservation Biology, Habitat Fragmentation, and Metapopulations
It's becoming harder to conserve large, unbroken tracts of wilderness. Is there another way for conservation biologists to ensure the survival of a species? In this lesson, you'll learn about habitat fragmentation and metapopulations.
7. Ecological Succession: From Pioneer to Climax Communities
Just as people grow and change so, too, do ecosystems. Watch this lesson to learn about ecological succession from the beginning stages of development to a community's ultimate destination, or climax.
8. How Introduced and Invasive Species Alter Ecological Balance
What happens to your block when a new neighbor moves in? Something changes, right? Now think about that on an ecological scale: what happens to an environment when a new SPECIES moves in?
9. Biomes: Desert, Tropical Rainforest, Savanna, Coral Reefs & More
Take a trip around the world and learn all about different biomes. Why can you only find certain plants and animals in specific places? What are the most fertile climates on Earth? Watch on to answer these and other questions.
10. Biomes: Tundra, Taiga, Temperate Grassland, and Coastlines
Take a trip with us in this lesson, starting in the Pacific Ocean, traveling across California through the Central Valley and up to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We'll learn how oceans, elevation, and people can determine which types of biomes are found in different areas and check out the Earth's most massive and oldest organisms.
11. The Nitrogen Cycle, Acid Rain and Fossil Fuels
Do you know the difference between nitrite and nitrate? Do you have any clue how all the nitrogen in the atmosphere becomes usable? If you can't answer these questions, then you need to watch this lesson on the nitrogen cycle.
12. The Carbon Cycle and Long-Term Carbon Storage
All living organisms have a role in the carbon cycle. Do you know you understand how humans, animals and plants use carbon? This lesson will introduce you to the carbon cycle and explain how it functions on a global scale.
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Other chapters within the Middle School Earth Science Curriculum Resource & Lesson Plans course
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- Understanding Plate Tectonics Lesson Plans
- Understanding Earthquakes Lesson Plans
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- Rock Deformation & Mountains Lesson Plans
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- Earth's Energy Resources Lesson Plans
- Earth's Material Resources Lesson Plans
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