Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Ecosystems Unit

As a previous science teacher, I am writing my own "curriculum" for our 5th grade home school this year (see other units here). I have divided the 16 5th grade Next Generation Science Standards into units. This is my plan for the Ecosystems Unit, consisting of the following standards:

  • 5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
  • 5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment 
Some notes: 
The national standards focus on science content, but also science and engineering practices. These practices are an integral part of each standard, which means curriculum and assessment might look a little different than it did when I was a student. Assessments do not have to be a regular "test." Sometimes they will be a lab or a model a student draws of their understanding of an idea.

Also, this is curriculum I, a science teacher, wrote for my academically advanced son. Plus, I was not present for his previous years of school science, so do not know what gaps he may have. In many places, will go way more in depth than just doing the minimum to meet the standard. If you choose to use my resources, please keep that in mind. Feel free to message me about anything you feel needs clarification or more explanation.

The links are to Google Doc version of the materials, allowing you to make a copy and modify them. I can also easily update and make comments on the Google versions. If you would like all materials in one document, you can find it in the document below, although formatting is not 100% and you can't see comments.

Ecosystems Materials PDF (Google Docs versions linked below)
Ecosystems Answer Keys PDF (Google Docs versions linked below)
Ecosystems Unit Slides (can be saved as ppt)

Day One
  • Set up Hydroponics Kit
    • You definitely don't need to do this activity for understanding.We will be using this kit and may or may not do the journal that comes with it. We will check on and maintain the plants, but will not include that in this schedule. The main thing I want him to understand is that plants do not need soil.
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six-Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
  • Food Chain and Food Web Slides 12-17
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
  • Nutrient Cycles Webquest
    • Note: this is to give students an idea of how nutrients cycle through ecosystems. In the end, they only need to understand that matter cycles, not the specific type of matter or the specific pathways.
    • Answer Key
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
  • Read books about nutrient cycles
    • You could use any from the library. We will use:
Day Twenty
  • Matter Cycle Assessment
    • I am more concerned about understanding this big idea than memorization. I will consider letting him use notes. You could even provide pictures or an outline and have your student explain the relationships
    • Answer Key
Bonus Materials to use during the unit:

Ecological Pyramid coding game 

Photosynthesis Game

Arboretum Game

Ecosystems Game

Life DVD


Hunters and Hunted

Magic School Bus

Gets Eaten

Hops Home

Meets the Rot Squad

Gets Planted

In the Rainforest

Resources for this unit:

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