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School District:Custer
Unit of Study Title:Ecosystems
Grade Level:3-5
Time Frame:One month
Key Words:ecosystem, forest, community, deciduous forest, habitat, environment
 
Unit Designer:Connie Fernen
Unit Designer E-mail:Connie.Fernen@k12.sd.us
Date Added:6/11/2002 4:13:54 PM
Date Last Revised:6/24/2002 3:25:41 PM
 
Topic Area:Science
 
Peer Reviewer:Kay McKee
Peer Reviewer E-mail:kay.mckee2k12.sd.us

Brief Summary of Unit:
The students will observe and describe the habitats of organisms within an ecosystem. They will recognize that organisms with similar needs compete with each other for resources. They will describe environmental changes that may cause some organisms to thrive, become ill, or perish.
Students will Understand:
1. Identify the basic structures and functions of plants.
2. Identify basic structures and functions of animals.
3. Explain how behavioral and physical adaptations allow animals to respond to life needs. (Example: finding shelter, defending themselves, hibernation, and camouflage)
4. Explain reasons for the extinction of species. (Example: theories about why dinosaurs disappeared)
5. Describe cause and effect relationships in living systems.
6. Describe how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival.
7. Investigate and understand how environments support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources.
8. Describe the major components of soil, its origin, and its importance to plants and animals.
9. Investigate how natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species.
10. Investigate the relationship between the use of different natural resources and the effect of their use on the environment.

Link to Standards #1
Goal:

Science
Students will explore, evaluate, and communicate personal and scientific investigations to understand the nature of science.

Indicator:

1. Identify the basic structures and functions of plants.
2. Identify basic structures and functions of animals.
3. Explain how behavioral and physical adaptations allow animals to respond to life needs. (Example: finding shelter, defending themselves, hibernation, and camouflage)
4. Explain reasons for the extinction of species. (Example: theories about why dinosaurs disappeared)
5. Describe cause and effect relationships in living systems.
6. Describe how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival.
7. Investigate and understand how environments support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources.
8. Describe the major components of soil, its origin, and its importance to plants and animals.
9. Investigate how natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species.
10. Investigate the relationship between the use of different natural resources and the effect of their use on the environment.
Benchmark(s):
1. The students will understand what makes up an ecosystem.
2. The students will have knowledge of what living things get from an environment.
3. The students will have knowledge as to why ecosystems change.
4. The students will have knowledge of a forest and where they grow.
5. The students will know the difference between a deciduous forest, a tropical forest, a coniferous forest and a coastal forest environment.
6. The students will understand the two different deserts.
7. The students will know how plants and animals get water in a desert.
Other Content Standards:
No other standards.

Other Components
Essential Questions to Guide this Unit and Focus Teaching and Learning:
1. What observations can you make to find out how animals live?
2. Observe your environment and then describe the environment.
3. What needs does the environment provide for living things?
4. Do living things need to share an environment?
5. What is an ecosystem?
6. Can living things change an ecosystem?
7. What makes up a forest?
8. What are the four kinds of forests? Describe them.
9. Where are the forests located?
10. What is a desert?
11. What makes up a desert?
12. Name the life in a desert?
13. What are the two different deserts? Describe them.
14. How do plants and animals get what they need from a desert?
15. How do animals and plants characteristics enable them to live in their environment?
16. How do animals and plants survive when their environments change?
Key Knowledge and Skills Students will Acquire:
1. The students will understand what makes up an ecosystem.
2. The students will be able to name the four forests.
3. The students will be able to name the two deserts.
4. The students will understand how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival.
5. The students will acquire the knowledge of how natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species.
6. The students will be able to identify the basic structures and functions of plants and animals.
7. The students will understand how environments support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources.
Assessment Plan:
A child earns an S for participation. A child earns a U for lack of participation. The children that go beyond what you are doing in class receive a certificate for their hard work. (IEP adjustments are made)
Learning Activities:
1. After reading the chapter or parts and discussions then I will do a unit study with the following activities:
2. The students will go outside and observe the environment. I then will mark off specific areas for groups to study and chart what they see. (Example: rope off an area of ground and with the use of magnifying glasses chart what life forms they find.)
3. The students will make a model of a desert ecosystem and care for it. (use of sand, gravel, and cacti plants)
4. The students will make a model of a forest ecosystem and care for it. (use of small seedlings, forest type plants and humus soil)
5. The students will use the Internet to research the desert and forest ecosystem. (a list of sites to visit will be available to the students)
6. The students will use Encarta and the library to do research.
7. Centers will be set up with books from the library for the children to read and do research (with use of the Library icon on the computer.)
8. They will do pages from their workbook that compare and contrast the two ecosystems.
Notes:
None at this point and time.
Internet Resource Link: http://www.animalsoftherainforest.com/.http://www.kidsdomain.comhttp://www.enchantedlearning.com/Home.htmlhttp://www.yahooligans.com/cf0389nmp4w

Adapted from the the work of Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins. Understanding by
Design. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria, VA. 1998.

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