Document Sample
THE BIOSPHERE Powered By Docstoc

 Unit Plan I, II, II

  Greg Matthias
   Brian Dean

  Education 337
    Section 1
    Dr. Cook
 December 7, 1998
                                     UNIT PLAN I

“Come on!”

       “I’m coming!” my friend shouted back.

       “Well, hurry up then, your going to miss it!” I responded. It was almost dark.

The sun was just about to go down over the Teton Mountain Range. We were on the

backpacking trip of our lives. We had hiked all day long, and this was the only time we

had had to reflect on our surroundings since breakfast.

       Brian put his foot on top of the last step and pulled himself up with his

fingernails. “Whoa, this is beautiful!” He whispered, in total awe. We both were

speechless until the last ray from the golden semicircle fell beneath the snow-covered

peak of Mount Moran.

       “Wasn’t that the most wonderful sunset in the world?” Asked Brian.

       “It sure was. This is magnificent earth. With the huge biosphere that contains

everything on earth. I’m glad we both have a background in science, so that we can fully

appreciate the earth’s splendor.”

       “Amen,” Brian voiced as we unzipped the door to the tent. We fell fast asleep

with stars in our eyes.

       So what exactly is a biosphere? And what are biomes? What creates or

influences them? How do they affect living and nonliving things? What are the

characteristics of each? These are the questions focused upon in Unit Plan One.

       Why learn about biomes our future students may ask. As future adults, they need

to understand what biomes are and how they function, because we live in the biosphere

and a specific biome that influences everything in and around them. Our future students
need to realize that understanding biomes is like the opening the door to a house of

knowledge. Knowledge is important to appreciating a sunset as my friend did in


       In order to solve the questions posed above, we must first start with an

introduction of biomes, some basic terms and concepts, in addition to background

knowledge. After a foundation is laid, it is necessary to understand each different biome

in turn. After this is done, we will tie up lose ends, as well as answer any questions. In

addition, I think it is relevant to explain how biomes and the biosphere touch humans.

The students need real-life relationships to fully understand biomes.

               Preconceptions                               Goal Conceptions

 Limited Viewpoint                              Expand knowledge to global scale to

                                                biome awareness.

 Poor perspective:                              Explain that the desert is a major biome,

 For example: No Plants in desert               and that it has many plants living in it.

               Water use                        Very limited supply of fresh water.
In the above table, the example of water use came up. One day I had a discussion with

one of my students. He had just finished reading a passage out of the text describing the

future ways to get more fresh water. After reading the essay, he questioned me. “Isn’t

75% of the earth water?”

       “Yes, I answered,” Seeing where he was leading.

       “Well, then why are they getting all upset about finding new ways to get fresh

water?” He asked.

       “Because only a fraction of the world’s supply is fresh drinkable water.” I

answered, but received a puzzled look on his face; I tried to put this idea into simpler

terms. “If all the worlds water was 26 gallons, the clean drinkable water would only be

one-half of a tablespoon!”

       “Wow! I never knew we had that little water!”

       This is just one example of many misconceptions and preconception students

have. And I feel that by telling him a little example, my goal conception was achieved.

        If every one of my students will understand what biomes are and how they work,
that sunset will stay with them forever…
                                   Text Analysis
       Text used:    Campbell, Neil A.; Mitchell, Lawrence G.; Reece, Jane B. Biology.
                        Concepts and Connections. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing
                        Company, Inc. 1994. PP 659-677.


Science facts are ideas or observations that have been proven many times by different
people and are accepted as true by the science community. Science facts must withstand
the test of time, as it takes a long time for an idea to become a science fact. An example
from the text is the uneven heating of the earth. Numerous tests have proved that this
phenomenon causes rain and wind on earth.

Science generalizations are ideas that draw off of science facts, but include inaccurate
assumptions, biases and other errors that make the statement less than true. The text
states that “It is clear that no part of the biosphere is untouched by human activities.”
This statement is a generalization because it assumes we have knowledge of the entire
biosphere, when in fact there is no proof that we know of the entire biosphere or our
influence on it.

Concepts are ideas created by scientists to explain phenomena. Concepts don’t actually
exist in the real world; they’re just a way to help us understand the world around us. The
biosphere and biome classifications are examples of concepts. They are a way to
organize and classify the different areas of the world. The world isn’t really cut into neat
little sections; the differing areas blend together and are often hard to distinguish

Laws are statements or equations that have been created to explain phenomena also. They
differ from concepts in that they are concrete and directly related to the empirical world.
Laws bring the theoretical and empirical world together. There were no examples of laws
in this text, but an example that relates is the Laws of Thermodynamics. They can be
used to explain things involved in the heating of the planet and weather systems.
Theories are ideas that are currently unproven. Theories arise by trying to solve a
problem or answer a question about an observation. An example would be that “
Devastation of tropical rainforest may cause large-scale changes in world climate.”

