Organisms vs Ecosystems - Which should come first?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by BioAngel, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 26, 2015

    I'm designing a new unit called Organisms and Ecosystems based on the NGSS for my 5th grade.

    I was planning on starting out with a lesson to teach students about what an Ecosystem is, followed by a lesson that focuses in on animals and then on plants, to finish with what makes a healthy Ecosystem.

    I'm now thinking perhaps I should rearrange the lessons to start with the animals and plants, then a general ecosystem lesson, to be finished by a healthy ecosystem lesson.

    So model A would be: Ecosystem, Animal, Plants, Healthy Ecosystems. Model B would be: Animal, Plants, Ecosystem, Healthy Ecosystem.

    Which one do you think makes more sense? Please feel free to explain why :)
     
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  3. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 26, 2015

    Model B is normally how we teach it.

    Questions would be like "what is an animal?" "what makes an animal an animal?" "how do animals get food?" "what is a plant?" "what makes a plant a plant?" "how do plants get food?" "how do plants and animals interact with their surroundings?" etc.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2015

    We would follow the level of organization, so from single cell, to tissue, to organs, to organs systems, to individuals, to groups of the same type of individuals, to communities of groups of different individuals, to ecosystem, to biomes

    You don't have to hit every one of those divisions, but I would think it would be better to set the students up to recognize the organization at this age, so it is more familiar when they see it in a more complex form later on.

    By fifth grade, they should be seeing ecosystems as the true pyramids that they are. Really, the ecosystem can't exist without this pyramid of life. You are trying to set them up to understand that all energy comes from the sun, fueling the producers, which then fuel the consumers above them. Without that concept, how do you know if an ecosystem is healthy or not? The whole concept of food chains and food webs is pretty much what you are going to be looking at. Just a thought.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Model B is how I teach it.
     
  6. London

    London Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2015

    This link may help,

    http://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/ngss/files/5th Grade Evidence Statements June 2015.pdf

    NGSS released "Evidence Statements" to help you decide what content fits the PE and DCI. Just by glancing at the 5th grade standards, I think you could introduce the factors in an ecosystem that will affect plants and animals (air, sun, water, food sources, etc), then do the animals and plant PEs, then go into the movement of matter through the ecosystem.

    The topics Vickilyn suggested dip way too much into the middle school standards.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jun 27, 2015

    I think it's a lot easier to start with organisms, and the kiddos really need to get organisms before they can understand the significance of ecosystems, anyway.
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 27, 2015

    Thank you! I didn't see this file at the NGSS site before :eek::thumb:
     

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