Interactions Within Ecosystems

September 2016

Invent a Species Project (adapted from Chris Piers)
Students will work on this project throughout this unit. Students can complete sections as we learn more about ecosystems.

Steps 1, 2, and 3: Due Monday, September 26th
Steps 4-6: Due Tuesday, October 11th
Steps 7-8: Due

A useful website to help create a species: Switchzoo

Enrichment Option

DIY Ecosystem
Make your own ecosystem that does not require watering!

We begin our introduction to ecosystems with a look at the different levels of life. Our first lesson explores many key terms. These terms allow us to break ecosystems down into various components.
Here is a great summary video: StudyJam Ecosystems and Succession
This interactive game is also very useful when learning about biotic and abiotic relationships in an ecosystem: PBS Analyzing an Ecosystem

Food chains show how energy passes from organism to organism. All key terms are important and are to be used when explaining ecosystems. Students must explain energy flow through food chains and the roles of organisms in food chains (producers, consumers, decomposers).

Biodiversity Video


This is a job description of an animal. Most animals have quite a bit included in their niche description.
Assignment: Students are to select an animal to place a niche advertisement for (a job advertisement). This must be completed on white paper and include a picture (hand-drawn or printed). Be sure to include specific skills and details to attract a qualified applicant. Use the file below for questions to answer to help you describe your animals niche.

Food Webs represent the interconnected food chains that create an ecosystem. When observing and ecosystem, students follow the flow of energy and place organisms in the pyramid of numbers. The pyramid of numbers represents the number of organisms present at each level that allows the food chain to continue.

Food Webbing Activity (from APES):

Ecological Succession

Ecosystems change over time due to a variety of factors.

National Geographic Lesson

Symbiotic Relationships

Mutualism, Commensalism, Parasitism, Predation
Exploring Symbiotic Relationships - Josh Lord

Video Examples for all types of symbiotic relationships.
Ant and Butterfly for mutualistic.