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Digital Unit Plan Template

Unit Title: Ecology Ecosystems, Populations & Cycles Name: Dylan Tennant
Content Area: Science - Biology Grade Level: 9
CA Content Standard(s)/Common Core Standard(s):
CA State Standards:
6. b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem, resulting in changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative
species, or changes in population size.
6. c. Students know how fluctuations in population size in an ecosystem are determined by the relative rates of birth, immigration,
emigration, and death.
6. d. Students know how water, carbon, and nitrogen cycle between abiotic resources and organic matter in the ecosystem and how
oxygen cycles through photosynthesis and respiration.
Big Ideas:
1. Changes in ecosystems often manifest themselves in predictable patterns, but unexpected disturbances may destabilize the complex,
delicate balance.
2. Fluctuations in the size of a population are often difficult to measure directly but may be estimated by measuring the relative rates of
birth, death, immigration, and emigration in a population.
3. At the organism level living things depend on natural resources, while at the molecular level, living things depend on cycles of water,
carbon, nitrogen between themselves and their environment.
Unit Goals and Objectives:
Students will be able to
Distinguish between biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem, and between primary and secondary succession, with 90%
accuracy.
Define the characteristics of a population (density, spatial distribution, and growth rate) with 90% accuracy.
Identify exponential versus logistic growth rates and list the four factors that affect population size with 90% accuracy.
Describe, and distinguish between, density-dependent limiting factors and density-independent limiting factors of population size
with 90% accuracy.
Describe the process of the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles with 80% accuracy.
Unit Summary:
This unit covers a portion of the Ecology substandards that encompasses the essential balance in an ecosystem between biotic and
abiotic factors, the factors that affect the size of a population of individuals, and how elements necessary for life, such as carbon,
nitrogen, and water, cycle between organisms and the environment. We will learn about the intricate, constant flux that ecosystems
experience. Ecosystems are like a super-organism with multiple components being different in function yet dependent on one another
for the overall survival of the super-organism. Ecosystems are designed in a way that allows for constant change while still remaining
stable and healthy. However, some changes can be disturbances to the whole system and can be harmful to the ecosystem and its
inhabitants. Some predictable changes that occur within an ecosystem are the fluctuations in population size of the species inhabiting
the area. We will learn about the factors that cause these fluctuations and how they can be estimated. Another important aspect to an
ecosystem is the constant cycle of nutrients. Both living and nonliving members of an ecosystem contribute to these very important
cycles and are therefore dependent on each other for survival.

Assessment Plan:
Entry-Level:

The entry-level assessment will be a
Quickwrite that has students accessing
their prior knowledge about ecosystems.
This is an informal assessment in which
students can quickly describe what they
know about ecosystems experiencing
change. This will allow me to assess my
students prior knowledge, the results of
which will inform me where to start in unit
instruction.
Formative:

The formative assessments throughout the
unit will inform me of how well the students
are achieving the learning goals. The
Flashcards will show me how well students
are understanding the new vocabulary and
the associated concepts. The Graphic
Organizer will assess the ability of students
to identify, organize and describe the
characteristics of a population. The Quiz
will assess students retention of the
concepts covered thus far and their ability
to recall that information. This quiz will
assess the extent to which students have
achieved the learning goals for ecosystems
and populations before progressing to
cycles. The Ranking assessment for the
cycles will assess students ability to put
steps of the water, carbon, and nitrogen
cycles in a correct sequence. This will
assess their understanding of the
relationships within the cycles as opposed
to a rote memorization.
Summative:

The summative assessments will provide
the culminating results of student learning
and achievement of objectives. The Blog
will assess students overall achievement
and acquired knowledge compared to the
first day of the unit. It will also access their
metacognition by having them be aware of
their own learning and achievement. The
Poster Project will assess students ability
to transfer their knowledge of the big ideas
to a new situation. They will be assigned a
type of ecosystem and apply basically all of
their gained knowledge from the unit to
describe that ecosystem and its
characteristics, members, and cycles in
accurate detail. This assessment will show
how well the students have learned the big
ideas and the extent to which the unit
objectives were achieved.
Lesson 1
Student Learning Objective:

