Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Ecosystems Lesson Plan.

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. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

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 KNOWLEDGE

  • Read aloud the description on the Ecosystems topic page.
  • 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 and ASSESS 

Students take the Ecosystems Challenge and Quiz, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Step 4: EXTEND and DEEPEN

Students express what they learned about ecosystems while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Take on the perspective of the bunny. Make a movie answering these questions: Why are you important to your ecosystem? How do 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.  
  • Primary Source: Examine and analyze a 1937 document and a photograph of the Kudzu plant. 

More to Explore

Simulation: BioDive: This game challenges players to investigate the underwater habitat of venomous marine snails.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Lesson Plan Next Generation Science Standards Alignments

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