Ecosystems: Biotic and Abiotic Factors
Grade: Middle level, 7th grade
Student Centered Objectives:
Students will be able to:
Time required: 3-5 class periods
Pre-lesson bulletin board:
Instructor introduces the lesson by reading the story "Four Worlds: The Dine Story of Creation"
Discuss the meaning of the story, as understood by the students.
Discuss what "interactions" and "stewardship" mean.
Take students and their journals to the nearest tree. Have students use their senses to record what they see. Emphasize that they first record the "big" picture (whole tree, leaves, trunk, and ground) and then move into the smaller details (insects, bark, mosses, webs, twigs, rocks, and soils)
Proper journalizing includes sketches and labels describing each item.
Have students cut out four leaf shapes. On two of the leaves, students are to put two living things they observed on or around the tree and on the other two leaves they need to write two non-living things from their journalizing activity. Place a hook in each leaf (ornament hooks or paperclips work best) and hang on the proper trees on the bulletin board.
Have students brainstorm what an ecosystem is. Discuss and share examples.
Introduce Abiotic (non-living things such as air, soil, water, temperature, and light) and Biotic factors (living things such as plants or animals) within an ecosystem. Use the student examples from the Crinkle trees. Have students add examples of factors that might be missing on the trees.
Have students rename the trees with the titles "Abiotic Factors" and "Biotic Factors".
To reinforce students understanding of one particular abiotic factor, soil, have students conduct the following observation activity. BE SURE TO PREPARE THE MATERIALS ONE DAY PRIOR TO USE AS THE COLLECTION PROCESS IS TIME CONSUMING AND IT TAKES ABOUT 8 HOURS FOR THE SOIL TO PROPERLY SETTLE IN LAYERS IN THE JARS
Lesson 3: Interactions with in an ecosystem
Great Plains Buffalo
-Interdependence between Buffalo and Native Americans
Guest Speaker on the uses of the Buffalo.
Utilize the resources of a local museum (such as the People’s Center in Pablo, MT or the local culture committees of the various tribes. It is very important that students "see" actual items.
Have copies of the handout "Uses of the Buffalo" available for each student.
-At the end of the presentation, have students record three main points made by the guest speaker as well as a brief summary of their understanding of the interdependence between the Buffalo and Native Americans.
Student Journals (I usually have the students create their own) one per student
"Four Worlds: The Dine Story of Creation (Dine [Navajo] –Southwest)" from the book Keepers of the Earth, by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Buchac, 1989.
"Tanka-shila, Grandfather Rock" (Lakota [Sioux]- Great Plains) from the book Keepers of the Earth, by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Buchac, 1989.
"The Buffalo Bull and the Cedar Tree" (Osage-Plains) from the book Keepers of Life, by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac, 1989.
Large Sheets of Butcher Paper (for Crinkle Trees)
Leaf shape cutouts (variety of colors and sizes)
Ornament hangers (or paper clips)
Soil samples, labeled
Several Quart-size glass jars
"Uses of the Buffalo" charts (one per student)