Summer Research Program for Science Teachers
W.C. Bryant H.S., Queens, NY
Dear Fellow Educator,
These are a series of lessons that can be modified or
further extended to help the students increase their inquiry-based
learning. Therefore keep in mind
that the complexity, or simplicity of these lessons depends on how you choose to
use these lessons.
Aim: How can a freshwater ecosystem be
Aim: How can biotic
and abiotic factors be observed in a freshwater ecosytem?
Content Standard C- Matter, energy, and organization in living systems]
[9-12 Content Standard C- Matter, energy, and organization in living systems]
Aim: How can various conditions affect a
Instru ctional Objectives :
Students will define ecosystems and describe the components of an
will identify and describe biotic and abiotic factors of a freshwater
Students will describe the types of relationships that exist in an
ecosystem between biotic and abiotic factors.
Content Standard C- Interdependence of organisms]
[9-12 Content Standard C- Interdependence of organisms]
will collect specified data from their ecosystems and show how specific factors
affected the data.
e. Students will show a degree of knowledge on utilizing computer programming to interpret their gathered data.
Teacher’s Instructions :
Students are to be assigned the necessary vocabulary words:
and reading from their textbooks.
b. Materials to
be purchased/ordered prior to lesson(s)
1. “half pint”
bottles of Poland Spring Water or Deer Park’s “Chugs” (depending on your class
size, one “pint” per group of 4 students.
small freshwater snails from
Carolina Biological Supplies
sprigs of Elodea
which may be ordered from Carolina Biological Supplies.
beakers to gather materials
Standard D- Make accessible science materials]
[Teaching Standard D- Make accessible science materials]
Instructions on how to construct a freshwater ecosystem are to be placed
on an overhead transparency for students to copy and discuss.
will gather into groups of 4.
Within each group, students
will be assigned specific roles:
all are assigned the title
Standard E- Nurture collaboration among students]
[Teaching Standard E- Nurture collaboration among students]
3. The following activities must take place:
a. The materials gatherers will acquire the necessary materials from the teacher’s desk: a sprig of Elodea, 2-3 small snails, a bottle of spring water, marker, and beaker.
b. The recorder
will write down the types and quantity of
materials gathered. The
recorder will also label the group’s bottle of spring water.
ecosystem engineer will uncap and pour out about 20 ml of the spring water from
the bottle into the beaker. The
ecosystem engineer will place the snails and Elodea into the bottle of
spring water. The cap will be
replaced on the newly constructed ecosystem.
d. The observers will use the following questions to observe and analyze their ecosystems for the next few days.
Day 1: [Teaching
Standard B- Orchestrate scientific discourse]
[Teaching Standard B- Orchestrate scientific discourse]
1. If bios
means life, define biotic.
2. Which components of your ecosystem are biotic?
3. How can you
prove that your chosen components are biotic?
4. If the
letter a in the front of the word makes the word opposite of what it means,
components of your ecosystem are abiotic?
6. Why did the
ecosystem engineer pour out some of the water from your bottle? What did it create in your bottle?
7. Why do you
need to keep your bottle by the window?
8. How do the
biotic and abiotic factors relate to one another in your ecosystem?
Day 2: [9-12
Content Standard A- Questions/concepts that guide inquiry]
[9-12 Content Standard A- Questions/concepts that guide inquiry]
1. Why was
Elodea placed in the ecosystem?
2. Why were
snails placed in the ecosystem?
3. Based on the
types of nutrition you have learned classify your biotic factors.
4. How does
Elodea rely on abiotic factors such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, pH,
temperature and light?
5. Why is the
snail important for the Elodea’s survival?
6. How does the
snail rely on the Elodea?
7. How does the snail provide fertilizer for the Elodea?
Different environmental conditions will be created
to see the affects on the specific ecosystems.
Standard Unifying Concepts- Change, constancy, and measurement]
[Content Standard Unifying Concepts- Change, constancy, and measurement]
Addition of salt. This is to
recreate how salt used for de-icing affects nearby organisms and in upstate New
York, our reservoirs.
Addition of motor oil. This
is to recreate how oil spills/ illegal dumping in our sewer systems affect
Removal of light by adding sediments to the ecosystem. This is to recreate how soil erosion
leads to the clouding of nearby streams, lakes, and rivers.
Addition of fertilizer. This
is to recreate how fertilizers leach into ponds and lakes and increase algae
Students will observe and record the changes that
develop in their ecosystem. The
groups will discuss the changes and possibly explain them. Each group will present their results
and relate to current environmental problems that humans have
Content Standard F- Natural and human induced hazards]
[9-12 Content Standard F- Natural and human induced hazards]
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