Ideal for grade 7, Interactions & Ecosystem pack provides 25 instructional hours, each of the four unit sections has a suite of resources with common elements:
Section 1: "Why is it Important to Understand Ecosystems?" is approximately 255 minutes long and includes:
Interactive Lesson: This lesson illustrates how life-supporting environments meet the needs of living things, describes examples of interaction and interdependency within an ecosystem, investigates the link between human wants and needs and environmental impacts, and identifies the need for scientific knowledge that can inform decisions that have impacts on environments.
From Earth to You Activity: Students follow one of their favourite meals from production to digestion. They predict which part of the meal will take the most energy to produce and do research to discover the answer
What's Your Ecological Footprint Activity: Students discover their impact on the environment by using a web-based ecological footprint calculator.
Video: Beavers have a large impact on Canadian ecosystems. Our host, Mandi, and a naturalist and educator, Lisa, consider our relationship with beavers and why it’s important to learn about them and other parts of the ecosystem.
By the end of section 1 students should be able to:
- Investigate and describe relationships between humans and their environments, and identify related issues and scientific questions.
- Illustrate how life-supporting environments meet the needs of living things for nutrients, energy sources, moisture, suitable habitat, and exchange of gases.
- Describe examples of interaction and interdependency within an ecosystem.
- Identify examples of human impacts on ecosystems, and investigate and analyze the link between these impacts and the human wants and needs that give rise to them.
- Analyze personal and public decisions that involve consideration of environmental impacts, and identify needs for scientific knowledge that can inform those decisions.
Section 2: "How Does Matter and Energy Flow Through Ecosystems?" is approximately 220 minutes long and includes:
Interactive Lesson: This lesson identifies biotic and abiotic components, and describes interactions among these components, describes how energy is supplied to and flows through a food web, describes the process of cycling carbon and water through an ecosystem, and identifies mechanisms by which pollutants enter and move through the environment.
Cycles of Nature Activity: Students use what they have learned about water and carbon cycles to move water molecules and carbon tokens through an ecosystem, figure out how the two cycles are related, and look at what might happen if the cycles were unbalanced.
Energy Flow and Bio-accumulation Activity: In this activity, students will learn about energy flow and the bioaccumulation of pollutants in an energy pyramid.
Predator Prey Game Activity: In this lively activity, students play a basic predator/prey game, make predictions about how the balance could change, and then play their revised version.
Video: Mandi meets Virgil, a cattle farmer who has a good reason to know all about how carbon and energy flow through his cows.
By the end of section 2 students should be able to:
- Trace and interpret the flow of energy and materials within an ecosystem.
- Analyze an ecosystem to identify biotic and abiotic components, and describe interactions among these components.
- Analyze ecosystems to identify producers, consumers and decomposers; and describe how energy is supplied to and flows through a food web,
- Describing and giving examples of energy and nutrient storage in plants and animals
- Describing how matter is recycled in an ecosystem through interactions among plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms.
- Interpreting food webs, and predicting the effects of changes to any part of a web.
- Describe the process of cycling carbon and water through an ecosystem.
- Identify mechanisms by which pollutants enter and move through the environment, and can become concentrated in some organisms.
Section 3: "How Do We Know How an Ecosystem is Changing?" is 300+ minutes long and includes:
Interactive Lesson: This lesson describes and interprets distribution patterns of living things found in a given habitat, investigates and interprets evidence of interaction and change, and identifies signs of ecological succession in local ecosystems.
Monitoring a Boreal Forest Activity: This activity allows students to become familiar with some careers in ecology and the various tools used to monitor the plants and animals of a boreal forest. The information that students gather here will lead into the unit project.
Do-It-Yourself Monitoring Activity: The Ignition Pack kit contains a number of tools that can be used in a local ecosystem.
Understanding Changes in an Ecosystem (Project Part 1): As they consider the effects of the Mountain pine Beetle on the forest, students are challenged to investigate the interactions between the plants and animals and analyze the data from the monitoring activity. They will also consider the role of succession in the forest as it recovers from infestation.
Video: Mandi meets Patrick, an ecology graduate student, who sheds some light on why they are standing in a sunny spot in the middle of a forest (it’s all about succession)!
By the end of section 3 students should be able to:
- Monitor a local environment, and assess the impacts of environmental factors on the growth, health and reproduction of organisms in that environment.
- Investigate a variety of habitats, and describe and interpret distribution patterns of living things found in those habitats.
- Investigate and interpret evidence of interaction and change.
- Identify signs of ecological succession in local ecosystems.
Section 4: "How Can We Decide What Actions to Take?" is approximately 445 minutes long and includes:
Interactive Lesson: This lesson identifies intended and unintended consequences of human activities within local and global environments, describes and interprets examples of scientific investigations that serve to inform environmental decision making, illustrates, through examples, the limits of scientific and technological knowledge in making decisions about environments, and prepares students to analyze a local environmental issue or problem based on evidence from a variety of sources, and identify possible actions and consequences.
The Town Hall Activity: Students take on the roles of stakeholders in a town where a logging company wants to expand.
Video: Mandi and Lindsey, an environmental advisor, discover the Beaverhills Initiative where many stakeholders are working together to make decisions and take action based on their research.
Understanding Changes in an Ecosystem (Project Part 2): Students determine how carbon and water move through the boreal forest and consider how research has contributed to our understanding of ecosystems.
Discovering Changes in an Ecosystem (Project Part 3): Students determine how a damaged forest might be reclaimed.
Summative Assessment Project: Students are challenged to create new ecosystems in a
creative project that will act as summative assessment for most of the unit.
By the end of section 4 students should be able to:
- Describe the relationships among knowledge, decisions and actions in maintaining life-supporting environments.
- Identify intended and unintended consequences of human activities within local and global environments.
- Describe and interpret examples of scientific investigations that serve to inform environmental decision making.
- Illustrate, through examples, the limits of scientific and technological knowledge in making decisions about life-supporting environments.
- Analyze a local environmental issue or problem based on evidence from a variety of sources, and identify possible actions and consequences.