Lesson Plan

Habistack

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Sixth Grade
Subject:
Ecology
Duration:
1 hour
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
Colorado Science:
4th grade 2.3
6th grade 2.1, 2.2
Keywords:
habitat, trophic

Overview

Students will understand habitats, predator/prey relationship, and the trophic structure on which Great Sand Dunes' habitats are built.

Objective(s)

Students will understand habitats, predator/prey relationship, and the trophic structure on which Great Sand Dunes' habitats are built.

Background

All ecosystems are based upon the abiotic characteristics of the landscape and climate. The combined topography, soil type, amount of precipitation, amount of sunlight, temperature regime, and wind regime all affect what kind of life will grow in a particular area.

Out of these abiotic factors emerge the first level of life-the producers. As a group, producers make up what ecologists refer to as the first trophic level. Producers are the algae, cyanobacteria, and plants within an ecosystem. They produce the foods on which the other trophic levels feed. Trophic levels are simply a way for ecologists to describe the food chain. It is important to note that trophic levels are visualized as pyramidal in shape. Because energy is lost in the form of heat at each level, the quantity of life that can be supported becomes smaller at each level. All biological factors decrease at each ascending level: energy, biomass, and number of organisms.

Biological systems are typically composed of four trophic levels:

producers-herbivores-small carnivores-large carnivores

There are animals that overlap these groupings, such as scavengers and omnivores.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web pages on park ecosystems, plants, and animals to learn more about the biological systems in the park and preserve.

Materials

Print (on cardstock) one copy of the Habistack Cards and one copy of the Habistack Help Sheet for each group. Cut out the cards.

Procedure

Vocabulary

abiotic, biotic, community, habitat, species, trophic levels