Ecology Mystery: The Case Of The Silent Night (MS-LS2-4)

Grade Levels
6th - 9th, Homeschool
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25 pages
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What happens when something disrupts the ability of a system to meet the needs of the organisms within its bounds? In this activity, students will explore what that “something” might be when presented with the problem of a precipitous decline in the native tree frog population of Mayberry, Florida.

In this activity, students will identify possible causes for the “silent nights” Mayberry is now experiencing as the tree frog population has plummeted. While there is no one right answer, students can and should find evidence to support their theories from the clues provided.

MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

Other Relevant Content: LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems; LS2.B Cycle of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems; LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience; LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

5E Model Phase: Evaluate

Learning Target: Students will analyze qualitative and quantitative evidence to determine possible causes of an amphibian population decline in the fictional town of Mayberry, located in central Florida.

Success Criteria: I can analyze evidence to determine possible causes of a decline in the native frog population of Mayberry.

Success Criteria: I can construct an argument based on evidence that changes to the ecosystem affected native populations.

Prior Knowledge:

To use this assessment most effectively, students should have already addressed several of the concepts in LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics. Students may also benefit from having some background knowledge of ESS2 Earth’s Systems and ESS3 Earth and Human Activity.

Because this project has no right or wrong answer, students can take several approaches, and the approach they use will likely be determined by the content they are exposed to during prior instruction.

What’s Included?

✻ Teacher Instructions

⇾ breakdown of the 5E model

⇾ alignment to the standards

⇾ analysis of each clue

⇾ implementation instructions

✻ Student Workbook

⇾ clue analysis graphic organizer

⇾ CER task graphic organizer

⇾ CER prompt

⇾ rubric based on the Performance Expectation and Evidence Statements

✻ Clues

⇾ 15 clues

⇾ links to real news articles and videos

⇾ diary entries

⇾ simple graphs for discussion

⇾ flyers, emails, and memos

Don’t Forget To Check Out These Additional Related Resources…

Changes In Ecosystems -- Data Analysis Lab and CER Writing Task (NGSS MS-LS2-4)

Biotic and Abiotic Factors -- 5E Activity Bundle (NGSS MS-LS2-4)

Changes In Ecosystems Situation Cards: Biotic and Abiotic Factors (NGSS MS-LS2-4)

Invasive Species Project - PBL (NGSS MS-LS2-4 MS-LS2-5)

Activity Pack: Field Notes Food Web

Activity Pack: Where Have All The Tree Frogs Gone? Mystery

Activity Pack: Population Sampling Activity

Terms Of Use:

Copyright © 2018 Nicole VanTassel. All pages of this product are copyrighted, and all rights are reserved by the author. You may not create anything to sell or share based on this packet. The product is created for the use of ONE teacher. Please do not share with colleagues. If they like the product, please send them to my TpT store. I appreciate your support with this request! You are permitted to share ONLY the cover image of this product on your blog or via social media as long as you link back to my product on TpT. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.

Total Pages
25 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
2 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem. Emphasis is on cause and effect relationships between resources and growth of individual organisms and the numbers of organisms in ecosystems during periods of abundant and scarce resources.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations. Emphasis is on recognizing patterns in data and making warranted inferences about changes in populations, and on evaluating empirical evidence supporting arguments about changes to ecosystems.
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems. Emphasis is on predicting consistent patterns of interactions in different ecosystems in terms of the relationships among and between organisms and abiotic components of ecosystems. Examples of types of interactions could include competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial.
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


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