Ecosystem Ecology - DOC

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					Ecosystem Ecology

      Introduction
      Task
      Process
      Evaluation
      Conclusion
      Credits
      Teacher Page

                      by Susan Bastian, Sylvania Francsican Academy

                        modified by Nancy Ruys, Jefferson School #1

Teams of students research six ecosystems (biomes) and create a final project together.


                                     Greetings Young Scientists!
                                     This is an historic day for planet
                                     Xanderon! Your team has been
                                     selected to begin exploration of
                                     a small, life-bearing planet in
                                     the Solar system located in the
                                     western arm of the galaxy.
Until now, we have been forced to study this planet
from afar, using only telescopes and remote probes.
Today, we are pleased to announce that we have
developed the technology to study the ecology of this
planet (called "Earth" by one of the more
advanced native species) more in depth.
You will need to work in groups of four and you will
need to access the "Internet" to complete your
mission. All of the details and instructions can be
found under the "Task" and "Process" sections to the
When you have completed your mission, we will be
expecting a thorough report on your findings. Good
luck in your research!

                    You are scientists from another
                    planet studying planet Earth. You
                    have been assigned to a team of
                    four scientists for this mission.
                    Your team has been assigned one
                    of the ecosystems of planet Earth
                    to study and report back on to the
citizens of your home planet. Each team sent to Earth
will be assigned a different ecosystem. Please see your
commander (teacher) for your teams' assignment.
Review the job descriptions listed in "Process" to the
left and select your job.
Good luck Scientists!
Listed below are the job descriptions for your team. Read each job description
carefully and decide who will do each job.

Once you have selected your job, use the links provided below the job
descriptions to find out information about your ecosystem. You may use other
sources of your choice (books, magazines, encyclopedias) to get additional
information, but you do not have to. Be aware of time limits and due dates - see
your commander (teacher) if you are having trouble with this part of your

Remember to stay focused on YOUR task - not your teammates'! When everyone
on your team has their information, read on for your next task!




                     JOB DESCRIPTIONS


                 The navigator's job is locate where on this planet your
                 ecosystem exists. Your tasks include the following:

                        Print out a map from here: world map and color
       all of the areas your ecosystem can be found.
       Research the history of your ecosystem - has the ecosystem
       changed over time due to human activity or due to continental
      List at least three physical features of your ecosystem.
      The navigator is also responsible for locating five images or
       pictures that represent your ecosystem, as well as assisting with
       finding pictures for the food web of the ecosystem.


                A botanist studies plants. Your job is to research the
                plant life in your assigned ecosystem. You should also
                research soil types and conditions. Choose at least three
different plants that are native to your ecosystem. For each plant,
record the following information:

      Name of the plant
      Description of the plant
      Height of the plant
      Adaptations of the plant to its ecosystem
      Unique characteristics of or things about the plant
      Picture of the plant (you may draw it if you cannot find an image
       to save)
      The plant's role in the food web of your ecosystem (what eats it?)

               A zoologist studies animals. Your job is research the
               animal life in your assigned ecosystem. Choose at
               least five different animals found in your ecosystem
               and record the following information about each:

                     Name of the animal
   Description of the animal
   Picture of the animal (you may draw it if you cannot find an image
    to save)
   Behavioral adaptations to its ecosystem
   Physical adaptations to its ecosystem
   The animal's niche in its ecosystem (What is its position in the
    food chain? What does the animal eat AND who eats the animal)
   The population of the animal
   What makes the animal unique


              A meteorologist studies weather patterns. Your job is
              to research the climate and weather patterns of your
              ecosystem. Specifically research answers to the
              following questions:

   What is the temperature range of your ecosystem?
   Does your ecosystem experience seasons? If so, how does the
    weather vary from season to season?
   How much precipitation does your ecosystem get? Is it in the
    form of rain or snow?
   What is unique about the climate of your ecosystem?
   Create a graph of your weather data. (You may use the computer
    to create a graph)
                         HELPFUL LINKS
** Click on the name or picture of your assigned ecosystem. This will open a page
of links for you to choose from. Simply click on a link to go to a website. Use
your back button to return to the links page when you are finished with a website.
Remember to record all of your information!

   Rainforest                Desert               Deciduous Forest

Grassland                  Tundra                        Ocean

Now that everyone has their information, it's time to put it all
together. Each team member should share with their group
what they found out. Be sure to discuss food chains and food
webs for your ecosystem as well as adaptations to climate and
weather patterns of your ecosystem.

