Author:
Katie Blunt
Subject:
Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Upper Elementary
Tags:
Cycling of Matter, Digitalscienceonline, EMedia, Ecological Pyramid, Ecosystem, Food Chain, Food Web, Gale, Lesson Plan, Matter Cycles, Modeling and Simulation, Uollesson, Uolscience, Uolscrible, uol3-5
License:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Text/HTML

Education Standards

Matter Cycle Models

Matter Cycle Models

Overview

In this lesson, students will research matter cycles in various ecosystems. They will develop a model that will show the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. Students will choose between a variety of ways to create their model.  

(Preview Image: “Food web nemo”, CC-BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons)

Summary

Purpose and Vision:

In this lesson, students will develop and use a model to describe the matter cycle from ecosystems such as deserts or oceans. The model will show the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment and will emphasize that matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die.

Subject: Science

Grade Level: 5

Background for Teachers

Evidenced-Based Curricular Options:

The following curriculum resources can help teachers prepare for and present the concepts in this lesson:

Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

State Standards:

SEEd Standard 5.3.3 - Develop and use a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. Emphasize that matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Examples could include simple food chains from ecosystems such as deserts or oceans or diagrams of decomposers returning matter to the environment. Complex interactions in a food web will be taught in Grades 6 through 8. (LS2.A, LS2.B)

Learning Intentions:

  • Students will be able to use online research tools to gather information about matter cycles.
  • Students will be able to develop a model that demonstrates the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

Success Criteria:

  • Students will create matter cycle models using mediums/methods of their choice.
  • Students will present their models and use them to explain the scientific concepts learned.

Step 2 - Planning Instruction

Step 2 Planning Instruction

Student Background Knowledge

Students will need to understand what a model is. They will need to know how to use online research tools found in Utah’s Online Library. They will need to utilize strategies/tools for collecting and organizing information found in their research, such as Scrible.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Students will have choice in how they develop their model. 

Research articles will be made available at various reading levels with the option of using a screen reader.

Students will have the option of using a variety of multimedia to research their topic, including text, video, and audio.

Extending Learning:

Food webs are more intricate and complex than simple food chains or pyramids. This option could provide an additional challenge for students. Students could also extend their learning through additional research, including a visit to an ecosystem to explore and photograph/film the matter cycles first-hand. If students aren’t able to visit an ecosystem, a school garden or nearby park could provide such opportunities. Virtual field trips could be made available for students as well using tools like 360 Schools, YouTube VR videos, or Google Earth.

Learning Interventions:

Reading groups provide a great opportunity for intervention as the teacher is able to organize flexible grouping to target specific student needs. The variety of activities, media, and creation choices also allow the teacher to provide needed scaffolds and supports to students. The accessibility tools built into the Utah’s Online Library databases also help meet student needs.

UDL Connection(s):

Voice and Choice - students will be able to choose from a variety of sources and media styles to conduct their research. They will also be able to choose how to build and present their model.

Engagement - The extended learning options, including the variety of model types students can choose from (chains, webs, pyramids, etc.) allow the teacher to add demands and resources to optimize challenge.

Perception - The accessibility tools that accompany the reading articles offer ways of customizing the display of information and offer alternatives for auditory and visual information.

Step 3 - Instruction

Step 3 Instruction

Connection to Prior Knowledge:

Start by reviewing what students know about ecosystems. Have students brainstorm various ecosystems that exist in the world and the types of plants and animals that live in those ecosystems. Students can share their ideas in several ways:

  • Share ideas orally with an elbow partner
  • Share ideas on a Padlet using text and images
    • Example:

Ecosystem Padlet

  • Invite students to write/draw ideas on the class whiteboard

 

Introduce and Model New Knowledge:

Use the 5.3.3 Developing a Model of the Movement of Matter in Ecosystems Nearpod presentation found in eMedia (you may need to log in) to introduce the matter cycles to the students. The presentation guides students through information and activities about the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. It is interactive and engages students in a variety of ways including observation, collaboration, drawing, written response, video, games, personal reflection, discussion, research, reading, listening, and images.

