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Interactions In Ecosystems Explore Card Sort (NGSS MS-LS2-2)

Grade Levels
6th - 8th, Homeschool
Formats Included
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In this activity, students explore the different ways organisms can interact in ecosystems by learning about a number of examples, developing their own categories, and providing a reasoning for their decisions. This is a perfect Explore activity for a 5E instructional sequence on interactions in ecosystems and can easily be tied into units that address resource availability and the cycling of matter and energy in ecosystems.

This activity focuses on the Crosscutting Concept of patterns as students actively seek out patterns of interaction, and the activity incorporates the Science and Engineering Practice of Constructing Explanations, as students provide explanations for their groupings.

This activity can easily flow into an Explain activity where the teacher provides the scientific terminology for each type of interaction, and students can reevaluate their groupings to make changes or identify further similarities within each category.


Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

5E Model Phase: Explore

Learning Target:

Students will identify and describe patterns of interactions between organisms in a variety of ecosystems.

Success Criteria:

I can identify patterns in the way that different organisms interact in ecosystems.

Science and Engineering Practices:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Crosscutting Concepts:


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Total Pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
50 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
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.
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


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