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Introducing Microbes as Decomposers

Unit Plan: Decomposer DynamicsLesson: 1 Time: 1 hour Setting: Classroom
3-5, 6-8Schoolyard Ecology
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Students propose how dead plants disappear over time, then examine mold, and talk about microbes as decomposers.



    For the class:

    • paper grocery bag of dead plant material-
    • sheet of newprint
    • copy of Who Eats What guide

    For each pair of students:

    • sandwich-size  ziplock baggie of moldy squash or pumpkin (see "Planning Ahead")
    • 2 hand lenses

    See Resources for further details.

    Lesson Files

    Introducing Microbes as Decomposers
    Contains "Planning Ahead" and "Resource List"

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy

    5D Interdependence of Life, 5E Flow of Matter and Energy

    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

    Cross Cutting Concepts

    Patterns, Cause and effect

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    LS1C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms, 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.