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Introduction to Ecology Complete Unit Plan Bundle

I am well on the way to completing my summer goals.  My first goal was to spend as much time as possible with my family and enjoy having my daughter home from college.  I am delighted to report that this goal is going splendidly!!

My "school-related" goal is to work on and improve my teaching materials for ecology.  There is so much material that has to be covered for our state "End of Course" test, that I have found it best to break the material down into "mini-units".  As a result, I teach ecology in 6 mini-units:  Introduction to Ecology, Population Ecology, Community Ecology, Energy Flow and the Recycling of Matter, Biomes of the World, and Humans and the Environment.  The news here is "One down, and 5 to go."  I have overhauled my Introduction to Ecology unit by preparing a photo-packed PowerPoint for my students, and by adding several new activities.

If you are wondering what concepts I include in a mini-unit called "Introduction to Ecology", here they are:

  • What is ecology?
  • The Role of Climate: What is the difference between weather and climate? What factors affect climate?
  • The State of Today's Environment: The exploding human population, the sixth mass extinction, the damage to the ozone layer, and climate changes.
  • The greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases, human activities that contribute to the greenhouse effect.
  • The Effect of Latitude on Climate: Polar zones, temperate zones, and tropical zones.
  • Heat Transfer in the Biosphere: Winds, currents.
  • Levels of Ecological Organization: Biosphere, ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms.
  • The living and the nonliving components of an ecosystem.
  • The theme of interconnectedness and interdependence in ecology.
  • Biotic and abiotic factors
  • Habitat -vs- Niche.
By teaching this overview of ecology first, the ground work is laid for teaching the more challenging concepts that will follow.   I have bundled together all of the materials that I use to teach this mini-unit into one digital download from my TpT store.

The bundled unit contains everything you need, from start to finish, to teach this unit.  Since this unit involves ozone depletion, I have added a new activity that is a WebQuest on ultraviolet radiation.  In this activity, students will visit a web site maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to learn about ultraviolet radiation.  The student will gather data from the site to analyze the UV Index in their area.  Graphing skills are reinforced as the student places this information on a graph.

This activity can be completed at school, or can be assigned as a homework assignment.  I am really excited about this new activity and am looking forward to trying this with my students next year.  

Tomorrow I am getting in the car for an 1100 mile trip to the Great Lakes area -- the upper peninsula of Michigan!  I am looking forward to cool temperatures and beautiful scenery.  You know I am a nature lover, so for the next ten days, I 'll be posted pictures of every cool nature thing I can find.  Stay tuned....

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