After completing the Nearpod, reinforce the concepts learned about matter cycles by watching the Food Chains video found in eMedia (you may need to log in). The video is a music video with a song about food chains and how matter moves through them. Discuss the concepts in the video with partners or in small groups, asking students to share key concepts they learned. Consider also doing the following:

  • Teach the song to your students so they can better retain the concepts by singing the song themselves.
  • Create a matter cycles word wall spotlighting key vocabulary used in the music video.

 

Provide Guided Practice:

Have students further research matter cycles by selecting articles from Utah’s Online Library (Digital Science Online and Gale In Context). Or, these articles could be read in small reading groups with the teacher as part of a literacy practice station rotation.

The articles are available in various reading levels. A screen reader is available as well. Consider adding the articles to the Scrible platform so students can annotate, highlight, and take notes as they read.

Student article options:

 

Provide Independent Practice:

Review the concept of matter cycles with the students and introduce them to how ecologists create food chains to map out how matter is transferred within ecosystems. The following videos from Utah’s Online Library and Nearpod presentations can guide your instruction. They explore specifically how to build food chains.

Have the students practice mapping out a food chain for a particular ecosystem. This could be done as drawings either in the Nearpod presentations provided or just using colored pencils and paper.

Example Nemo Marine Food Chain:

Food Web Nemo

(Image: “Food web nemo”, CC-BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons)

 

Student Agency:

Students are able to select from a list of articles as they conduct their research. They also have the option of reading, using a screen reader, and changing the reading level of the article (with teacher guidance).

 

UDL Connection(s): 

Representation - Instructional materials from Utah’s Online Library offer ways of customizing the display of information. Concepts are illustrated through multimedia. Activities are included to clarify vocabulary and symbols.

Action & Expression - The methods for response in the Nearpod presentations are varied. The articles and videos used to optimize access to tools and assistive technology.

Step 4 - Assessments

Step 4 Assessments

Formative Ongoing Assessment Paths:

  • Discussion
  • Nearpod activities
  • Collaboration boards
  • Reading groups
  • Scrible notes, annotations, etc.
  • Practice food chain drawing

 

Summative End of Lesson Assessment:

Students will their own matter cycle models using mediums/methods of their choice. Their matter cycles models can be very similar to the simple drawings they created during independent practices, but for this summative assessment, the models should be more detailed. Students should use the information in their Scrible notes to help them create their models. They may need to conduct additional research as well. Students will:

  • Select a specific food chain, food web, or ecological pyramid to focus on.
  • Conduct additional research in Utah’s Online Library about the ecosystem associated with their selected matter cycle as needed.
  • Choose a medium/method for creating a model of their selected matter cycle. For example:
    • 2-D image (physical or digital)
      • Painting
      • Illustration
      • Photography
      • Apple Pages, Google Drawings, Adobe CC Express, etc.
    • 3-D model (physical or digital)
      • Sculpture
      • 3-D computer program
      • Virtual reality
    • Dramatic performance
      • Skit
      • Dance
    • Web-based
      • Website
      • Google Slides
    • Digital Media
      • Video
      • Animation
  • Create their matter cycle model.
  • Submit their matter cycle model.

(Note: If you would like students to submit their model via Canvas, consider using the file upload and weblink options. Students could submit their models using the link to their model online or by submitting a photo or video of their model.)

Students will present their models and use them to explain the scientific concepts learned. Presentations could be done in a variety of ways, such as:

  • In-person
  • Canvas
  • Google Classroom
  • Website
  • Webinar

Use the following rubric to guide students and evaluate their models:

Matter Cycle Rubric

UDL Connection(s): 

Action & Expression - Students may use multiple tools for construction and composition of their matter cycle models. Students may use multiple media for communication when they present their models.