Empirical basically means the “real world”. If someone asked you for empirical evidence,
they would be asking for something they can see, hear, smell or touch; something that
actually exists. There are numerous examples in the text; one of my favorites is the
prevailing winds. Go out and look at the tops of pine trees. They should all be pointing in
the same direction. This is due to the prevailing winds of our area.

Theoretical means the exact opposite of empirical. Theoretical evidence would be the
result of calculations and concepts, but couldn’t actually be proven with anything
physical. Sometimes things are too far away (stars) or too small (quarks) to be able to get
any empirical evidence so we theorize about them.

                             The uneven heating of the earth.
                                Does this really happen?

Preconception: The sun is so big. How can it unevenly heat something as small as the

                                   Calculator Based Lab

1. Set up several stations with CBL interfaces, TI-82’s and light or heat sensors. Each
   station will also need a globe or beach ball with labeled markings and a flashlight or
   heat lamp.

2. The students will work in groups and take readings at each of the predetermined

3. Have the class download data into a PC and perform statistical tests to determine if
   readings were statistically different.

*** I have no idea if this would work but if it did it would be very cool!
                                          Alternative lab

                   (If above lab doesn’t work or if equipment isn’t available)

1. Bring in water samples from several freshwater systems in the area. Include: ponds,
   streams and rivers. Also get samples from different zones of ponds, benthic, etc.

2. Have students identify the different samples using microscopes, pH kits, alkalinity
   kits, B.O.D tests, etc.

3. Have students do a project on what they found. Lab report, poster, video, etc.


          The chapter on the Biosphere and Biomes had many strengths and only a few
weaknesses that I could find. I’ll start with the good. What I liked most about the chapter
was that environmental concerns were a part of almost every section. Each biome
contained a summary of its ecological problems brought on by human presence. I also
liked the section on the rainforest, mainly because it included a “real world” professional
and his views on tropical forest issues. The chapter also talked about deep-sea vents,
which is fairly current information. The section on oceans and freshwater systems caught
my eye as well. They did an excellent job of describing all the different zones. This was
the exception however. Most of the other sections were a little too brief in my opinion.
          The only part of the chapter I had a real problem with were the two pages dealing
with abiotic and biotic factors. This was the only section devoid of graphs, charts and
other fun stuff. I consistently flipped past this part while referring to the text because it
looked boring. When I actually read it I found they did an O.K. job but it was very
          Overall I found this to be an excellent chapter. It is full of colorful pictures,
charts, etc. that keep your attention. The organization is also good; they build a
knowledge base and then expand to the different areas of the biosphere.
                           So how do the students use the text?

       I think my evaluation of the text should give one a pretty good idea of how I
would use the text in class. I would have the students read everything in the chapter
except the pages on abiotic and biotic factors, and the sections describing the biomes.
I’ve already mentioned what I think of the biotic/abiotic factors section so I would take
class time to explain those ideas in detail so that I could answer any questions about them
right away. I also believe that the biome descriptions should be covered in class and they
are basic enough that to have the students read them would be redundant.
       For the remainder of the chapter I would break up the text into small sections and
have them read those parts before we covered them or read them in class. I would also
use the ”testing your knowledge” section at the end of the book. After or during each
section of the chapter I would ask some of these questions or make up some of my own.
Doing this will help reinforce what the class has been discussing.
       In general I don’t think it is a good idea to use a text to heavily in class. I believe
some students are quickly turned-off by text books and they should be used sparingly.
This section is somewhat unique because it is short and has lots of exciting pieces to it.
The majority of the time texts should be used more for teacher reference than for reading
assignments, but each class and unit is different and adjustments need to be made
                            UNIT PLAN II
                         Table of Contents


Students will:

1.) Understand what a biome is
2.) Know what is the biosphere
3.) Understand the components that make up a biome and biosphere
4.) Know what the major biomes are
5.) Know some of the characteristics of each biome
6.) Synthesize how abiotic factors affect the biome
7.) Be able to explain how regional climate influences the distribution of biological
8.) How weather occurs
9.) Understand some environmental problems
10.)   Examine some solutions to these problems
11.)   Understand basic definitions
12.)   Know basic historical aspects of the environmental debate
13.)   Understand what natural selection is
14.)   Analyze the concepts of water, water usage, and water conservation
15.)   Evaluate where water comes from
16.)   Know why tropical rainforests are so important, apply this to your backyard
17.)   Understand why it is important to study biomes
18.)   Understand the relevance of biomes to students’ lives
19.)   Relate knowledge of biome to: all live is precious
20.)   Understand that all biomes are important
              Cognitive Skills and Affective Objectives

                                    Cognitive skills

1.) Learn how to take basic, fundamental knowledge and apply it to specific areas.
   Example: abiotic factor, climate> specific biome.

