Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Ecosystems, and supports students’ understanding that organisms are dependent on their interactions with living and nonliving things in their environments. 

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students to think about the following questions:

  • Think about an animal living in the wild. What are some things it needs to survive?
  • How does an animal in the wild get shelter or food?
  • What are some things, living or nonliving, that wild animals interact with?

 

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.  
  • Have students read one of the two Related Reading articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

 

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Take on the perspective of the bunny. Make a movie explaining why you are important to your ecosystem. Talk about how you interact and support other organisms and what might happen if you weren’t there.
  • Make-a-Map: Create an ecosystem web showing the ways different organisms depend on each other within an environment. Use the example of the bunny or think of another animal you know about.
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast headline explaining how human destruction of one organism can create dangerous cascade effects within an ecosystem.


Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they learned about ecosystems. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • How are organisms dependent on each other?
  • How does the number of predators in an ecosystem affect the rest of the population of that ecosystem?
  • Why is it essential for humans to understand how ecosystems function? What would be the consequences if we ignored this information?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with an Ecosystems Challenge

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Lesson Plan Next Generation Science Standards Alignments

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