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Science - Secondary Curriculum
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Lesson Plans  
Standard 1
Students will understand that living organisms interact with one another and their environment.
Objective 3
Describe how interactions among organisms and their environment help shape ecosystems.
  • Abiotic and Biotic Factors
    This lesson helps students understand abiotic and biotic factors. Once the concept has been grasped, they can trace the interactions of these factors within a system.
  • Abiotic vs Biotic
    In this activity students will distinguish between abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem. They will demonstrate this by identifying and classifying various biotic and abtiotic objects.
  • Analyzing An Ecosystem Field Trip
    This is a field trip activity, our school has wetlands nearby, any other distinct ecosystem would suffice. Students will gather quantitative and qualitative data to describe this ecosystem.
  • Backwards Predator-Prey Relationships
    This activity allows students to work backwards from a classic predator-prey graph to sharpen their scientific method skills and analyze the data.
  • Brine Shrimp Inquiry Lab
    Students will engage in a long term lab investigating biotic and abiotic influences on an ecosystem.
  • Creating An Ecosystem
    In this activity students will design hypothetical ecosystems based on the random drawing of abiotic factors. They will make a picture to display their information.
  • Diagramming an Ecosystem
    Students will create illustrations of an ecosystem using the computer program Inspiration or using paper and colored pencils.
  • Ecosystem (Biome) Research
    In this research-based activity students will distinguish between abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem. They will also investigate the interactions between these.
  • Ecosystem Survey Using Classification and Plant ID
    Scientists use many tools to evaluate the health of a habitat. One way to classify and determine the health of a habitat is to identify the organisms that live there and compare those to other habitats. To do this biologists use identification keys. In this exercise students will use identification keys to identify plants in various habitats and determine adaptations for success / evolution of different species.
  • Four Threats
    Students will analyze information from the Wasatch Cache National Forest Website to discover what environmental threats Utah faces. They will pick a threat to do further research on.
  • Habitat Alteration Module: Habitat Succession
    This activity is part of the TGLL Habitat Alteration Module. This is a long-term project, ideally spanning from 2-3 months. This project will involve observing habitat succession at sites that either vary naturally, or at sites that are experimentally manipulated by students (human alterations).
  • Habitat Alterations of a Riparian Ecosystem
    This field trip is designed to physically immerse students in the concept of habitat alteration by visiting a location along the Jordan river that possesses highly altered, relatively pristine, and restored habitats. Students will rotate between three stations focusing on biotic and abiotic habitat alterations within which they will identify native and exotic species, measure water quality, and gain historical perspectives on land use practices along uses the Jordan river. This trip is designed to take 3.5 hours and can accommodate between 30 and 60 students.This trip was originally designed for8th grade but can e properly scaled for 6-10th grade.
  • Introduction to Habitat Alteration
    Students will be introduced to the concepts of habitat and habitat change through lecturing and guided inquiry. Students will engage in an open discussion of habitat change, view time-lapse footage of change, and identify /evaluate images of natural and human caused habitat alteration. Attention will be focused on identifying indicators and causes of habitat alteration.
  • My Buddy
    Students will research about a symbiotic relationship between 2 organisms. They will then present their relationship to the class. In a charades type format.
  • My Ecosystem
    Students will randomly select an area in a field or lawn for observation and measurement.
  • Native vs Exotic Fish
    Students will engage in a simulation game where they model feeding styles of fish and how fish compete for food.
  • Oh, Deer
    In this activity students will model how animals' needs for survival are met, what happens when they are not, and see how populations fluctuate based on their availability.
  • Pond Water Ecology and Habitat Change
    Students will understand how abiotic (physical) factors alter the biotic elements of an ecosystem through an examination of microbial life in water. Students will observe water from three aquatic habitats that differ in their physical characteristics. Students will also experimentally alter the physical factors of an aquatic habitat. By observing and experimentally changing different aquatic habitats, students will understand that the abiotic components of an environment shape the type of life living there.
  • Symbiotic Relationships
    Students are introduced to symbiotic relationships between living things. They then create their own examples of imaginary symbiotic relationships.
  • The Commons
    Students model an ocean ecosystem and see how humans affect the number of fish over a period of years. Students must work as a class to find an equitable solution for all the countries represented.
  • pH Changes in a Small Ecosystem
    A pond water/hay infusion will be developed and observed. Student groups will add a range of acid and base solutions to look for changes.

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Richard Scott and see the Science - Secondary website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - DIANA SUDDRETH .  
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