This is such an AWESOME and hands-on project that I do with my students the last couple of weeks of the school year as we complete our ecology unit. The kids always tell me that THIS was their favorite science memory of the year! In this document, you will have detailed lesson plan that introduces the idea of biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) factors and how they are ALL important in an ecosystem. The objective for students is: The Student Will Be Able To PLAN, DESIGN, and COMMUNICATE a sustainable bottle biosphere. One of the best features of this project is how it forces the student to analyze and reflect their science practices while using Common Core ELA standards to communicate. I have students do some of the most difficult work up front but they are happy to because they know that the "fun stuff" is coming up! Overall, this is what your students will do: they will research the living items you will have available to them (I include a list of what I use), they will plan and design a bottle biosphere with a land section and water section, they will actually build this biosphere and insert all their chosen biotic and abiotic factors, they will seal it all up, and then they will observe their biosphere over the course of 5 to 10 school days. At the end, they communicate the results of the project with teacher guided questions (in student packet).
This activity is great way to keep students engaged, use critical thinking and evaluating skills, and write as a way to communicate data and specific information. HAVE FUN!!!