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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

    Cross Cutting Concepts

    Patterns, Cause and effect

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

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