2.) Evaluate our impact on ecosystems, rainforests etc. What are we doing to save them?
   And what could you do personally.

                                  Affective objectives

1.) How would you feel if the tree that holds the cure to AIDS is cut down and goes

2.) What happens when you have no more clean water to drink?
                          Introduction to Biomes
                                 Changing Attitudes


Students will: 1.) give an example of a change in attitude related to a wild animal and/or
the environment; 2.) describe factors which may influence change in attitude.


Students design and conduct community interview, compiling and summarizing findings.

Age level


Time frame

One class period to discuss, out of class time needed to interview.


Attitudes toward wildlife, the environment and appropriate uses of natural resources have
changed over time. They also vary from culture, subgroups, communities and
For example, 60 years ago in the United States, predator control was more or less taken
for granted. There were efforts to control grizzly bears, cougars, coyotes, wolves, hawks
and even eagles. There was even a bounty on many of these animals, as they were
considered a threat to domesticated animals and human safety. However, today it is
recognized that these annals have a role in the overall health of ecosystems. In addition,
most predators are now protected by law.
The major purpose of this activity is for students to interview members of their
community to gain information concerning changes in attitudes about wildlife and the


1.) Initiate a discussion with students about whether or not they think people’s attitudes
    about some subjects might change over time. Examples include fashion or food. Ask
    the students if they can think of any examples of changes in attitudes about wildlife,
    the environment, uses of natural resources, lifestyles involving natural resources and
    the environment. Discuss their suggestions and list the topics they suggest.
2.) Ask the students, working in group of two to four students, to generate a list of
    questions relating to wildlife and the environment they might ask adults in their
      community. Examples include: How do you feel about wildlife? What were some
      attitudes you remember having about wildlife when you were a youngster? Which of
      these attitudes, if any, have changes in the past 20 years? What has caused them to
3.)   Review the questions generated by each student or group of students before they
      conduct interviews. Younger students’ questions may be shorter and fewer.
4.)   Ask the students to interview at least one long-lived person in their community.
      Students are to record the conversation on paper or on tape.
5.)   Next, ask the students to interview each other or themselves by recording their won
      responses to these questions as a point of comparison of change. Also, if time
      permitting, interview family members or more community members in certain
      employment categories.
6.)   Compile the results of the interviews. Students are to summarize and highlight their
      findings within their groups. Discuss their findings with other groups and students
      and present those findings to the class.

Extensions and Variations

1.) Expand the questions to other facets of the natural environment such as vegetation.
2.) Identify a local issue that is rampant in the local talk around town. Formulate a
    diagram listing and describing the pros and cons of the issue.
3.) Incorporate a history lesson into this lesson plan. Pretend that you were settlers living
    100-200 yrs ago. Describe the environment and how it has changed.
4.) Explore Native American Indian attitudes toward wildlife and other natural resources-
    in historic times and today.


1.) Describe how you think most people form their attitudes-what they know and how
    they feel- about animals or the environment.
2.) Give two examples of attitudes about animals that you have reason to believe are
    based on wrong information or not enough information.
3.) Give an example of a change in attitude about an animal that has occurred in this
    country during the past 100yrs. How did this change come about?
4.) If you were going to try to change someone’s attitude about snakes from negative to
    positive, how would you do it?
                                      Abiotic Factors


       1. Know the seven important abiotic factors.
              (Wind, fire, water, soil, solar energy, temperature, and oxygen)
       2. Apply the "seven factors" to the real world; how are each of these factors
       3. Explain what role abiotic factors have in the adaptation of organisms.


       1. Glass of water (H2O)
       2. Thermometer (temp)
       3. Cup of dirt (soil)
       4. Empty box (oxygen)
       5. Bunsen burner or lighter (fire)
       6. Fan (wind)
       7. Magazines, Internet, etc. for research on project.

Time Estimate:

       Total: 4 days, 2 days to cover the abiotic factors 1 day to cover organism
       adaptation, and 1 day for project time.


