Lesson Plan

Ecosystem Interactions Among Organisms

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Objectives

In this lesson, students learn about organism interactions in lotic and lentic ecosystems. Students will:

  • describe the ecological roles of organisms in lotic and lentic ecosystems.
  • describe interactions among organisms in ecosystems.
  • explain the concept of trophic levels in an ecosystem.


Essential Questions

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Vocabulary

  • Consumer: Organism that does not make its own energy. Consumers can be plant eaters (herbivores), meat eaters (carnivores), plant and meat eaters (omnivores), or scavengers, which eat dead things or detritus (detritivores).
  • Decomposer: Bacteria or other organisms that break down dead organisms into nutrients that can return to the soil.
  • Energy Pyramid: Diagram that shows the amounts of energy as it is transferred through a food chain.
  • Food Web: A group of connected food chains that shows feeding relationships in an ecosystem.
  • Habitat: Place where a plant or animal lives.
  • Predator: An organism that captures, kills, and eats another organism.
  • Prey: An organism that is eaten by a predator.
  • Primary Consumer: Animal that eats producers (e.g., rabbit, cow).
  • Producer: Green plant or plant-like protist that makes its own food by photosynthesis.
  • Secondary Consumer: Animal that eats other secondary consumers and others below on the food chain (e.g., snake, fox).
  • Tertiary Consumer: Consumer that eats other tertiary consumers and others below on the food chain
  • Trophic Level: The feeding level of an organism in a food chain (e.g., producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer).


Duration

90 minutes/2 class periods


Prerequisite Skills


Materials


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Related Materials & Resources

The possible inclusion of commercial websites below is not an implied endorsement of their products, which are not free, and are not required for this lesson plan.

  • Wetlands Ecosystem Study Unit (teacher resource)

www.mrsoshouse.com/enviro02/2002.html

  • Identify the Food Chains: A Food Web (student activity)

http://cas.psu.edu/DOCS/WEBCOURSE/WETLAND/WET1/identify.html

  • Create a Food Web (student activity)

www.vtaide.com/png/foodwebS.htm

  • Food Chains and Food Webs (tutorial)

www.vtaide.com/png/foodchains.htm



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