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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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Objectives

Students propose how dead plants disappear over time, then examine mold, and talk about microbes as decomposers.

Overview
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Materials

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

pdf
Introducing Microbes as Decomposers
pdf
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.