       Day 1: Introduction. Have all seven items (the seventh being an open window) out
on a desk. Use each item to introduce the seven abiotic factors. Once they are all
introduced, explain what an abiotic factor is and have them write down one abiotic factor
they can think of for the next class period. Discuss why each of the items on desk is
important, and how they differ in the biosphere.
       Day 2: Either collect assignment from day 1 or ask students what they found.
Write a list of the results on the board. Ask the class what all the items on the board have
in common. Cover any of the "seven factors" not covered in day 1. If time permits do a
quick review of natural selection (which would have been previously covered).
       Day 3 & 4: Use an example of an exciting animal (tiger, shark, etc.) to explain
how abiotic factors influence organisms, and how they adapt to fit their environment.
Specifically show how the "seven factors" influence a species of animal or plant.
Project: With remaining time explain the "Favorite plant/animal project". Students will
pick a plant or animal and show how it has adapted to its environment, using specific
examples of abiotic factors. Project can be in any appropriate format (paper, posters,
video, poem, etc.) Let class work on project in class for remainder of period and next day.

Assessment: Grade project on creativity, effort and time spent on project, evidence of
research and understanding of abiotic factors and their influence on organisms.

Q. If hydrothermal vents don't get their energy from the sun, where do they get it?
Anticipated response: They get it from the earth's crust.
Correct response: They use the heat of the planet's interior for energy (hydroTHERMAL)

Q. Aquatic and terrestrial organisms both have to deal with problems with water, but how
do these problems differ?
A.R. Aquatic things don't have a water problem, but land organisms have to be sure they
don't dry out.
C.R. Aquatic species must maintain a balance of water in their systems, and land species
must avoid drying out.

       These events occur everywhere on the planet, and they are problems for
organisms everywhere. By understanding abiotic factors, we can understand the problems
better and possibly save organisms that are in trouble. An understanding of these factors
will help you keep pets alive longer too!

Follow up/conclusion:
       Now that we have learned these 7 factors, among others, we are going to begin
looking at the different parts of the biosphere. Keep in mind that these factors occur in
all parts of the biosphere and we will be referring to them throughout the unit. Many of
the abiotic factors we just learned fall under the category of climate, or next topic.

      1. Understand how uneven heating of the earth's surface occurs and what it does.
      2. Explain what causes the different seasons of the year.
      3. Apply what you have learned about wind patterns, ocean currents, etc. to
         regionality of climates.(Why are some areas dry, others cold, etc.)

       Large globe
       Flashlight
       Lamp
       inflatable globe
       Geographic maps of rainfall, temperature, etc.
       glass pot or bowl, food coloring or dye, Bunsen burner
       colored pencils
       8"x11" world maps

Time Estimate: 2 days

       Day 1: Using a globe and flashlight, illustrate how the sun heats the earth
unevenly. Refer to UPI for a possible CBL activity on this topic. Explain the
consequences of uneven heating and define the term's doldrums, and trade winds.
Another good illustration technique is to boil water in a pot. Heat one side of pot until
you can see the convection waves then place drops of dye into water. Use glass bowl so
everyone can see. The currents in the water will churn the dye around. This can be an
analogy to how winds are created by uneven heating.
       Next have students use inflatable globes and lamp to illustrate how the position
and tilt of the earth create the different seasons. This gives students chance to participate.
       Day 2: Begin with a quick review of yesterday (short quiz?) then explain
prevailing winds and ocean currents. Lots of overheads or posters will help with this
section. Lastly explain how mountain ranges effect rainfall and have students fill in a
map of the world by color with one category we discussed, temperature, rainfall, etc.
Have students fill out maps using their own knowledge, make them think it through.
When everyone is done, have then check his or her map with a textbook or other
reference. If there isn't time to check them in class, do it at the beginning of the next

Q. How do Mountains cause clouds to lose their moisture?
A.R. The clouds bump into the Mountains and the water is pushed out of them as they go
over the Mts.
C.R. The Mts. cause the moist air to rise over them, as the air rises it gets cooler and loses
its moisture as precipitation (rain, snow).

Q. What causes ocean currents?
A.R. The motion of the earth.
C.R. Prevailing winds, the planets rotation, and the shapes of the continents all influence
ocean currents.


If you know this stuff, you might actually be able to understand what the weatherman is
talking about on the local news, and then you can explain it to your parents and they'll
finally know how smart you are. This is also a fundamental part of the biosphere; these
things effect everything, and so are very important.

Follow up/closure
         We ended this section with ocean currents, which leads us directly into our next
section, Oceans as a part of the biosphere.
                           Oceans as a Part of the Biosphere

      1. Have a fundamental understanding of how oceans effect the biosphere.
      2. Be able to take knowledge of oceans and apply it to specific organisms.
      3. Know the basic parts of an ocean and understand what goes on in each area.

