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Stalking the Unseen

Unit Plan: Decomposer DynamicsLesson: 2 Time: Session 1 (1hr) and Session 2 (1hr) Setting: Classroom and Outdoors
3-5, 6-8Schoolyard Ecology
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Students hear a story of a scientist who studies microbe decomposers, then plan and take a trip outside to collect items for culturing microbes.


Students will be able to: realize that scientists study decomposition to create knowledge that people can use to make wise decisions about how to manage land so it stays fertile, give examples of biotic and abiotic items, find evidence of decomposition outdoors.


Session 1

For the class:
- petri dish or other clear container with flat bottom and cover
- newsprint sheets for class lists
- sandwhich size ziplock bags
- small eraser or piece of chalk

Session 2

For the class:
- newsprint for leaf continuum

For each pair of students:
- 2 sandwich size ziplock bags
- masking tape or permanent marker
- 2 hand lens (optional)
- ruler (optional)

See Lesson Resources below for further details.

Lesson Files

Stalking the Unseen

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

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.