ElementarySchoolScience.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking ElementaryScienceClass.com” to Amazon.com.

© 2017 by Elementary School Science. 

ryan@elementaryschoolscience

  • Facebook Social Icon

Ecological Hierarchy: Population, Community, Ecosystem, Biome, and Biosphere

This lesson contains affiliate links to products I have used and personally recommend. At no cost to you, I make a commission for purchases made through the links or advertisements. These commissions help to pay for the costs of the site and enable it to remain free for anyone who wants to use it. 

Objectives:

  • The students will learn about the levels of ecological organization/ ecological hierarchy.

  • The students will be able to define the terms: individual, population, community, ecosystem, biome, and biosphere.

  • The students will be able to explain the difference between a population and a community.

  • The students will be able to explain the difference between an ecosystem and a biome.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the community you live in. Who and what is your community made up of?

  • Is everyone the same?

  • Does everyone have the same profession/ job?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • What do you know about the levels of ecological organization/ ecological hierarchy (population, community, ecosystem, biome, and biosphere)? 

Common Core State Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

Input:
What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The levels of ecological organization / the ecological hierarchy.

  • The definitions of the terms: individual, population, community, ecosystem, biome, and biosphere.

  • The difference between a population and a community.

  • The difference between an ecosystem and a biome.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • The teacher will begin the class by showing the video “Levels of Organization in an Ecosystem.” (Source: http://www.teachertube.com/video/levels-of-organization-in-ecosystems-427652)  The video is about 2:10 minutes long and reviews each of ecological levels. After the video is over, the teacher should begin a discussion about the content/ what the students observed. The teacher should talk about some of the organisms that are common in the local area.

 

  • Next, the teacher will hand out the worksheet packet “Levels of Ecological Organization” If it is possible, project each page of the “Levels of Ecological Organization” worksheet packet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project. Each worksheet is broken into two parts (top and bottom). The top part contains information that the teacher will present. The bottom part is an activity the students will complete. The teacher will present the information on the top of the worksheet and the students will fill in the blanks. After the discussion, the students will work on the activity. The teacher should allow the students to work on the activity for about 2 minutes before reviewing.

**Not all the information listed below is on the student worksheet. Use the information as a guide when explaining each worksheet to the students**

“What is an Individual?” Activity Worksheet

  • Individual: a single organism as distinguished from a species, community, or group. (Dictionary Definition)

  • Individuals are living organisms.

  • For an individual to survive, it needs air, food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young.

  • Individuals must live in a location that meets the five survival needs. If the environment

  • Individuals breed within their group—horses will always breed with horses, cats with cats, etc. You will never see a pig breed with a giraffe or a monkey breed with a bird.

  • Activity Answers: frog = reptile; ladybug = insect; pig = mammal; parrot = bird

“What is a Population?” Activity Worksheet

  • Population: individuals of a certain species found in an area—all the squirrels that live in a park; all toads that live in a pond.

  • The individuals interact with each other within this area.

  • The world’s population is estimated at 7.467 billion—this describes all the people living on Earth.

  • Activity Answer: 20 birds

“What is a Community?” Activity Worksheet

  • Community: the different populations of species that interact with each other in an area.

  • Humans live in a community—everyone is different and they all have different professions, but they all interact with each other. The same is true for animals. Different animal species live together and rely/ interact with each other. For example, in the marine biome, you have fish, dolphins, sharks, plankton, etc. The fish rely on the plankton to eat and the sharks rely on the fish to eat.

  • Activity Answers: will vary.

“What is an Ecosystem?” Activity Worksheet

  • Ecosystem: an ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit. (Dictionary Definition)

  • An ecosystem can be as small as a pond or as large as a desert. An ecosystem is any area where organisms interact with each other as well as the sun, water, air, and soil.

  • Organisms rely on each other for survival, which is why ecosystems are so important.

  • Ecosystems maintain a balance of food, water, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon.  These balances ensure that all the organisms in the ecosystem survive.

  • Activity Answers:  crab = water; lion = desert/hot/dry; toucan = humid/wet; penguin= cold/snowy

“What is a Biome?” Activity Worksheet

  • Biome: a major regional or global biotic community, such as grassland or desert, characterized chiefly by its prevailing climate and vegetation. (Dictionary Definition)

  • Earth’s biomes include: tropical rainforest, temperate forest, taiga, savanna, grasslands, desert, freshwater, marine, coral reef, and tundra.

  • Biomes share the same weather, plants, animals, and rainfall.

