THE WONDER OF OR OUR LIVING PLANET: Ecology and the Interconnectedness of Earth, Air, Water & Life

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Essential Questions: 
  • How are living organisms connected to each other and to their environment?
  • What role does competition and cooperation play in an ecosystem?
  • How do limiting factors affect population growth and how does population growth affect the environment?
  • How is matter and energy cycled through the environment?
  • How does ecology allow us to predict the effects of environmental change?
Content: 
  • Components of the biotic and abiotic environment
  • Relationships between organisms within an ecosystem
  • Food webs and energy pyramids
  • Nutrient Cycling
  • Population growth and limiting factors
  • Natural responses to environmental changes
Skills and Processes: 
  • Using ecological field-sampling methods to more deeply understand the natural world
  • Identifying relationships between organisms in an environment and how these relationships relate to matter and energy cycling
  • Interpreting varied types of graphs to investigate the effects of environmental factors and limited resources on population growth
  • Reading the natural landscape to predict past disturbance and future changes
Assessment: 
  • Ecological field reports
  • Food-web, Energy-pyramid and Nutrient Cycling visual displays
  • Eco-muve virtual labs
  • "The story of a place" graphic novelettes (if time allows)
Resources: 
  • Project Wild Curricula
  • Project Learning Tree Curricula
  • EcoMuve Virtual ecology labs
  • NSTA Exploring Ecology
  • NSTA Forestry Field Studies Manual
Integrated Learning: 
  •  Using math and laws of probability to calculate and predict ecological characteristics
  • Interpreting cause and effect through complex graphs
  • Field report writing and peer editing