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Measuring an Ecosystem

Main Core Tie

Science - Biology
Standard 1 Objective 1

Time Frame

1 class periods of 60 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


This is a lab in which students randomly choose a plot of land and measure the biotic organisms contained within in. They relate this to food chains and the energy pyramid.



  1. student page (attached)
  2. hula hoops
  3. colored pencils
  4. large field outdoors

Student Prior Knowledge

Students should have an understanding of feeding levels, food chains and food webs, and energy pyramids.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Divide students into group of 4 and give each group a hula hoop.
  2. Take students to a diverse area outside of your school (a nature center works well).
  3. Students should bring their labs and colored pencils with them.
  4. Instruct students to randomly throw the hula hoop. The best way is for them to turn around and throw it over their head.
  5. They should then draw and count and classify the organisms in their hula hoop.and answer analysis questions.

Assessment Plan

Sample Scoring Guide:

Data recorded........................10 points
Questions correctly answered................20 points
Drawing colored, keyed, detailed........15 points
Student is on task and cleans up properly....10 points
Conclusions are complete, solid ideas in complete sentences....20 points

Answers to questions:

  1. to get a random sample, so that you don’t choose the cool yucca
  2. producers, but answers will vary
  3. producers
  4. usually but not always
  5. producers=most biomass, top of pyramid (tertiary consumers)=least
  6. more energy from producers than consumers
  7. food chains will vary
  8. it provides a constant addition of energy for the producers through photosynthesis
  9. because it is being used up, you gain energy by consuming something, a plant cannot get energy from an insect because a plant doesn’t consume it
  10. No! otherwise the process would not occur


Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Created: 11/12/2014
Updated: 02/04/2018