       Salt water tank with variety of marine life (optional)
       Computers (in class or in Comp. Lab) with Internet an email.
       List of marine biology websites
       Prior contact via email to several marine biologists

Time Estimate: 3 days


       Day 1: Discuss how oceans effect the biosphere.
               75% of earth's surface
                      1. Evaporation = rainfall
                      2. Temperature effects climate and wind
                      3. Supplies oxygen to biosphere
               Discuss what happens when oceans meet land or freshwater.
               *Ask students what they think happens when river runs into ocean*
                      Does anything live their? Is it fresh water or salt water?
                      1. Estuary
                      2. Intertidal zone
                      3. Wetlands
       Use salt-water tank to show example of life in ocean. Compare and contrast to
freshwater tank.
       Other possibility would be to show National Geographic Explorer episode or a
part of one. *Main idea is to bring ocean into classroom since we don't live by one*
Assignment: Come up with one question you would ask a marine biologist.
       Day 2 Parts of the ocean.
                      Zones. 1. Pelagic
                               a. photic             Visual aids are helpful here.
                                  b. Aphotic
                                 2. Benthic
        When this is covered, go to computer lab or use computers in class to email
marine biologists (whom have been contacted by teacher before hand) their one question.

Day3 Hopefully get responses from Biologists. If so have student read their question and
the response to the class. Also give students computer time to explore marine biology
web sites that are provided to them.
        * Questions may have to be emailed before this unit, or else the responses may
have to be read during another unit, as two days may not be enough time to get responses.
Assessment of assignment: If students come up with an appropriate question they get
credit, if they don't, they don't get the credit. Incentive is that it's interesting and its easy


Q. If earth's surface is 75% water, why do we have water shortage problems in some
areas of the world.
A.R. Deserts don't have water and a lot of the water is polluted.

C.R. Only a very small portion of the water on earth is drinkable.

        We don't know a lot about the ocean's, even though they're a huge part of the
planet, so we have to continue to learn about them. Even in Wisconsin oceans effect us o
a daily basis.

Follow up/closure:
      The next unit is freshwater which is a natural transition from oceans.
                              Freshwater Biome
                               How Wet is our Planet?


Students will: 1.) describe the amount and distribution of water on the earth in oceans,
river, lakes, groundwater, icecaps and the atmosphere; and 1.) make inferences about the
importance of responsible use of water.


Students calculate water volumes using percentages.

                                       Time frame

                                  One 50 minute lesson


The earth has been called the water planet. Three-fourths of the earth’s surface is water.
The earth’s water can be seen in flowing rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, locked in the
icecaps, and drifting through the air as clouds. Water that has seeped into the earth’s
crust is more difficult to see, yet all these forms of water are part of a dynamic
interrelated flow that we call the water cycle.
Students tend to think of the water on the planet as being limitless and yet simple
calculation demonstrate the fact that the amount of water is limited. Scientists believe
that all the water that we will ever have is on the earth right now. Whatever amount is
available to humans and wildlife depends largely on how its quality is maintained.
Human beings have a responsibility to conserve water, use it wisely and protect its
The major purpose of this activity is for students to acquire and understanding of how
fragile a resource water really is.


Large display map of the world; a 12 inch diameter globe; a five gallon aquarium, bucket,
trash can, writing materials, calculators, measuring cup, one quart container for every
three students; one measuring tablespoon for every three students.


1.) Using a map of the earth, begin a discussion of how much water is present. Ask the
    students to comment on why the earth is called the water planet. Call the students’
  attention to the statistic that three-fourths of the surface of the earth is covered with
  water. After general discussion, provide the students with the following statistics:
Water on Earth

               Oceans                          97.2%
               Icecaps/glaciers                2.0%
               Groundwater                     .62%
               Freshwater lakes                .009%
               Inland seas/salt lakes          .008%
               Atmosphere                      .001%
               All rivers                      .0001%

2.) Discuss the relative percentages. Do the calculations for them or ask the students to
    calculate the estimated amounts of fresh water potentially available for human use:
                Groundwater                  .62%
                Freshwater lakes             .009%
                Rivers                       .0001%
                Icecaps/glaciers             2.0%
                Total                        2.62%

3.) In discussing these figures, emphasize that the usable percentage of existing fresh
    water is reduced by pollution and contamination. Also, all the groundwater and
    icecaps are not all readily available. Discuss the needs of humans for fresh water.
    Ask the students what other life forms also need the same water.
4.) Now show that students five gallons of water in an aquarium. Tell them how much is
    there. 5gal = 1280 tablespoons.
5.) Have the students assume that the five gallons represent all the water on earth. Do
    the calculations for them, or ask the students to calculate the volume of all the other
    quantities on the water percentage list.
                                5 Gallons
                Oceans                         1244
                Icecaps                        25
                Groundwater                    7.9
                Freshwater lakes               .11
                Inland seas                    .1
                Atmosphere                     .0128
                Rivers                         .0012

6.) Once the values are obtained, ask the students to calculate the volume of the water
    other that ocean water. Ask them to divide up in teams of three and put 34
    tablespoons of water in a container and take it to their workplaces.
7.) At their workplaces, ask the students to remove the amount of water represented by
    all freshwater lakes and rivers. Then ask the students to extract the amount
    represented by rivers. This is less than a drop. Discuss the relative proportions with
    the students.
8.) Consider the fragile nature of the freshwater, wetlands and oceans of our planet.
    Discuss how all species depend upon this minute percentage of water for their
    survival. Close by emphasizing the importance of keeping the earth’s water clean and
    healthy and use them wisely and responsibly.


