With our last investigation ideas wrapping up, we revisited our Driving Question Board to see that we had so many questions that launched our unit and now we feel that we could honestly answer them! Over the course of a few days, we agreed to answer the six big questions together, and then students were given choice on the others. We figured out so much about many types of organisms, where their matter and energy go in an ecosystem (even when they die and get consumed), and how plants grow (since they don't consume other living things like consumers and decomposers do)! Here's our DQB that launched our unit! Way to go 5th graders!
Finding the Dead Organism?
Now that we've figured out how dead things "disappear" when other organisms consume or decompose them, we returned to our DQB to realize there was a big wondering we had:
We built out our initial ideas, before reading some articles on some notorious "dead stuff finders!
We're starting to see some patterns here, in that the dead thing somehow travels to the nose of the organism that will consume it. If the dead thing is in water, the scent, or what we think are particles will travel to the consumer in the water as the water moves. And if the organism is outside of the water, the dead animal's scent/particles will travel in the air and reach the nose of the animal that will consume it.
But how does this really work? Is scent really made of particles? What happens when it's warmer outside or in the water? What happens when it's colder outside or in the water? how does this affect the scent particles from moving? So many questions!
With all our figuring out, we're putting the pieces together! We've updated our model to realize that dead things don't really disappear; their matter and energy keep moving around as organisms consume one another. Plants are unique in that their matter comes from the air and water around them! But all the energy that transfers from organism to organism starts at the Sun!
Plants: Matter Vs. Energy
All our figuring out has led us to this moment where we're truly understanding where plants get their matter from and also where they get their energy from. We've figured out the difference between matter and energy by doing some investigations:
We're now beginning to connect the dots...that as organisms grow, they take in matter and energy, and as they are consumed by other organisms, the organisms doing the consuming take in matter and energy, too! Time to update our models!
On a cloudy fall day I found this dead raccoon on the side of the road and it was just too interesting not to share...