Take notes about what your team discovered. Sketch out a
food web. Do you need more information about something?
Could you use another picture or two? Now is the time to go
back and get what you need. Be aware of the timeline given to
you by your teacher, however and stay on task.
Decide as a team what type of project you will do to present
your information to the class. Remember you are scientists -
report only facts, not opinions. For more information about
what is expected for each type of project, please see below.

                         Final Project Choices:
                                        Power Point

                                       Travel Poster

                                        Board game

                                         3-D Model

** Pleae note that these are GROUP projects. All group members should participate in the
creation of the project. All group members should participate in the presentation of the
project to the class. Please also note that all choices require a food web in some format.
Review the timeline from your commander (teacher) as well as the rubric often. The rubric
can be found under "Evaluation" to the left.

** The purpose of the project is to explain your ecosystem to others who have never seen it.
(Remember - we are all aliens in this project!) Be sure to include information that is factual
and useful. Pictures used should be clear and easy to see as well as good representations of
your ecosystem.

1. PowerPoint
      Your PowerPoint should have at least 10 slides (including a title slide).
      Use the "Draw" tools to create a food web for your ecosystem.
      Include a map of where your ecosystem can be found (you may turn in your printed
       and colored version).
      Include your weather data graph.
      Review the rubric for required information.
      Be prepared to present your PowerPoint to the class.

2. Travel Poster

      Your poster should be "poster board" sized. (You could also use a tri-fold display
      Include a food web for your ecosystem (you can hand-draw it or use the "Draw" tools
       in Word to create it).
     Don't forget to include your map of where your ecosystem can be found as well as
      your weather graph.
     Use a ruler for straight lines. You may hand-print information and/or print it out
      from the computer.
     Be aware of neatness and readability.
     Review the rubric for required information.
     Be prepared to present your poster to the class.

3. Board Game

     Your game should be able to be played by your classmates.
     Your game should incorporate a food web for your ecosystem. (Be creative!)
     Use a ruler for straight lines. You may hand-draw/print and/or print things out from
      the computer.
     If it does not work to include your mapand/or weather graph on your game board,
      please submit them along with your game.
     Be aware of neatness and readability.
     Review the rubric for required information.
     Be prepared to explain your game to the class. If time permits, another group will be
      able to play your game!

4. 3-D Model (Diorama)

     Your model should be bigger than a shoe-box, but small enough to bring to school
      and display in the classroom.
     Include detailed models of plant and animal life.
     Create a food web for your ecosystem on a piece of paper (8.5" x 11") and tape it to the
      top, side, or back of your model. You may hand-draw it or use the computer to create
     Tape your map and weather graph to the top, side, or back of your model.
     Pay close attention to details.
     Review the rubric for required information.
     Be prepared to explain your model to the class.
           Evaluation Team Project Rubric for Ecosystem Ecology WebQuest

                      Beginning           Developing       Accomplished          Exemplary         Score

