Activity Introduction

girl-camera-photoframeQuick summary: During this lesson students investigate the structure of ecosystems, including trophic levels and biotic and abiotic elements. Students begin by refreshing their understanding of key ecosystem terms, and then observe and record the biotic and abiotic features of their school yard ecosystem. They then participate in a group activity around a wetland ecosystem, looking at how this ecosystem responds to various scenarios.

This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.

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Learning goals:

  • Students understand that ecosystems are made up of interacting biotic and abiotic elements.
  • Students recognise the trophic levels present in ecosystems.
  • Students understand that changes in the biotic and abiotic elements can affect the health of ecosystems.
  • Students recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.

21st century skills:

ecosystem connections skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 Science

  • Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-14LW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter.

Topic: Outdoor Learning, Biodiversity.

Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. A ball of string. Workbooks for recording ideas. One copy of each of the following: Wetland Ecosystem Interactions, Wetland Organisms Cards (may be cut up prior to the lesson).

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Ecosystem, trophic levels, abiotic, biotic, energy, outdoor learning.

Cool Australia would like to thank The Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.

Youngman Trust Logo

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

 

 

 

 

 

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

cc-secondary1-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students recognise the trophic levels present in ecosystems. They understand that ecosystems are made up of interacting biotic and abiotic elements and recognise that changes in these elements can affect the health of ecosystems. Finally, students recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.

Outdoor learning information:

Outdoor Learning Series: https://vimeo.com/171030135

Factsheets:

To help guide teachers through suggested activities in this lesson, we have developed a series of icons designed to show what types of activities are involved and where these activities may take place (see Learning Activity Key below).

learning activity icons key updated-v3

This lesson is designed to support students and teachers undertaking the Outdoor Learning Unit. Click here to view

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Which ecosystem are you a part of?

Reflection

Select one of the following activities to complete:

  • Draw a food web for the wetlands ecosystem (remember to include arrows to show the direction of energy flow).
  • Draw all the food chains that the herons belong to (remember to include arrows to show the direction of energy flow).
  • Do you think the wetland food web would remain the same all year round? Explain your answer and give reasons for your predictions.
  • What would happen to other organisms in the wetland if the number of turtles rapidly increased? Explain your answer and give reasons for your predictions.

Complete your answer in your workbooks.

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