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This lesson is on the Interaction between Living and Nonliving things in an Ecosystem


Language Arts, Math, Science  


4, 5, 6  

Title – A Local Ecosystem
By – Jennifer Dalke
Subject – Science, Language Arts, Math
Grade Level – 4-6
**Note – This lesson plan uses some handout(s) that are not available, however, much of the lesson plan can be completed without the handout(s).

Integrated Subjects
Math, Language Arts

Skills Used
Observing; Classifying; Measuring; Inferring; Communicating; Predicting

Key Vocabulary

Lesson Time
45 – 60 minutes

State Goals
11.A.2b, 11.A.2c, 11.A.2d, 11.A.2e, 12.B.2a, 12.B.2b, 13.A.2a, 13.A.2b

Conceptual Objective
Students will understand the concept that living things interact with nonliving things and with one another to meet their needs, forming an ecosystem.

Process Objective
Students will use science process skills to examine a plot of ground, make a chart to illustrate findings, and write a paragraph that describes what they observed.

* gloves
* metersticks
* wooden stakes
* garden trowel
* aluminum or plastic trays
* paper towels
* hand lenses
* toothpicks
* handouts

1. Separate students into groups of four, explaining that the key to this activity is sharing observation.
2. Discuss with children the idea of ecosystems. Ask for ideas on what makes up an ecosystem. Tell children that they will do an activity that will demonstrate just how an ecosystem works.
3. Pass out all supplies.
4. Have children use a meterstick to measure a plot of ground that is 1 square meter. Mark off the areas with wooden stakes at each corner.
5. Have children predict the kinds of living and nonliving things they’ll find in their plots and how they’ll interact. Students should record their observations on handout.
6. Make observations and record on the chart in handout.
7. Instruct students to place a moist paper towel on the bottom of a tray. They should use a garden trowel to take a small sample of soil from the plot and spread the soil on the paper towel.
8. Instruct students to use a handlens and toothpick to examine the soil for living and nonliving things and record observations on chart in handout.
9. Have students empty trays in the same spot which they took the sample from.
10. Collect supplies.
11. Instruct students to write a paragraph that describes which living and nonliving things made up the plot they observed: How do these things form an ecosystem?

1. Assess whether the student’s predictions about ecosystems were accurate. Did students also list air and water as parts of the system?
2. Did student correctly classify the living and nonliving things they examined?
3. Were student’s observations detailed?
4. Did student show evidence to support his/her conclusions about the area as being an ecosystem (in the written paragraph)?

1. Students may get bacteria on their hands, so they must be sure to wash hands with soap and water after the activity.
2. Some students may be disgusted by the insects or other organisms in the plot. Teacher should allow such children to observe while other group members examine with a toothpick.

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