                          1                   2                   3                    4
                                          Three or four
                                                             Five animals
                                                              included.        More than five
                                                           Pictures for all  animals included.
                   Fewer than three     Pictures and/or
                                                               animals.         Pictures and
                   animals included.       descriptions
                                                             Descriptions         accurate
 Pictures and       Pictures and/or       inaccurate or
                                                              missing or        descriptions
                      descriptions      missing for one
Descriptions of        missing or             or more
                                                           incomplete for     included for all
                                                             one or more          animals.
   Animals            inaccurate.            animals.
                                                               animals.       Adaptations for
                  Adaptations missing      Adaptations
                                                             Adaptations         ecosystem
                    or inaccurate.          missing or
                                                            inaccurate or     included for all
                                         inaccurate for
                                                          missing for one or      animals.
                                           one or more
                                                           more animals.
                                                             Three plants
                                            Two plants
                                                              included.        More than three
                                                           Pictures for all    plants included.
                                        Pictures and/or
                   One or zero plants                          plants.            Pictures and
                  included. Pictures                         Descriptions           accurate
                                          inaccurate or
 Pictures and     and/or descriptions                         missing or          descriptions
                                        missing for one
                       missing or                          incomplete for       included for all
Descriptions of       inaccurate.
                                        or more plants.
                                                             one or more             plants.
    Plants        Adaptations missing
                                            missing or
                                                               plants.          Adaptations for
                    or inaccurate.                           Adaptations           ecosystem
                                         inaccurate for
                                                            inaccurate or       included for all
                                           one or more
                                                          missing for one or         plants.
                                                            more plants.
                                            Map is
                       No map is         incomplete
                      submitted.            and/or      Map is complete
                                       inaccurate for     and accurate         Map is complete
                                         part of the   world wide. Map           and accurate
     Map                               world. Map is    is fairly easy to      world-wide. Map
                                          somewhat          read and            is easy to read
                  Map is incomplete, difficult to read   understand. A         and understand.
                    inaccurate, and   and understand.  key is not used.         A key is used.
                  hard to read. A key    A key is not  Color may or may          Color is used.
                  is not used. Color used. Color may      not be used.
                      is not used.     or may not be
                                            Most of the                          Information is
                                                             Information is
                                          information is                         accurate.
                                             accurate.                           Information is
                    Information is                             Information
Climate and        missing and/or
                                          Information is
                                                           is included for all   included for all
                                         missing for one                         seasons. More
Weather Data       inaccurate. No
                                              or more
                                                              seasons. One
                                                                                 than one graph is
                  graph is included.                       graph is included
                                         seasons. Graph                          included.
                                                            that is complete
                                        is included but is                       Graphs are
                                                                and easy to
                                        confusing and/or                         complete and
                                            inaccurate.                          easy to
                                                               Food web is
                                                             simple, showing     Food web is
                                        Food chain only
                                                                organisms     complex, showing
                   No food web is       is included. No
                                                            connected to only     multiple
                     included.               webbing
                                                                one other       relationships
  Food Web                                                   organism in each among organisms.
                                        Some aspects of
                   Most aspects of         project are      Most aspects of    All aspects of
                   project are not        neatly done.    project are neatly project are neatly
 Neatness and    neatly done. Lines       Lines are not    done. Lines are    done. Lines are
 Attention to       are crooked.        always straight.    straight. Few       straight. No
                 Numerous spelling          Numerous          spelling or        spelling or
    Detail          and grammar            spelling or         grammar            grammar
                    mistakes. No            grammar       mistakes. Several mistakes. Lots of
                  details included.      mistakes. Few     details included.  details included.
                                        details included.
                 Project shows little   Project shows an    Project shows a      Project shows a
                 creativity or          average amount      good level of        high level of
                 originality. Most      of creativity and   creativity and is    creativity and
Creativity and   team members are       is unoriginal.      somewhat             originality. All
Enthusiasm       not enthusiastic       Some team           original. All team   team members
                 about the              members are not     members are          are enthusiastic
                 presentation.          enthusiastic        enthusiastic         about the
                                        about the           about the            presentation.
                                        presentation.       presentation.

                                           Some team              All team
                                                                              All team members
                 All team members        members work         members work
                                                                                   work well
                 are unable to work         together.         well together.
  Teamwork                                                                         together.
                  with each other.        Conflicts are         Conflicts are
                                                                                 Conflicts are
                 Conflicts are never     mediated only        mediated after
                   mediated. One        by the teacher.           teacher
                                                                               immediately and
                  person does all of      Two or more          intervention.
                                                                                effectively. All
                    the work while      team members            One or more
                                                                                team members
                   three people do            do not        team members do
                       nothing.            participate        not participate
                                             equally.             equally.

                            Congratulations Young Scientists! You have
                            truly enriched our planet's knowledge of the
                            ecosystems of planet Earth. I hope you have
                            enjoyed your mission. Please be sure you
                            reflect on what you learned on this mission as
                            well as what you liked and didn't like in your
                            mission log (journal).

Should you wish to explore this topic further, we have included some
links below. Some are just for fun, and some have more information
about ecosystems we did not cover in this mission.

Crossword Puzzle

Word Search

Matching Worksheet

Taiga (Coniferous Forest)

Enchanted Learning

                               Thank you to all the teachers out there who
                               have created webquests about ecosystems and
                               provided me with links, ideas, and inspiration.
                               Thank you also to Bernie Dodge for his
                               awesome website and portal without which this
                               webquest would be rather dull and probably
                               missing a few things! And of course, thank you
                               always to my students who continue to inspire
                               me with their enthusiasm for learning.

