Modeling Biomagnification Lab: Next Generation Science Standard Aligned (NGSS)

Modeling Biomagnification Lab: Next Generation Science Standard Aligned (NGSS)
Modeling Biomagnification Lab: Next Generation Science Standard Aligned (NGSS)
Modeling Biomagnification Lab: Next Generation Science Standard Aligned (NGSS)
Modeling Biomagnification Lab: Next Generation Science Standard Aligned (NGSS)
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In Brief: Part 1: Students read some background on biological magnification, and answer pre-reading questions. Part 2: Students create a visual/mathematical model of biological magnification for a marine food chain. Part 3: Students create a graph of to represent the data. Part 4: Students answer conclusion questions based upon their model.


DCI’s: LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems

ESS3: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

Cross Cutting Concepts: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity, Cause and Effect, Patterns, Systems and System Models, Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles, and Conservation

Scientific and Engineering Practices:

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Developing and Using Models

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking


Prior Knowledge: No specific prior knowledge is required for this lab.

Implementing the Lesson:

Mission to Mars is fun Ecology project, in which students create a self-sustaining mini-ecosystem to feed astronauts on the long trip to Mars. It is packed with Next Generation Science Standards.

Get it here: Mission to Mars

"Animal Cracker Ecology is a great activity to start with before using Mission to Mars. It is NGSS Aligned.

Get it here: Animal Cracker Ecology

Do you want to grade your class's ECOLOGY test with the click of a button? I created a 50 question Ecology test that grades itself.

Get it here: Self-Grading Ecology Test

Do you want your students to carry out a study to conserve water? Here is a NGSS aligned lab for that.

Get it here: Design a Study to Conserve Water

Materials and Setup: All you need for this activity are the following:

A. This download

B. Glue

C. Something small to represent mercury (my favorite is punched holes, but you can use large sprinkles, large confetti, rice. It must be something that you can count individually, and glue onto the model).

D. Colored pencils or markers.

1. Begin with the Phenomenon question about tattoo ink (first slide of the “visualizing ppm” powerpoint).

You can have students write a response to the question, or simply discuss it verbally as a class. The point of the question is for students to understand that tattoo are “forever” because the ink can’t be broken down in our bodies, and therefore get “stuck in our tissues”

2. Have students read the “pre-reading” section, and answer the pre-reading questions. Depending on the class, it can be helpful to stop after the pre-reading section, and go over the answers. This is at the teacher’s discretion.

3. Have students complete Part 2: Modeling Biomagnification. It can be a bit challenging for them to make sense of the math/proportions, so circulate around the room, ensuring that they are doing it correctly. This is students will need glue, mercury (punched holes, or whatever), and the page that models the number of organisms eaten at each trophic level.

4. Once the students have finished the model (gluing the organisms, and “mercury” on to the diagram template), have students complete parts 3 and 4; the graph and conclusion.

5. I’ve included a few slides that help students get a “feel” for the ppm system of units. The visualization works well on a large screen (SmartBoard, etc.), as the students can see the tiny dots. I usually show them this at the end.

Terms of Use

• This packet is 1 classroom/teacher use only. Do not make copies or

email it to your colleagues. This was designed by me and is for your

personal (one user)use. You may

not share it or claim it as your own. You may not redistribute it.

If colleagues are interested in it, please send them the link to my store:

• You are not permitted to use any part of this work to

create products for sharing or selling.

• You are permitted to share the cover image of the packet

on your website when referring to it in a post, as long as

you link back to my store.

All rights reserved by author.

Total Pages
15 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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