1.) Create a mural of the water cycle that graphically includes the statistics that represent
    the relative amount of water in each component of the cycle.
2.) Calculate how much pollution is entering our waterways each year. (The Information
    Please Almanac and The Cousteau Almanac are good sources for such information.
3.) Calculate the size of a model of the earth that would accommodate all the water in the
    aquarium used in the demonstration.

1.) Estimate the percentage of water that is distributed in each of the following areas of
    our planet: oceans, rivers, freshwater lakes, inland seas and salt water lakes,
    groundwater, icecaps and glaciers, and the atmosphere.
2.) Explain why it is important that humans use water responsibly.
                           Tropical Forest Biome
                               Animals in their Habitats


Students will 1.) Identify ecological niches of animal species; and 2.) Construct
ecological interrelations in tropical food chain


Animal study, measurements, and evaluations.

                                        Age level



Students will learn about animals in the context of the natural habitats. They will
examine the ecological niches filled by different species, and how animals sometimes
endanger each other individually but rely on each other ecologically.

                                       Time frame

Initial lesson: One 45-minute period or equivalent

Extensions: two periods


No special materials needed.


1.) Visit one or more of the zoos in your neighborhood to initiate a discussion of animals.
    Have students brainstorm about types of animals, their habitats, eating habits, and
    endangered species.
Use the worldwide web to get some of info: Zoo in the wild: and the
National Zoological Park Home Page: http://www.
2.) Take your students to this site to see how animals are organized into meaningful
    categories by scientists, based upon their similarities and differences, and their
    evolutionary origins.
The Tree of Life:
Tree of Life: Metazoa:
The levels of classification of living organisms are:
Share the mnemonic device with your students: King Philip Came Over For Good

3.) Since three-fourths of earth is covered with ocean, you’ll want to have your students
visit some of our aquatic friends. Students should understand that the ocean is the
foundation of life on earth, both historically and ecologically.
New England Aquarium:


1.) Take a field trip with your class to a nearby park where you can study flora and fauna
    in person
2.) The richest host of different species in the world is the rainforest. Continue your
    studies of fauna at this site.
    Tropical Rainforest in Suriname:
3.) Show “Medicine Man” movie at the end of this lesson.
                          Temperate Deciduous Forests (Outline)

Day 1:
         Characteristic Abiotic Factors:
          Latitude
          Range
          Temperature
          Precipitation
          Seasons

Day 2:
         Characteristic Fauna (tracks, habits, behavior, etc. of each)
          birds
          small mammals
          fox, bear, mountain lion
          deer

Day 3:
         Characteristic Flora (identification)
          broad-leaved deciduous trees
             maples
             oaks
             hickory
             beech
             birch

Day 4:
          Human Impact
          Logging
          agriculture
          urban development
                        Taiga -Coniferous or Boreal Forest (outline)

Day 1:
         Abiotic Characteristics
            High elevation
            temperate latitude
            mountainous regions (Taiga is Russian for Mountain)
            harsh winters/short summers
            lots and lots of snow
            thin acidic soil, protected by accumulated snow

Day 2:
         Characteristic Fauna
            adapted to cold
            mice, shrews, and voles
            large browsers - deer, elk
            Predators - wolves, lynx, wolverines

Day 3
         Characteristic flora (identification)
            adapted to cold
            conifers
                waxy needles hold in moisture
                densely grown - not much room for undergrowth
                hemlock
                spruce
                pine
                                 Tundra Biome
                        Simulated Wolf Population Studies


Students will: 1.) Identify food, water, and shelter as three essential components of a
habitat; 2.) describe the importance of a good habitat for animals; 3.) Define limiting
factors and give examples; 4.) Recognize that some fluctuations in a given wolf
population are natural as ecological systems undergo a constant change; 5.) Recognize
that changes in wolf population are due to man.

Age level



To increase students’ awareness of the conditions which affect the size on individual wolf
packs in the wild.


Students become wolves and components of a habitat in a highly involving physical

Time frame

One 50 minute class period.


Board and paper to record population counts and habitat conditions. Graph paper is
needed for making a pictorial study of the population changes.


