Lesson Plan

Relationships among Organisms


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In this lesson, students compare various types of relationships among organisms (i.e., biotic interactions). Students will:

  • explain the roles of producers and consumers, and predators and prey in an ecosystem.
  • explain the levels of order in an ecosystem from simple to complex (i.e., individual, community, population, and ecosystem).
  • use evidence to infer the relationship between changes in predator and prey populations.
  • compare symbiotic relationships among organisms (i.e., parasitism, mutualism, commensalism, and amensalism).

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  • Producers: Organisms that use sunlight and/or chemical compounds to produce their own food.
  • Consumers: Organisms that eat other organisms for energy.
  • Species: A group of similar organisms that can breed with one another.
  • Population: A group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area.
  • Community: All of the populations that live together in a certain area.
  • Ecosystem: All of the organisms that live in a certain area and their nonliving environment.
  • Symbiotic: Describes a relationship in which two species live closely together.
  • Predation: An interaction in which one organism kills and feeds on another organism.
  • Parasitism: Symbiotic relationship in which one organism lives in or on another organism (the host) and harms the host.
  • Mutualism: Symbiotic relationship in which both species benefit from the relationship.
  • Commensalism: Symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits and the other is not helped or harmed.
  • Amensalism: Symbiotic relationship in which one organism harms the growth of another organism, while the organism itself is not affected.
  • Predator: An animal that kills and eats other organisms.
  • Prey: An animal that is killed and eaten by another organism.


75–90 minutes/2 class periods

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