  • Every location on Earth is part of a biome.

  • A country/ continent can have more than one biome. For example, the United States has grasslands, deserts, and temperate forests. Africa has deserts, savannas, grasslands, and rainforests.

  • Activity Answers: desert = hot/dry; grassland= flat land/ grass; tundra= cold/snow/ice; temperate forest= trees/4 seasons; marine= saltwater/fish/coral reefs; freshwater= ponds/lakes/ water that isn’t salty.

“What is the Biosphere” Activity Worksheet

  • Biosphere: the part of the Earth and its atmosphere in which living organisms exist or that is capable of supporting life. (Dictionary Definition)

  • The biosphere includes humans, plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms.

  • The biosphere is also called the “Zone of Life”

  • Activity Answers: humans, plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms

Information Sources:

http://schooltutoring.com/help/biology-levels-of-organisation/

http://classroom.synonym.com/difference-between-biome-ecosystem-6468.html

http://www.ck12.org/book/CK-12-Life-Science-Concepts-For-Middle-School/section/12.2/

http://classroom.synonym.com/difference-between-biome-ecosystem-6468.html

http://www.ducksters.com/science/ecosystems/world_biomes.php

  • After the worksheet packet is reviewed/ explained the teacher will introduce the short game, “Identify the Picture.” The teacher will draw six columns on the board and label them: individual, population, community, ecosystem, biome, and biosphere. The teacher will have six pictures, one for each of the terms that was just reviewed. The teacher will show the students the picture and have them identify which column it goes in.

 

  • After the worksheet is completed, the students will participate in an activity called “Ecological Hierarchy”. Each student will get an “Ecological Hierarchy” word card set and a poster board. The students will cut out the word card circles and glue them in order on their poster board. The “individual” word card is the smallest and will be the last circle glued on. The students will work backwards, starting with biosphere and ending with individual. Instruct the students to choose a biome they want to draw about. Instruct the students to choose an animal from the biome and draw one in the “Individual” card circle and several in the “Population” card circle. Instruct the students to draw the animal in it’s community, ecosystem, and biome. Lastly, they will draw a picture of the biosphere. When completed, the project should look like a giant circle with smaller circles inside. Allow the students to work for about 10-15 minutes. Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.

  • Final Assessment

  • Levels of Ecological Organization Assessment (This can be done individually or with a partner.)

Each student will complete the Assessment on the document provided.

The directions of the assessment are to define each key term under the title and in the adjacent box illustrate an example of each.

  • The answers will vary, but make sure the students get the general idea of each.

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

10 minutes

Introductory Activity:

15 Minutes

Discussion: Levels of Ecological Organization | In-Class Activity: “Identify the Picture”

  • Give each student a “Levels of Ecological Organization” worksheet packet.

  • Project each page of the worksheet packet onto the board either through a projector or PowerPoint presentation.

  • Students will fill in the blank spaces on their worksheets as the teacher presents.

  • Students will complete the activity on each worksheet. Allow the students about 3-5 minutes to complete each activity. Review when the students are finished.

  • After the worksheet packet is presented, introduce the activity “Identify the Picture”.

  • On the board, draw six columns. Label them: individual, population, community, ecosystem, biome, and biosphere.

  • Show the students a picture. Ask them to identify which column the picture goes into.

20 Minutes

Activity: “Ecological Hierarchy”

  • Give each student “Ecological Hierarchy” word card set and a poster board.

  • The students will cut out the word card circles and glue them in order on their poster board. The “individual” word card is the smallest and will be the last circle glued on. The students will work backwards, starting with biosphere and ending with individual.

  • Instruct the students to choose a biome they want to draw about. Instruct the students to choose an animal from the biome and draw one in the “Individual” card circle and several in the “Population” card circle. Instruct the students to draw the animal in it’s community, ecosystem, and biome.

  • Lastly, they will draw a picture of the biosphere.

  • When completed, the project should look like a giant circle with smaller circles inside.

  •  Allow the students to work for about 10-15 minutes. Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.

Closure/Assessment
15 minutes

  • Levels of Ecological Organization Assessment (This can be done individually or with a partner.)

  • Each student will complete the Assessment on the document provided.

The directions of the assessment are to define each key term under the title and in the adjacent box illustrate an example of each.

  • The answers will vary, but make sure the students get the general idea of each.


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.

Ecosystems, Biomes, and Habitats PowerPoint and Activities
Classifying Animals PowerPoint & Activities