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ECOLOGY Grade Level: Presented by: Length of Unit: Third Grade Beth Lewis and Lili Mueh, Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy Five Lessons (2-3 weeks; lessons may take more than one day each) I. ABSTRACT This unit focuses on teaching third grade students many basic elements of ecology, which will be taught sequentially and culminate in the study of ecosystems and the impact humans may have upon them. In order to understand the interconnected nature of the organisms within an ecosystem, students
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  ECOLOGY Grade Level: Third Grade Presented by: Beth Lewis and Lili Mueh, Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy   Length of Unit: Five Lessons (2-3 weeks; lessons may take more than one day each) I. ABSTRACT This unit focuses on teaching third grade students many basic elements of ecology, which will be taught sequentially and culminate in the study of ecosystems and the impact humans may have upon them. In order to understand the interconnected nature of the organisms within an ecosystem, students must first understand the different roles the organisms play within that ecosystem. Students will therefore be taught that 1) animals can be classified by what they consume, and 2) animals play various roles in a food chain. Food chains will be examined as part of a larger ecosystem, and the impact of removing an element from the food chain will also be studied. Students will also learn how humans have impacted the environment and how these impacts can be rectified. The ultimate goal of this unit is to enable students to study the ecosystem in which they reside, recognize the relationships of living things in the world around them, and recognize their own role in ecology. II. OVERVIEW A. Concept Objectives for this unit:   1. Understand that living things are interconnected and play different roles in the environment. 2. Develop an awareness of human impact on the environment. 3. Develop an awareness of their local environment. B. Content covered from Third Grade Core Knowledge Sequence 1. Roles of living things in the environment (food chains, producer, consumer, decomposer, carnivore, herbivore, omnivore) 2. Definition of ecosystem 3. What happens when a link of a food chain is removed and how this problem is resolved. 4. Environmental issues (air pollution, water pollution, endangerment of animals) 5. Environmental Solutions (Solutions to issues presented in Lesson 4) C. Skills 1. Students will be able to distinguish where producers, consumers, and decomposers get their food. 2. Students will be able to classify living things as producers, consumers, and decomposers. 3. Students will be able to define omnivore, carnivore, and herbivore. 4. Students will be able to name different components of a specific ecosystem. 5. Students will be able to describe the impact a missing link of a food chain will have on the rest of the food chain. 6. Students will be able to analyze the human role in the Colorado Springs/Front Range ecosystem. 7. Students will be able to analyze the causes and effects of air, water, and land  pollution. 8. Students will be able to identify the endangerment of animals as an environmental problem. 9. Students will be able to define ecology and ecologist. 10. Students will be able to list three ways we can help the environment.  11. Students will be able to define recycle and conserve. 12. Students will be able to define a national park and identify John Muir as one of their founders. III. BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE A. The majority of the ideas in this unit came from two sources: 1. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch, and 2. The Baltimore Curriculum Project IV. RESOURCES A. Amos, J.  Animals in Danger. (No City):Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishing, 1993. (No ISBN#). B.  Baltimore Curriculum Project.  C. Hirsch, E.D. What Your 3 rd   Grader Needs To Know.  New York:Doubleday, 1992. ISBN#0-385-31257-1. D. Jeffers, S.  Brother Eagle, Sister Sky.  New York:Dial, 1991. ISBN#0-80370-969-2. V. LESSONS Lesson One: Where Animals Get Their Food (Duration of Lesson: approximately 2 days) A. Daily Objectives 1. Lesson Content a. Roles of living things 2. Concept Objectives a. Understand that living things are interconnected and play different roles in the environment. 3. Skill Objectives a. Students will be able to distinguish where producers, consumers, and decomposers get their food.  b. Students will be able to classify living things as producers, consumers, and decomposers. c. Students will be able to define herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore. B. Materials 1. Energy Game (Appendix A) 2. 1 copy per student of food chain diagram (Appendix B) 3. 1 copy of food chain diagram, copied onto transparency 4. overhead projector 5. 1 red pepper, cut in half 6. 1 ziplock bag 7. 1 fill-in-the-blanks sheet per student (Appendix C) 8. 1 Label the food chain sheet per student (Appendix D) C. Background Notes 1.  