Hands on Habitat

ForestWetlandShoreline, Shallow Water PierMeadow

Student Resources   Teacher Resources

Maryland flag

 

 

 

 

Background Knowledge

comprehension

Research Scenario

The third grade teachers at your school have requested your help in teaching their students about the different habitats in Maryland. To prepare for your teaching assignment, you must research a habitat found in Maryland. 

Every fifth grade student who successfully completes their research will earn an eco-guide certificate and will be invited to teach their classmates and third grade students about their habitat.

After teaching each other about Maryland habitats, you and your classmates will be able to answer the essential questions:

How do individuals and groups of organisms interact
with each other and their environment? 


Are the interactions beneficial or harmful to the environment?


First, you will need to build some background knowledge about ecosystems.

BrainPop: Ecosystems

Take the Brain Pop Quiz to check your understanding

 

earth and leaf

 

 

 

 

 

Task and Product

Research a habitat that is indigenous to Maryland. You will be assigned to one of the following habitats:

Forest

Forest

Wetlands

Wetland

Shoreline/Shallow Water, Pier

Shoreline, Shallow Water Pier

Meadow

Meadow

Your team will gather information about how organisms interact with their environment, including:

 
 
  • Food chain
 
  • The roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers in a habitat
 
  • Competition for space, food, and water
 
  • Interactions of organisms with the non-living environment (field study completed in EcoTrekkers Unit)
 
  • Changes to the environment and if those changes are beneficial or harmful

After completing your research, you will be prepared to share your knowledge about the habitat you researched with other habitat experts as well as third grade students. Then after collaboration, you will be able to identify the most fragile habitat and explain why.

After researching your habitat:

  • Create a scientific drawing of your ecosystem to share your results with your group members.
  • Complete your field study by gathering data about all of the ecosystems in the EcoTrekkers Unit during Science.
  • Prepare an oral or multimedia presentation to share with your fellow classmates and/or the third grade students.

Your teacher may decide to assign an alternate type of presentation from the following list:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation
  • Microsoft Publisher Poster or Pamphlet
  • Podcast using Audacity
  • Video using a FlipCamera or Animoto
  • Voicethread
  • Voki Speaking Avatar
  • Virtual Ecochamber

 

A+ Excellent

Assessments

The following scoring tools may be used to assess your research process and finished products:

Research Process Assessments:

Group Collaboration Assessments:

 

boy raising hand

 

 

 

 

Essential Questions: 

How do individuals and groups of organisms
interact with each other and their environment? 

Are the interactions beneficial or harmful to the environment?

Subsidiary Questions:

  • What is the food chain?
  • What happens when an organism is removed from the food chain?
  • What are the roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers in a food chain?
  • What happens when there is competition for space, food, and water?
  • What does data like temperature, salinity, and wind speed tell me about the environment?
  • Which environments in Maryland are fragile and why?

 

 

magnifying glass and notebook

Gather and Sort

Students will work together in groups to conduct research and become experts on a Maryland ecosystem.

Use the note-taking chart for your assigned habitat to record your research findings:

Use a variety of sources from the Student Resources page to gather information about your topic.

Be sure to avoid plagiarism and keep track of your resources for a bibliography.

 

 

 

Laptop with sticky notes

Organize

Analyze your research notes, habitat chart, and scientific drawing to identify what you have learned about the interaction of organims with each other and their environment. This information will be the basis for your presentation to the third grade.

Synthesize your findings by working with your group to create an oral or multimedia presentation to share with your fellow classmates and/or the third grade students.

Evaluate
your finished product according to the scoring tool for the presenation format you used (click on the Assessments tab).

Class presentation
Image Source: Flickr

Conclusion

Present your research findings to your classmates or third grade students.

Take some notes as you view and listen to presentations by groups who researched other ecosystems.

Use your new knowledge to answer the essential questions in a class discussion, Voice Thread discussion, or BCR (as directed by your teacher). Support your responses with details from your own research notes and from the other groups' presentations:

  • Which ecosystem in Maryland is the most fragile? Why should it be protected? What can be done to protect it?
  • How do humans affect the habitat you chose as the most fragile?
    Are human interactions harmful, beneficial, or both?
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