Category Archives: Ecosystems


Part 1 – Scientific models

  1. What models have you used before in science?
  2. Read and explore the article on the use of scientific models.
  3. Two examples of models were used – climate change models and an ecosystem model (fisheries).  Use a categorizing brain frame in your group to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using one of these two models.

    Category = type of model Subcategory = advantages and disadvantages

  4. Which of your advantages/disadvantages are most significant?  Discuss reasons for your choices.
  5. Pair up with a group that discussed a different model to you.  Compare your brain frames – how were they similar/different.  Add sticky notes to your brain frames to show the highlight the similarities and differences.
  6. Photograph your final comparison and upload it to the Google Classroom stream under the topic of Ecosystems.


 Part 2 – Ecosystems

  1. Ecosystems introductory video – review the basics!

  1. Set up a quizlet set for this unit.  Add any terms from the above video that you feel necessary.  You could also add any terms from the work we have done so far on scientific models and the tests we are doing on our bottle ecosystems.
  2. Log into Brainpop with your school account.  Watch the videos on Ecosystems and Food Chains.  Take the quizzes for each video and update your quizlet list with any further relevant terms.
  3. Watch the video on Feedback loops.  While feedback means that one problem can cause many more, it also means that one solution can trigger many others.  Can you think of a real life example of this?  Put your example on the question post you’ll find on the google classroom.
  4.  Ecosystems handout – Read through the information and try the questions.

Biology Text  – ‘Depending on Each Other’ and ‘More About Food Chains’

Part 3 – Pyramids of Numbers, Energy and Biomass

Step 1 – Watch video

Step 2 – Read information on link below and update your quizlet set to include any relevant terms:
Pyramids of numbers, biomass and energy explained

Step 3 – Choose one of the following food chains and, using graph paper, construct a pyramid of numbers.  For the same food chain, sketch a prediction of the pyramid of biomass.  Explain to your neighbour why you chose the shape of your sketch.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.42.03 AM

Step 4 – Using the data given below, construct a pyramid of numbers and a pyramid of biomass.  Explain using subject specific vocabulary in a short paragraph, why the two pyramids are not the same shape.

Step 5 – Using information from above and from your text on page 164, try the questions in the handout.  Pyramids handout

Part 4 – Nutrient Cycles

Step 1 – The carbon cycle.  Review the following video.

✍️    In your notebook, draw two carbon cycles.  One without man’s involvement and one with.  Use the following labels on your diagrams to show processes:

photosynthesis       respiration      decomposition       dissolving into ocean     digestion      burying                    combustion                  deforestation

Use this set of labels to show forms of carbon:

Carbon in the atmosphere – carbon dioxide
Carbon underground – fossil fuels
Carbon in plants/animals – carbohydrates,proteins,fats
Carbon in the ocean – dissolved carbon dioxide

Step 2 – The nitrogen cycle

Take a look at the following resources on the nitrogen cycle:
Three versions of the nitrogen cycle

What are the similarities and differences between the three cycles here?   What do you consider are the key parts of the nitrogen cycle?
Make your own version, with labels you consider important.

Step 3 – Review the following resources.  Some have questions for you to try.  Some are things to play with.  Some are videos to watch.  All will be useful for next week’s lesson.

  1. Here is a handout on the N cycle, with a test type question.

    2. The nitrogen cycle in flash! Watch and track the Nitrogen .

    3. Video about the Haber-Bosch process of producing ammonia. (Basis of artificial N fertilizers)

    4. Consider the type of source and their bias (Do you use CRAAP?
    a) Article on the impact of the Haber process from a source interested in organic gardening.
    b) Video from a fertilizer maker.

    5. If you are not so clear on the definitions… What is an artificial vs. an organic fertilizer?