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Culturing Bacteria and Fungi Decomposers

Unit Plan: Decomposer DynamicsLesson: 3 Time: Sessions 1-6 (each 40 min) Setting: Classroom
3-5, 6-8Schoolyard Ecology
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Students do a controlled experiment to culture microbes living on items they collected outside.


    Students will be able to: explain what a fair test is and why scientists use controlled experiments, develop the habit of using their journal for recording observations and questions, relate experimental evidence back to their predictions and give possible reasons for the outcomes, understand that microbes grow on their food source causing decomposition as they consume it


    Session 1

    For the class:
    - newsprint sheets for class lists
    - 1-2 3 oz. boxes of flavored Jello (lemon, lime or orange)
    - bowl
    - spoon
    - boiling water
    - paper towels
    -measuring cup

    For each pair of students:
    - 3 petri dishes or other clear containers with flat bottoms and covers
    -clear tape
    - masking tape

    Session 2

    For each pair of students:
    - 2 hand lenses

    Sessions 3-5

    For each pair of  students:
    - 2 hand lenses
    - copy of "Science Fair Story #1"
    -copy of "Science Fair Story #2"

    See Lesson Resources for further details.

    Lesson Files

    Culturing Bacteria and Fungi Decomposers

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy

    5D Interdependence of Life, 5E Flow of Matter and Energy, 12C Manipulation and Observation, 12D Communication Skills

    NYS Standards

    MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
    Next Generation Science Standards

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Asking questions and defining problems, Planning and carrying out investigations, Analyzing and interpreting data, 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.