In this activity bundle (FOUR activities, including a stations-style task), students obtain information from "field notes" to draw conclusions about the roles of organisms in ecosystems -- producers, consumers, and decomposers. In subsequent activities, they use these field notes to track the flow of energy and matter in ecosystems with food chains and food webs, construct energy pyramids, and make predictions about the introduction of new species on the ecosystem balance. Field notes for this activity bundle focus on the Pacific kelp forests off the coast of San Francisco. A second set of field notes for a freshwater stream ecosystem is included, as well.
This activity sequence is designed to be part of a larger unit storyline.
This activity is part of a complete unit that builds towards these standards:
MS-LS1-6 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
MS-LS1-7 Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
MS-LS2-3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
MS-PS1-5 Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
5E Model Phase: Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate (Formative)
>> Students will analyze data to understand the roles of organisms in ecosystems.
>> Students will track the flow of matter and energy among organisms in ecosystems.
>> Students will classify organisms based on their roles in ecosystems. (Station 1)
>> Students will classify consumers based on what they eat. (Station 2)
>> Students will construct food chains and food webs to track the flow of matter and energy. (Station 3)
>> Students will classify organisms as producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. (Station 4)
>> Students will obtain information from web resources to extend their understanding of how matter and energy flow in ecosystems and the effects of changes in ecosystems. (Station 5)
>> Students will develop a simple model to illustrate how matter and energy flows in an ecosystem.
>> Students will use their model to make predictions about changes in ecosystems.
>> I can identify and describe the roles of organisms in ecosystems.
>> I can illustrate how matter and energy moves among organisms in ecosystems.
>> I can classify organisms as producers, consumers, and decomposers/detritivores.
>> I can classify consumers as herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores.
>> I can track the flow of matter and energy in an ecosystem by constructing food chains and food webs.
>> I can classify organisms as producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers.
>> I can explain how matter and energy flows among organisms in ecosystems.
>> I can explain how changes in ecosystems can disrupt the flow of matter and energy.
>> I can create a simple model to show how matter and energy moves among organisms.
>> I can use my model to predict how the introduction of a species will affect the interactions of organisms in an ecosystem.
Science and Engineering Practices:
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Developing and Using Models
Energy and Matter
This activity sequence is part of the larger unit Matter and Energy In Ecosystems. Prior to engaging with this unit, students would benefit from having completed coursework on matter and its interactions, understanding the atom as the basic unit of matter. Students may also benefit from an understanding of chemical reactions. A basic understanding of how organisms interact with living and nonliving components of ecosystems is also helpful. However, students will dive deeper into the interactions between biotic factors in this unit.
As this is an explore and explain sequence, students completing a full 5E instructional sequence would have participated in engage activity. For this unit, the engage activity (and anchoring phenomenon) is Disappearing Kelp Forests. This activity is NOT included in this resource, and it is not necessarily vital to utilizing this resource. If you are interested in the complete unit, you can find additional activities at iExploreScience on TeachersPayTeachers or in the sample resource library of the Science Teacher Tribe Course + Community.
Teacher Guide (20 pages)
Kelp Forest Field Notes (20 cards)
Freshwater Stream Field Notes (8 cards)
Student Activity Sheets (13 pages)
Vocabulary Cards (10 cards)
includes Answer Keys
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