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The Bag That Wouldn't Go Away- Performance Assessment

Unit Plan: Decomposer DynamicsLesson: 6 Time: Session 1 (40 min) and Session 2 (1hr) Setting: Classroom
3-5, 6-8Schoolyard Ecology
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Students design and set up model waste disposal systems that will help biodegradable plastic bags decompose


    Students will be able to: explain why biodegradable items don't always decompose after they're thrown out, and suggest ways to promote their decomposition, communicate and support their ideas using a model and written design specifications, be aware of the complexity of the garbage crisis, and the potential roles of technology and citizens in solving it.


    Sessions 1 and 2

    For each student:

    • copy of the "Challenge Sheet"
    • copy of the "Design Specs Sheet"
    • copy of the "Scoring Sheet" (optional)

    Session 1

    For the class:

    • several non-biodegradable plastic bags
    • several biodegradable plastic bags
    • 1-liter plastic soda bottle
    • 2 cups of soil
    • watering device
    • piece of biodegradable plastic bag, approximately 13 x 20 cm

    For the teacher:

    • pushpin
    • pair of sharp, pointed scissors
    • pair of plastic gloves (optional)

    Session 2

    For the class:

    • large bag of soil

    For each group of 2-4 students:

    • 2-liter soda bottle
    • pair of scissors
    • piece of biodegradable plastic bag, approximately 13 x 20 cm
    • cup for scooping soil

    For each student:

    • copy of "Portfolio Cover Sheet" (see "Eco-Inquiry's Multiple Forms of Assessment")
    • copy of "Group Work Evaluation" (see "Eco-Inquiry's Multiple Forms of Assessment")

    See Lesson Resources for further details.

    Lesson Files

    The Bag That Wouldn't Go Away- Performance Assessment
    Eco Inquiry's Multiple Forms of Assessment- contains "Group Work Evaluation" and "Portfolio Cover Sheet"

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy

    5A Diversity of Life, 5D Interdependence of Life, 5E Flow of Matter and Energy, 7D Social Trade-offs, 8B Materials and Manufacturing, 12C Manipulation and Observation, 12D Communication Skills

    NYS Standards

    MST 1 - Mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science, MST 7- Problem solving using mathematics, science, and technology (working effectively, process and analyze information, presenting results)
    Next Generation Science Standards

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Asking questions and defining problems, Planning and carrying out investigations, Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

    Cross Cutting Concepts

    Patterns, Cause and effect

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    LS2A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, LS2B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
    New York State Science Learning Standards

    Performance Expectations

    MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem., MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

    Hogan, Kathleen. Eco-Inquiry: A Guide to Ecological Learning Experiences for the Upper Elementary/Middle Grades. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, PO Box 1840, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, IA 52004-1840., 1994.