Students will be able to
distinguish between
biotic and abiotic
Acceptable Evidence:

Completion of Guided
Notes is at least 90%
correct.
Instructional Strategies:
Communication
Collection
Collaboration
Presentation
Lesson Activities:

Students will view the Ecosystems Prezi while the instructor
lectures. The Prezi will provide students with the knowledge to
achieve the learning objective, along with multimedia to enhance
factors in an
ecosystem, and
between primary and
secondary succession,
with 90% accuracy.
Organization
Interaction
engagement. It will introduce them to important terms and
concepts in the study of ecosystems, in addition to why
ecosystems are so important. Students will complete the Guided
Notes while they follow along with the lecture. The Guided Notes
will help students identify and record key concepts within the new
information in an organized format. These Guided Notes will not
only aid in their understanding of the content, but also serve as a
useful review tool for studying the material later on.
Lesson 2
Student Learning Objective:

Students will be able to
describe the process of
the water, carbon, and
nitrogen cycles with
80% accuracy.


Acceptable Evidence:

Answers on submitted
WebQuest earn an
overall score of at least
80% correct.
Instructional Strategies:
Communication
Collection
Collaboration
Presentation
Organization
Interaction
Lesson Activities:
This lesson involves a webercise to allow students to collect
information, and interact with that information. regarding the water,
carbon, and nitrogen cycles. The WebQuest will guide students on
a journey through the Internet to learn about what exactly
'biogeochemical cycles' are and why they are so important. This
WebQuest will lead students to information about three of the most
important cycles: water, carbon, and nitrogen. They will visit the
provided websites to access information about these cycles.
Students will then use that information to answer the questions
provided with that website. The WebQuest first has students
collecting some general knowledge about a cycle, and then will
have them interacting with the information through digital
interactives. As a result of this WebQuest, students will be able to
describe the processes of the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycle,
thus achieving the learning objective.
Lesson 3
Student Learning Objective:

Students will be able to
describe, and
distinguish between,
density-dependent
limiting factors and
density-independent
limiting factors of
population size with
90% accuracy.
Acceptable Evidence:

A score of at least 90%
on the group Concept
Map, in addition to
class results during
discussion of sorting
activity.
Instructional Strategies:
Communication
Collection
Collaboration
Presentation
Organization
Interaction
Lesson Activities:
Students will complete the Anticipation/Reaction Guide in pairs
before and after reading of the selected text. Students will complete
the Before-Reading column in pairs so they can interact and
collaborate to either agree or disagree with the provided
statements. Then the students will read the selected text and re-
evaluate their answers in the After-Reading column, checking
whether they now agree or disagree. Afterwards, we will discuss
student responses as a class. Students will work in small groups of
3 - 4 students to complete a graphic organizer that will map out the
key concepts of the selected reading. This graphic organizer is a
Concept Map, and should therefore be a visual representation of
the information in the reading. Students will work in their groups to
create a comprehensive map with examples, images and/or videos
to aid in understanding of the material. Students will then work in
pairs to complete the Sorting Activity. In this activity, students will
be given a list of scenarios or events. They will work in their pairs to
think critically about these scenarios in order to sort them as either
density-dependent or density-independent liming factors. Student
responses will be discussed as a class afterward.
Unit Resources:
Glencoe Science: Biology, California Edition (2007) McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.
Ecosystems Prezi , Guided Notes and associated Quizlet (Lesson 1)
Biogeochemical Cycles WebQuest, which uses the following resources: (Lesson 2)
Carbon Cycle Online Interactive
Nitrogen Cycle Online Interactive
Water Cycle Online Interactive
Encyclopaedia Britannica
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Anticipation/Reaction Guide (Lesson 3)
Concept Map Checklist (Lesson 3)
Sorting Activity (Lesson 3)

Useful Websites:
Crash Course Ecology
Quizlet Ecology
Virtual Lab: Population Ecology
Angry Aliens: Ecology
Ecology Review Quiz: Cycles
Ecology Review Quiz: Populations and Interactions
California Academy of Sciences: Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecological Networks
Ecology: Organisms in their Environment