Pretending to be prairie plants or oak trees, students played a simulation in which they saw how over time, an ecosystem can change. What happens when prairie plants can no longer survive in the shadow of an oak tree? How can oak trees, which started as a simple acorn brought in by a neighboring tree, "take over" an ecosystem?
We'll be seeing how a natural event can curb all this change next...check back soon! And in our last visit from Ms. Claire from the nature museum, we were lucky to have her bring out an animal that lives in the prairie--a turtle! How cool!
How can we gather evidence that the energy in animals' food was once from the sun? Students engaged in several activities where we gathered evidence for this. First, we used packing peanuts to represent the sun's energy. We passed the packing peanuts to a producer, who was able to use some of the energy to make its own food. Some of the packing peanuts fell to the floor, representing the energy going to other organisms or places that can absorb the sun's rays.
From the producer, we passed the energy on to a consumer, who used the energy to go about his daily activities, like hunting, breathing, sleeping, and maintaining his body temperature. Regardless of the animal or the ecosystem he called home, students were able to trace the energy each organism used back to the sun.
Check out this song to show one part of this interconnected food web: a food chain!
How can we see how every organism is matched to the ecosystem(s) in which they live? Fifth graders gathered evidence to support their claims regarding where specific Midwestern organisms live. Does the ecosystem provide for the animal's needs for food, shelter, and reproduction? If not, then that ecosystem can't be for the organism! If yes, than that ecosystem is just right for that organism!