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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Step 2: Research and plan desired ecosystems as a class or in small groups. Make a master list of what is needed and make assignments of what to bring or collect.
This type of ecosystem should be self sustaining. All you will need to do is research and include the food each animal needs. If you do not wish to add animals to your ecosystem, make a plant terrarium that waters itself. If you would rather make an artificial habitat, skip to the next step. Here are a few ideas of different types of small scale environments that can be made.
Step 3. Instead of an ecosystem, you can create an artificial habitat for pillbugs, silkworms, mealworms, earthworms, fish, ladybugs, caterpillars, ants, mice, etc. Each group could make their own in a big glass jar. Have groups decide what their animal or insect needs in order to live. Collect materials and prepare an environment that is similar to their natural habitat. You most likely will have to feed your animal.
Step 4. Once you have your materials, begin making your ecosystems or habitats.
Step 5. Observe your mini-ecosystems or artificial habitats for at least a couple of weeks. Instruct students to record daily observations in their science journals. Ask them questions such as:
Step 6. When students done making observations be sure they return insects or animals to their natural habitats.
Have students draw and label a food chain for different habitats.
Play Oh, Deer! game/simulation found in the Project Wild manual.
Have students observe what happens to a small squash, apple, or other food item over a period of time. Place the item in a clear plastic container with a lid. Record observations in science journals. Some items may take months to completely decompose, but it is fascinating to watch. Observe as the item is eaten by bacteria, liquefies, and begins to evaporate. You may want to dump the liquid into a flower bed for fertilizer.
Make a decomposition column, fermentation chamber, or ecocolum. Information and directions are in the Bottle Biology book. The price is $15.95 + $3 postage. To order call 1-800-228-0810, fax 1-800-346-2377, or send to Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. P.O. Box 1840 Dubuque, IA 52004-1840.
Watch any of the Magic School Bus series listed in bibliography or have students read the books.
Go outside or look out a window. Ask students to identify five living and five non-living things they see. Ask them to identify three interactions between living and non-living things that they see. Ask them to predict how a drought would effect the environment they are observing.
Magic School Bus For Lunch (Video). Kidvision, 1995.
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