1.) Review the essential components of a wolf habitat.
2.) Number students off in fours. Mark tow parallel lines twenty yards apart on the
    ground having ones lineup behind one line and the twos, threes and fours behind the
    opposite line.
3.) The ones are wolves and are looking for food (hands clamped over stomach) water
    (hands over mouth), and shelter (hands over head). During a single round each wolf
    is looking for one of these components.
4.) The twos, threes and fours are the components of the habitat and use the same hand
    signals as noted above. Each student gets to choose at the beginning of each round
    which component he or she will be during that round.
5.) Each round starts with all players lined up in their respective lines and with their
    backs to the students behind the other line.
6.) The teacher notes the beginning of each round. Wolves and habitat components make
    their individually determined signals. When students are ready, the teacher count to
    three at which time everyone turns around. Wolves are allowed to run and capture
    one person exhibiting the sign that the wolf if looking for.
7.) Successfully captured habitat components return to the wolf line and then become
    wolves increasing the wolf population. Wolves that do not find what they need, die
    and become part of the habitat for the next round.
8.) The teacher and students keep track of the wolf population for each round. Continue
    until you have done fifteen rounds.
9.) Graph data.


1.) Discuss and write about what would happen to the wolf population if man were
    included into this experiment.
2.) Include a history lesson: this experiment was done by the Hudson Bay trappers in
    early American history. Compare your findings to what their results after some
    research on this topic.


After graphing the data, ask the students to summarize some of the things they have
learned from this activity. Discuss what wolves need to survive; what are some of the
natural limiting factors that affect their survival; whether wildlife populations in general
are static; whether wildlife nature is ever really in balance.
                         Environmental Problems
                              Environmental Barometer

Students will: 1.) observe and count wildlife in and area; 2.) discuss why the wildlife is or
is not present; and 3.) Consider way in which the presence of wildlife can be seen as an
indicator of environmental quality.

Students will go outside to observe and count or estimate wildlife in an area, and do the
same for another setting, to make a school “environmental barometer.”

Age level

Time frame
One class period to discuss, more time needed to observe and count wildlife

The major purpose of this activity is for students to consider the importance of wildlife as
an indicator of environmental quality.

1.) Discuss the diversity of wildlife.
2.) Go outside with your students on the school grounds and do a wildlife count. Each
    student should sit quietly alone for ten minutes. The students should record the kinds
    and numbers of any wildlife they see or evidence of wildlife.
3.) Next, take the students to a setting where wildlife is more abundant doing the same
4.) Compare the two charts. Discuss the differences. Ask and offer explanations to

Share barometer with other class in other subjects. Show seasonal changes in the
barometer’s readings.

1.) Do research on bird migration, or any other pertinent available information that is
    recorded from year to year. Compare the differences, and offer explanations.
2.) Make a list of thing we sometimes do in cities and towns that tend to decrease or
    increase the amounts and kinds of wildlife.
                             Biome Unit field trip wrap-up

       An excellent way to conclude this unit would be to take the class on a field trip to
a Zoo. The Milwaukee County Zoo and the Minnesota Zoo would both offer a huge
learning experience to the students. Most zoos have their plants and animals arranged in
some way similar to the biomes described in this unit. If done properly this could be a
great way to help the students retain all the information they just learned. Look for a
detailed plan of this field trip in the coming future as my student choice assignment.
                                    UNIT PLAN III
Test Covering: Environmental Barometer, Changing Attitudes, How Wet is our Planet,
Simulated wolf Population Studies, and Animals in their Habitats.

Multiple Choice Questions: (Circle the most appropriate answer) 2pts each
1.) The amount (in numbers) of wildlife in our school habitat was found to be:
    a.) 0-10 b.) 11-20              c.) 21-30      d.) greater than 50

2.) The amount of wildlife in our school habitat vs. outside of town habitat was found to
be: a.) greater      b.) smaller     c.) exactly equal

3.) Which animals are predators now protected by law:
    a.) grizzly bears b.) cougars  c.) coyotes    d.) all of the above

4.) The attitudes of people toward wildlife awareness in people you surveyed has
generally: a.) increased      b.) decreased         c.) remained the same

5.) The term given for the dynamic interrelated flow of water from the lakes and oceans
to the atmosphere is called: a.) water sliding      b.) water maintaining
c.) water bicycling    d.) water cycling

6.) The estimated amount of fresh water potentially available for human use is:
    a.) 97.2% b.) 75%        c.) 2.6%       d.) 5 gallons

7.) The most probable change in the wolf population can largely be related to:
    a.) wolf habitat b.) man        c.) the greenhouse effect     d.) mice

8.) The most essential components of a wolf’s habitat is(are): a.) food    b.) water
       c.) shelter    d.) all of the above

