• Visitors bask in a golden sunset at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center in Shenandoah National Park

    Shenandoah

    National Park Virginia

4th grade - Ecosystems: The World-wide Web of Life

Suggested Grade Level: 4th
Maximum Group Size Per Day: 60 students (plus chaperones)
Download Ecosystems: The World-wide Web of Life lesson plan (pdf, 117kb)
Download Pre/Post-Visit Assessment Score Sheet (pdf, 17kb)
Download Program Evaluation Form (pdf, 17kb)
 
A group of students and a ranger studying natural communities in Big Meadows.
NPS photo
 

Overview

The world is composed of many natural ecosystems in which plants and animals interact with one another and the nonliving environment. Each species has a niche or job within the ecosystem and each is dependent on the other members of its community for survival. Students will explore the natural communities found in Shenandoah National Park and make comparisons between natural and human communities. As human and environmental impacts are evaluated, stewardship behaviors that support a healthy world will be explored and practiced.

Objectives

Following the park experience and classroom activities, the students will be able to

  1. define food web and explain the transfer of energy in a sample food web;

  2. determine an organism’s niche in its community and describe the interdependent relationships among organisms;

  3. identify at least three environmental and human influences that can impact a community and determine potential consequences;

  4. explain how Shenandoah National Park protects natural communities and list three ways people can demonstrate care for the environment.

Virginia Science Standards of Learning Addressed:

Strand: Living Systems

4.5 - The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals in an ecosystem interact with one another and the nonliving environment. Key concepts include

b) organization of communities;

c) flow of energy through food webs;

d) habitats and niches;

f) influence of human activity on ecosystems.

Did You Know?

The huge gray granite boulders rise above the green ridges of Old Rag Mountain.

A favorite of hikers, Shenandoah National Park’s Old Rag Mountain is made of billion-year-old granite.