The Elementary Ecology course, targeted for Grades 2-4, is taught by Ms. Emily Rogers. Ms. Rogers engages students by teaching them the food chain in the context of specific ecosystems. She explores changes to ecosystems and how these changes affect the organisms living there. Exciting virtual field trips help deepen students’ understanding of the concepts presented.
Sample Lesson – Virtual Field Trip: What Habitat is This?
This course was developed by the International Academy of Science.
Scope and Sequence
Unit 1: Ecology Basics
This unit introduces the field of Ecology and what the role of an Ecologist is. Students learn about living and nonliving things, species, populations, communities, the balance of an ecosystem and interdependency. Also included are environments and habitats as will as several virtual field trips.
Unit 2: Environments
This unit covers environments found on Earth including the desert, tropical rainforest, tropical savanna, grassland, and the temperate deciduous forest. Additionally, students learn about temperate boreal forest, arctic tundra, the ocean, freshwater, and chaparral. This unit concludes with a virtual field trip identifying a habitat.
Unit 3: Food Chains and Food Webs
The Food Chains and Food Webs unit delves into the Sun’s energy, producers, consumers, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and decomposers. Also included are the concepts of food chains, detritus food chains, food webs, predator and prey, and energy flow in a food chain.
Unit 4: Food Chains in Environments
Building on the previous unit, this unit analyzes food chains within specific environments – including rainforest food chains, freshwater food chains, desert food chains, ocean food chains, savanna food chains, and grassland food chains. Also covered in this unit are temperate boreal forest food chains, temperate deciduous forest food chains, arctic tundra food chains, chaparral food chains, and a virtual field trip on find a food chain.
Unit 5: Changes to Environments
This unit introduces changes to environments including changes affect food chains and force the choice of “thrive, perish, or move?”. Human influences on a food chain, environments changed for food resources, and environments changed for buildings and transportation are also addressed. Additionally, human vs natural changes to ecosystems, predicting effects of changes, and how changes affect food chains are introduced in this unit.
Unit 6: Animal Structures and Functions
In this unit, students are introduced to animals’ need for living and nonliving things, animal structures, animal adaptations, functions of animal adaptations, limb adaptations, mouth adaptations, and defense adaptations. Also covered in this unit are temperature adaptations, feet adaptations, a virtual field trip on identifying an animal adaptation, desert animal adaptations, rainforest animal adaptations, arctic animal adaptations, and ocean animal adaptations.
Unit 7: Plant Structures and Functions
Extending on the knowledge gained in the previous unit, this unit delves into plants’ need for living and nonliving things, as well as plant structures, functions of plant adaptations, plant adaptations, rainforest plant adaptions, arctic plant adaptations, and deciduous forest plant adaptation. Additionally, students will experience a virtual field trip wherein they will identify and analyze a plant adaptation.
Unit 8: Environmental Factors that Change Ecosystem
This unit covers migration, hibernation, degrees of inactivity, physical characteristics of environment, weather and precipitation, and earth’s forces. Also covered in this unit are slow natural changes, such as drought, weathering, and erosion, as well as rapid natural changes such as volcano, floods, and fires.
Unit 9: Natural Resources
This unit covers natural resources, renewable natural resources, nonrenewable natural resources and how we use natural resources. Also included in this unit are natural or manmade resources, conservation of natural resources by reducing, recycling, and reusing, as well as eco-friendly practices, composting, and landfills.