Note:  before beginning lesson, review basic needs of animals (food, water, and shelter) from What Your First Grader Needs to Know,  p. 277. 2. Taken from  What Your Third Grader Needs to Know , pages 271 – 273 Living things that create their own food are producers. Living things that eat other living things are consumers. Living things that break down the dead bodies of other living things that have died are decomposers.  3. Adapted from  Baltimore Curriculum Project Living things that eat only plants are herbivores. Living things that eat only meat are carnivores. Living things that eat both plants and meat are herbivores. D. Key Vocabulary 1. Producer – a   living thing that makes its own food    2. Consumer – a living thing that eats other living things   3. Decomposer – a   living thing that breaks down the bodies of other living things after they have died    4. Herbivore – a living thing that eats only plants   5. Carnivore – a living thing that eats only the bodies of other animals   6. Omnivore - a living thing that eats both plants and the bodies of other animals   7.  Nutrients – vitamins (clarify that these are not the vitamins that we buy at the  store. They are invisible and are used to make food andmake the plant healthier.) 8. Cycle – like a circle E. Procedures/Activities 1. Vocabulary   a. Write vocabulary words on the board and review as a class. 2.  Brainstorm as a class a. How are animals connected? Write answers on board.  b. What do animals eat? Write answers on board. c. We have been learning about the different groups and types of animals. d. Today we are going to talk about where they get their food. 3.  Review roles in food chain a. Write “producer” on board.  b. A producer is a living thing that makes its own food inside its body. All  plants are producers. c. Give several examples non-examples (tell what is not a producer) d. Who can name a producer? e. Write acceptable answers on board under “producer.” f. Write “consumer” on board. g. A consumer is a living thing that eats other living things. h. Give examples and non-examples (tell what is not a consumer). i. Who can name a consumer?  j. Write acceptable answers on board under “consumer.” k. Write “decomposer” on the board. l. A decomposer is a living thing that eats the bodies of other living things after they have died. m. Give examples and non-examples (tell what is not a decomposer.) n. Can anyone name a decomposer? o. Write acceptable answers under “decomposer.” 4.  Label food chain diagram (Appendix A) a. Pass out food chain diagram; show transparency on overhead.  b. Work together as a class to label line next to each picture with “producer,” “consumer,” or “decomposer.” 5.  Discuss exchange of energy in a food chain. a. When you are tired and you eat, what do you get from your food?  b. Write “energy” in large letters on board.  c. Animals also eat to get energy. When one animal eats a plant, what does it get from the plant? d. Label the arrow between plant and first animal on food chain diagram “energy.” e. When one animal eats another, what does it get from the first animal? f. Label the arrow between animals. g. When a decomposer eats a dead body, what does it get? h. Label the arrow between animal and decomposer. i. Decomposers create nutrients or vitamins in the soil.  j. Label the arrow between decomposer and plant “nutrients.” k. The plants use these nutrients to grow. So what are the plants getting? l. Label other side of arrow “energy.” m. We call this a food chain, because each piece is connected to the pieces  before and after it. We say that energy moves through the food chain in a cycle, because it goes in a never-ending circle. 6.  Play Energy Game (Appendix B). 7.  Discuss herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore. a. What kinds of things do consumers eat?  b. List on board. c. We can put consumers into three groups by what they eat. d. Write “herbivore,” “carnivore,” and “omnivore” on board next to each other. e. Herbivores eat plants. f. Write “plants” under herbivore and circle. g. Which animals are herbivores? h. List correct answers under “herbivore.” i. Carnivores eat the bodies of other animals. We call this meat.  j. Write “meat” under carnivore and circle. k. Which animals are carnivores? l. List correct answers under “carnivore.” m. Omnivores eat both plants and meat. n. Write “plants and meat” under omnivore and circle. o. Which animals are carnivores?  p. List correct answers under “omnivore.” q. What do humans eat? r. Discuss which category humans would fit into. s. That means that we are omnivorous consumers! 8.  Review producer, consumer, decomposer, herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore. F. Evaluation/Assessment 1. Fill in the blanks sheet and Label the food chain sheet (Appendix C & D) G. Standardized Test/State Test Connections 1. Colorado Science Standards 3.1c, 3.1d, 3.2a, 3.2b, 5.1, 6.4 Lesson Two: What is an Ecosystem? (Duration: 1 – 2 days) A. Daily Objectives 1. Lesson Content a. Roles of living things in the environment (food chains, producer, consumer, decomposer, carnivore, herbivore, omnivore)
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