8.) The movie Medicine Man best represents what kind of problem:
    a.) drinking too much of alcoholic beverages b.) the rainy season      c.) destruction
    of important species      d.) woman vs. man

9.) The highest level of classification of living organisms are: a.) Kingdom
       b.)Phylum       c.) Species     d.) Class

10.) The reason we took a field trip to a zoo was because: a.) for fun      b.) too see
animals in their semi-reconstructed habitats c.) to increase the greenhouse effect by
burning gas in the bus for no reason d.) to experience the feeling of being incarcerated
True or False? (Circle the correct answer) 2pts each
1.) An “Environmental Barometer” represents how the weather is changing the
environment. T F

2.) Generally over time, the protections of animals have increased.   T    F

3.) In our households we should conserve as much water as we can because the amount
of fresh water in the world is limited. T F

4.) The Simulated Wolf Population Study was fist done by the Hudson Bay trappers. T F

5.) The zoo is a great place to see animals that you would not normally see. T F

Short Answer (Write in the most appropriate word or phrase) 15pts
1.) The levels of classification of living organisms are: (From highest to lowest)

Essay (Pick two of the three possible) 15pts each

1.) If you were going to try to change someone’s attitude about snakes from negative to
    positive, how would you do it?
2.) Create a drawing of the water cycle that graphically includes the statistics that
    represent the relative amount of water in each component of the cycle.

3.) Describe a wolf population before and after mans interference.
                        Alternative Assessment Rubric

Attendance ¼ pts………………………………………………………………5 pts total

Participation ¼ pts…………………………………………………………….5 pts total

Attitude ¼ pts per day between tests………………………………………….. 5 pts total

Involvement and interest ¼ pts ……………………………………………… 5 pts total

Conceptual Change ¼ pts…………………………………………………….5 pts total

Total Points………………………………………………………………… 25 pts total

Note: The ¼ th points are assigned per day as the student shows. The point total in each
group is added up for the 20 day period between each test. The total alternative
assessment points will be added to the 75pt test for a grand total of 100pts for each test
Test covering : climate, abiotics factors, oceans, and multiple biomes’

Multiple Choice: (2pts each)
Circle the most appropriate answer.

1) Which of these is not an abiotic factor?
a) Temperature         b) Weight      c) Water        d) Solar Energy

2) Ocean currents are caused by:
a) Prevailing winds b) Shape of the continents        c) Rotation of the Earth
d) All of the above

3) An estuary is:
a) A river of freshwater flowing on the ocean floor
b) A river of salt water
c) The marshy area where fresh and salt water meet
d) An island that forms in the middle of very large rivers

4) The richest communities in the ocean are:
a) The aphotic and pelagic zones
b) Estuaries and coral reefs
c) Coral reefs and hydrothermal vents
d) The ones with big houses and nice cars

5) This biome is characterized by maple, oak, hickory, and birch trees.
a) Temperate forest
b) Taiga
c) Tundra
d) Chaparral
6) Tagia is:
a) A russian word for “icey place”
b) A biome dominated by high winds and very little precipitaion
c) A coniferous biome
d) The biome most effected by human overpopulation

7) Air which is heated by the sun at the equator rises, creating an area of calm or
light winds know as:
a) doldrums
b) humbolt currents
c) trade winds
d) temperate zones

8) Humans influence biomes by:
a) destruction of habitat
b) pollution
c) over harvesting
d) all of the above

9) Conifers have needles with a waxy coating on them. This waxy coating is there
a) Make the needles taste bad so animals don’t eat them
b) Hold in moisture
c) Protect the needle during fires
d) Aid in seed dispersal

10) Question #9 is an example of:
a) A really good question
b) An adaptation to predation
c) A, B, and D
d) Influence of abiotic factors
TRUE/FALSE(2pts each)circle either T or F

1. T/F Deserts are biologically dead, containing almost no life.
2. T/F Desertification is the process of destroying deserts.
3. T/F The Taiga is characterized by long summers and short, harsh winters.
4. T/F Wetlands are ecosystems that usually occur between aquatic and terrestrial
5. T/F Algae and cyanobacteria are collectively called phytoplankton.

1. Draw a diagram of the ocean with all its different parts.

2. Why is it foolish to think that we have an unlimited supply of fresh water?

Essay (40 pts) Choose one of the two listed.

1. Explain how the uneven heating of the earth is responsible for the trade winds,
   prevailing winds, ocean currents, tropics, temperate zones, and doldrums. Remember
   a picture is worth a thousand words.

2. What are the seven “key abiotic factors” that we discussed in class? Use an example
   organism (possibly from our field trip) to show how organisms adapt to these factors.