Ecoregions of the Natchez Trace Parkway
OverviewThe students will investigate an ecoregion of the NATR and fill out a worksheet with ecoregions characteristics. They will then collect the information into a class scrapbook. If necessary, the teacher will review with the class, the words; biotic, abiotic, biome and landform. The teacher will assign pairs or small groups of students to research the various ecoregions found along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The teacher will assist the students in compiling a scrapbook containing their research.
Enduring Understanding: An ecoregion is part of a biome that has a particular soil type and landform.
Essential Question: What are some different examples of ecoregions?
The students will:
1) describe the biotic and abiotic characteristics of at least one ecoregion found along the Natchez Trace Parkway
2) understand how a disaster might affect the ecosystem
An ecoregion (or bioregion) is a part of a biome. A biome may contain many different types of soils and landforms. An ecoregion is part of a biome that has a particular soil type and landform. There can be many different types of ecoregions in a biome. Even though two of the same kind of ecoregion may not be near each other, they will usually have many of the same types of biotic factors (plant and animals). An easy example to imagine is our country's Atlantic shoreline. The shore is within a deciduous forest biome. The shoreline in northern Florida has similar soil and land form as the shoreline in Maryland even though they are far away. Both are different than the Appalachian Mountains that are in the same biome. They may be considered the same ecoregion. They would have the same or similar plants and animals. Different scientists may have different definitions to various ecoregions. Ecosystems are smaller, localized areas within ecoregions.
The Natchez Trace Parkway has seven different ecoregions (see the diagram). See teacher answer sheet for summarized properties of the seven ecoregions.
General Characteristics of Natchez Trace Ecoregions
Maple- Oak - Hickory-Ash Forests
Gravely streams underlain with limestone
Transitional to Mixed Forest of the Appalachians
Home of rare cedar glade ecosystems
Fall Line Hills
Mixed Oak - Pine Forest
Ecoregion with highest number of currently threatened or endangered species (5)
Blackbelt Forest and Bluestem Prairie
Highly diverse 60+ bird species and 400+ plant species
Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain
Mixed Pine - Oak Forest
Home to more than 30 species of reptiles and amphibians
Southern Rolling Hills
Oak -Hickory - Pine and Southern Floodplain Forests
Naturally fertile soils have largely been converted to agricultural uses.
MS Valley Bluff Hills and Loess Plains
Oak- Hickory-Pine Forests
Rare loess soil found in only one other North American location.
1.) Student Instructions and worksheets (3 pages)
2.) Access to internet
Student Task: The students will fill out the worksheets by researching their assigned ecoregion on the internet. They are encouraged to find pictures to illustrate their research. When all research is done, the students will share what they learned about their ecoregion and compile a scrapbook.
Student Instruction: See Student Instruction Sheet in Materials
Teacher Closure: The teacher will display the scrapbook in the classroom or library
AssessmentQuality of research and completeness of worksheets
Park ConnectionsDiscusses the ecoregions of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
1.) Relate Natchez Trace ecoregions to other areas
2.) Visit the Natchez Trace Parkway and discern various ecoregions and/or ecosystems. Compare the Natchez Trace ecoregions with those of other National Parks.