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

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. 

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 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

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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