Lesson Plan Template: Learning Cycle (5E Model)
Learning Objectives: What will students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students will understand the definition of an ecosystem, including the abiotic and biotic components and processes. They will understand that ecosystems have no specific scale and can change when biotic or abiotic components, or processes within the ecosystem, change. Students also will learn about specific Florida ecosystems.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Students should have a basic understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes such as photosynthesis, evapotranspiration, evaporation.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
What is an ecosystem? How does a change in one component of the ecosystem affect the other components (abiotic, biotic, processes)?
Engage: What object, event, or questions will the teacher use to trigger the students' curiosity and engage them in the concepts?
Have the What is an Ecosystem? worksheet (What is an Ecosystem.docx) placed face down on each desk as the students walk in the room (the worksheet could also be passed out after the video is shown).
Play the My Pond music video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTYkgxGU520) (3:19 min) Another alternative is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUY_-LK_lOc (3:28 min). The latter option has an advertisement so will need to be loaded (and the ad viewed) before class begins.
These videos are entertaining but also will trigger past knowledge of ecosystems and introduce the topic of the day.
When video is over, display PowerPoint slide 1 and tell students that we are going to explore ecosystems over the next few days but first we will discuss what exactly is an ecosystem. Ask students to flip over their worksheets and give them 5-10 minutes to answer the question.
Explore: What will the students do to explore the concepts and skills being developed through the lesson?
Ask for volunteers to share definitions of an ecosystem (from their worksheet).
Display Slide 2 (definition of an ecosystem) and discuss any obvious discrepancies between student definitions and the one on the slide.
Go through Slides 3-6
Display slide 7 and lead a discussion about what could cause changes in the ecosystem. This will give you a general sense of how much students understand the abiotic, biotic, and process influences in an environment.
Go through slides 8-18
Explain: What will the students and teacher do so students have opportunities to clarify their ideas, reach a conclusion or generalization, and communicate what they know to others?
Discussions throughout the teacher instruction as well as the student presentations will give students an opportunity to clarify their ideas and communicate what they know to others.
Elaborate: What will the students do to apply their conceptual understanding and skills to solve a problem, make a decision, perform a task, or make sense of new knowledge?
Pass out Ecosystem Rubric.xls. Working in groups or individually (depending on time availability), have students research and present information about a specific ecosystem. Ecosystems can be assigned or chosen by students and duration of presentation can vary based on time availability. Any free time in class can be spent researching. The presentations will reinforce ecosystem concepts. Duplicate ecosystem presentations are not necessarily a bad idea.
At the end of the lesson (after presentations), ask students to fill out the exit slip (Ecosystem Exit Slip.docx).
Depending on resource availability, student proficiency, and time, here are some suggested presentation media:
- PowerPoint presentation
- Performance (acting out the components, interactions, and changes)
Students should describe abiotic and biotic components of their ecosystem.
Students should present information about processes or interactions between these components.
Students should explain how changes in their ecosystem can occur based on seasonal variation, climate change, succession, or some other factor.
Book suggestions for student research
- Ecosystems of Florida - Ronald Myers and John Ewel
- Priceless Florida - Ellie Whitney, D Bruce Means, Anne Rudloe
- Florida's Living Beaches - Blair and Dawn Witherington
Website suggestions for student research
Presentations at the end of the lesson will provide teachers with an opportunity to gauge whether students understand the definition of an ecosystem, abiotic and biotic components, processes, and how various changes impact the ecosystem. An exit slip activity (Ecosystem Exit Slip.docx) will provide a final assessment of student understanding of the concepts.
The lesson will begin with a formative assessment worksheet on which students write their definition of an ecosystem. Subsequent class discussion and guiding questions will allow assessment of student understanding throughout the lesson. Teacher can circle around the class during research time to assess students' development toward the learning objectives, work with students, ask questions, and help where needed.
Feedback to Students
Students will assess their understanding of an ecosystem during the first activity (worksheet). The discussion that follows and opportunities to ask questions during the PowerPoint will further help students gauge their understanding.
Teacher will provide feedback during the research period. This could be formally done by asking students to provide a draft of their presentation. Students can then apply this feedback to their individual presentations. In addition, teachers could encourage students to self-evaluate using the rubric as they practice their presentation.
Finally, listening to the presentations about the different ecosystems will allow students to further gauge their understanding and provide another opportunity to ask questions and clarify.