                                            - Susan Bastian

We all benefit by being generous with our work. Permission is granted for others to use and
modify this WebQuest for educational, non-commercial purposes as long as the original
authorship is credited. The modified WebQuest may be shared only under the same
conditions. See the Creative Commons Attribution • Non-Commercial • Share-Alike
license for details.

                      by Susan Bastian, Sylvania Francsican Academy

Teams of students research six ecosystems (biomes) and create a final project together.

Teacher Introduction

              Need to teach a unit on biomes (ecosystems) but out of
              fresh ideas? This is an innovative approach which allows
              you to facilitate student learning. Students become the
              teachers at the end of the unit with creative presentations
              about specific biomes. National and state standards are
addressed in Science with overlap in the areas of Language Arts, Social
Studies (Geography), Art, and Computers/Technology.

                            This webquest is designed for students in
                            grades five-six (ages 10-12), working in groups
                            of four. Older students could work in pairs or
                            alone and/or be held to higher standards (more
                            higher-level thinking) for the assessment.
                            Younger students could work through the
                            webquest together as a class (ideal for one-
                            computer classrooms).

                         This webquest was designed to address Science
standards, but parts will also address standards in the areas of Social
Studies/Geography, Language Arts, Computer Science, and Art



State of Ohio Benchmarks addressed for grades 3-5:

Earth and Space Sciences:

Benchmark D: Analyze weather and changes that occur over a period of time.

Life Sciences:

Benchmark A: Differentiate between the life cycles of different plants and animals.

Benchmark B: Analyze plant and animal structures and functions needed for
survival and describe the flow of energy through a system that all organisms use to

Benchmark C: Compare changes in an organism’s ecosystem/habitat that affect its

State of Ohio Benchmark addressed for grades 6-8:

Life Sciences:

Benchmark C: Explain how energy entering the ecosystems as sunlight supports the
life of organisms through photosynthesis and the transfer of energy through the
interactions of organisms and the environment.
               Teacher Process

               This webquest was designed for a fifth-sixth grade
               classroom with access to multiple computers with Internet
               access. If that description does not fit your situation,
               accomodations can be made.

      Younger students may just choose one ecosystem to explore, with
       a group of students taking on each "job".
      Older students may be able to EACH produce one of the final
       project options, still taking into account the entire team's
      The one-computer classroom may need to rely more heavily on
       print resources or perhaps the entire class can work together on
       one ecosystem.
      If you have an uneven number of students, have more than one
       "zoologist" for each team - there is more work for that job and
       generally more information available. (You will need to adjust the
       rubric accordingly.)


A timeline is not included in this webquest as individual needs will vary.
I would suggest giving your students clear "due dates" for each step of
the process. You may need to adjust these dates as you progress.


As noted in the resource section, a journal for each student is strongly
recommended. Be clear in what you expect the students to record in
their journal - daily reflections, just research data, brainstorming, etc...


Be enthusiastic about the topic and the students will be too! Start with a
K-W-L chart and see how much they already know. Incorporate a short
video to bring ecosystems to life prior to beginning the webquest. Read
fiction books aloud to the class that are set in a specific ecosystem (e.g.:
Verdi by Janell Cannon for the rainforest). Create a bulletin board in
your classroom or hallway to show off student work and/or interesting
information about ecosystems around the world.


Daily discussions about various topics will help keep students focused
and enthusiastic. Have students report out (informally) about an
animal, plant, or precipitation from their ecosystems as they learn about
them. Frequent discussions will also help you keep on top of where the
students are at as well as help you correct any misconceptions that many
arise throughout the process.

                     Teacher Resources

                     Depending on the level and previous study of your
                     students, various amounts of pre-teaching may
                     need to happen before your students can
                     successfully navigate this webquest. This webquest
                     assumes a basic knowledge of what the concepts of
                     ecosystems (biomes) and food webs, as well as
                     basic vocabulary embedded within those concepts
                     (ie - consumer, producer, niche, climate).

                    Depending on access to computers, students may
                    benefit from additional resources being available in
                    the classroom, such as books and magazines about
                    various ecosystems. Visit your local or school
                    library for age-appropriate print resources. Most
                    5th-6th grade Science textbooks also include a
                    chapter on ecosystems and/or ecology and would
                    be a good additional resource.

               I strongly suggest students make use of a "journal" to record
               their research data and, ideally, reflections on the process.
               They can use a section of a spiral notebook or several pages
               of loose leaf paper stapled together and placed in a folder.

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