1st Grade Trophy Links

2008 Comprehensive Curriculum 4th Grade Science Links

Activity 5:  Researching Ecosystems (GLEs:  10, 11, 12, 18, 41, 47, 50, 51, 52, 53)

Materials List:  multimedia resources and books on Louisiana ecosystems and Louisiana plants and animals, encyclopedias, construction paper, scissors, glue, colors, copy paper, markers, pictures of Louisiana plants and animals, shoe boxes, loose-leaf paper, Louisiana Ecosystem Research Sheet BLM (1 per student), Louisiana Animal Research Sheet BLM (1 per student), science learning logs

Part A: Using multimedia or other resources have students work in cooperative groups to research a specific ecosystem, being sure that several Louisiana examples are included (coastal marsh, freshwater marsh, prairie, freshwater lakes/bayous, bottomland hardwood forest, piney wood forest, etc.)  Their research should include the plant life, soil types, water availability and salinity, and major animal types that live in their chosen ecosystem. Direct students to record their information on the Louisiana Ecosystem Research Sheet BLM.  If possible, have students locate a picture representing the ecosystem. As a finished product, have student complete a RAFT Writing (view literacy strategy descriptions).  Students will take on the role of an advertising agent for a Louisiana ecosystem tour group and will design an advertisement in the form of a brochure to distribute to perspective tourist to Louisiana.  In their brochures, students will highlight important features of their ecosystem.  Student groups will make oral presentations of their brochures to the class.

Part B: Next, instruct student pairs to research an animal that resides in Louisiana, using multimedia resources, books, or encyclopedias. Provide a list of animals that should include mammals, fish, crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles. Lists of suitable animals can be found at various web sites such as the Fur and Alligator Advisory Council, www.alligatorfur.com, and the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, http://www.wlf.state.la.us/experience. Information gathered can be recorded on the Louisiana Animal Research Sheet BLM.  Instruct student pairs to write a script for an interview with the animal that will include information about its behavior, life cycle, adaptations that help it to survive in its habitat, how it modifies its habitat, its main prey and predators and other animals it competes with for resources. Students should also include how their animal’s various body parts are related to their function and survival. Have students role play the interview with the animal.  After each presentation, the class will discuss with the presenters the following topics: What effect does the animal have on its habitat? What effect would a sudden decline in the numbers of the given animal have on the other organisms in the ecosystem?

Part C: As a culminating activity, the students, working in interest groups of 2-3, will create a diorama of a particular Louisiana habitat and place drawings of the animals that they have researched into the diorama. Have students go on a gallery walk to observe the ecosystem dioramas.  This would be a good time to invite parents to school for an ecosystem extravaganza where the students present their dioramas and brochures.  If possible, take students on a field trip to one or more of Louisiana’s ecosystems.

Lesson Plans/Resources:

Interactive Activities:



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