Symbiosis in Ecology: Notes and Coloring Activity

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This activity is good for introducing symbiosis in ecology. It covers mutualism, predation, parasitism, and commensalism. The notes section is doubled on the first page to save paper. I just copy half the amount I need and cut these down the center. I have the students tape the notes page in the very center of their interactive notebook so it adds an extra little flap. That way when they're working on the activity they can easily flip it down to consult their notes.

I start by having the students define the word symbiosis at the top in their own words.

In the top blank boxes I have the students write the definitions for each symbiosis word. You could do this through having the students find it in the textbook, their notes they've taken previously, a PowerPoint you put up, or even looking it up on their phones if that is allowed at your school.

In the bottom blank boxes I ask the students to help me use faces to describe each ecological interaction. For parasitism we draw a happy and sad face. For commensalism we draw a happy and "meh" face with just a line for a mouth. For mutualism we draw two happy faces. And for predation we draw a happy face and a face with X's through the eyes. The students love when we get to predation. Some of them get very creative and want to draw a skull and cross bones, which I tell them is totally okay.

I've also included a PowerPoint that has all the definitions and smiley faces built in so you can walk the students through the note taking if you want.

The activity that goes with these mini-notes is a big grid of symbiosis examples. In the very center it says Symbiosis and has 4 boxes next to each word. This is the students' coloring key. For instance if all their mutualism is going to be green they would color the little box next to mutualism green. The students then go through and color code all of the examples. I instruct the students to use crayons or color pencils so they can read the examples again later when they're studying.

** Each one has exactly 5 examples. Depending on the level of your students you may want to tell them this or not.

I usually do both of these in a 51 minute class period. But you could certainly split this up however you'd like or even make the coloring homework. Students really love this activity. The faces really help them remember each word and they love that they get to color. When I listen to them working together I frequently hear things like, "hmm, yes that one would be two happy faces".

These activities have dotted lines for cutting and fit perfectly in a composition interactive notebook.

- Sarcasm Fish
Total Pages
2
Answer Key
Included
Teaching Duration
50 Minutes

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Symbiosis in Ecology: Notes and Coloring Activity