“Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude.” By Dave Burgess
I was recently asked about a Science lesson plan that I had presented on in the past called, Competition and I realized that I have never blogged about this lesson before. So I revamped and updated it to meet NC Essential Standards, Common Core, 21st Century Skills and added some Pirate elements. (If you are not sure what Pirate Elements are you need to read, Teach Like a Pirate and follow #TLAP on Twitter) This lesson plan is over a few days if you only teach science 45 mins a day, but can also be taught in a day depending on your schedule and flexibility at your school.
Title: “Let the Games Begin…” (For my TLAP Fans….doesn’t that sound so much better, then Competition) I would have this written on the board to help hook them.
NC Essential Standard: 5.L.2 Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
- Students will be able to give at least two examples of competition that takes place in a real world ecosystem through activity.
- Students will be able to explain how and why competition takes place in ecosystems through activity.
- Students will be able to explain ‘How can change in one part of an ecosystem affect change in other parts of the ecosystem?’
Fruit Loops (or store brand)
Baggies (1 per student)
(Before activity the teacher will (TTW) need to spread fruit loops in a designated coned off area to represent an ecosystem outside area is ideal and more authentic)
Day 1: Engage/HOOK (#TLAP: I like to move it, move it”)
The students will review key vocab words such as food chain, food web, prey, herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, Predator, scavenger, procedures, consumers, decomposers by using ‘I have, who has game’ as TTW facilitate.
Exploration: ( I had this as a SmartNotebook File)
- TTW ask the students to choose an animal they want to be (deer, rabbit, fox, turkey buzzard, elk- without letting them know what the activity is) and write it on a piece of tape and put it on their shirt. [ Deer- Herbivore, Rabbit-Herbivore, Fox- Omnivore, Turkey Buzzard Carnivore]
- TTW explain they will be going outside in an area that is marked off as an ecosystem. There will be fruit loops on the ground.
- TS job is to collect fruit loops. When they are finished collecting fruit loops they need to leave the ecosystem. (Don’t time this, some students will collect a lot, while others will collect only a few and stop and some will only collect a certain color based on preference and that is okay)
- When the students are down, have them return to the coned off area of the ecosystem, they will need to sort their fruit loops in piles according to color. (Give them a few minutes to organize their fruit loops – I like doing this activity outside because it gets students in a different environment, moving and outside)
- The teacher will reveal what each color represents: (I usually bring out a chart paper and be Vanna White – Usually most don’t know how that is so it becomes a teachable moment ;-)
Green: plants Blue: Water
Red: Predator Meat Yellow: Shelter
Orange: Scavenger Meat Purple: Pollution
- TTW announce: Let the games begin….who will survive in this Ecosystems
- TTW explain if you are an elk, deer or rabbit you need to take away (put back in their baggies) the red and orange (meats) because you are a herbivore and these resource is not useful to you.
- TTW explain if you are a buzzard you need to take away green (plants). TTW also explain that if you are a buzzard you need to take away red as they are scavengers.
- At this point, “the game” really begins of who stays alive because now you make up situation such as the ones below.
- TTW say “For every purple (pollution) you have - it takes away one water or food source as it contaminates it. (Some may “die” at this point and they should go to the corner of the room.)
- TTW then say, “You need to have 5 waters, 5 food source, 5 shelters to survive the first round.” Those who “die” from not having enough resources go to one corner of the room. Everyone else puts the fruit loops they used in the baggies because those are used resources.
- TTW say to the ones alive, “You now need 4 water, 4 food source, 4 shelters.” A few more will “die”.
- TTW then say, “The buzzards can take 5 food sources from someone next to them that is ‘dead’.” (This is because they would have more food sources if things die off because they are scavengers)
- TTW then say, “You know need 4 water, 4 food source, 4 shelters.” A few more will “die”.
- This will go on until you have a few left or even just one. The process will show how competition between animals affects an ecosystem.
Day 2: Explanation:
Think-pair-share In their science notebooks, the students will “think” about what this activity represents and why. TTW explain that the students will work with their partner (pair) to determine how it works and be able to explain competition using the terms. Each group will select a spokesperson to explain their group’s explanation as to why this represents competition. (Share)
In groups, students will critically think about the essential question: How can change in one part of an ecosystem affect change in other parts of the ecosystem?
The students will research, collaborate and create a presentation of their choice to demonstrate the mastery of the essential question.
- Competition between organisms exists in every ecosystem. Organisms are forced to compete against their own species and also different species in order to survive. The stronger and fit organisms have an advantage over those who are weaker, and they have a better chance of surviving.
- Competition between the same species is called intraspecific competition. Many birds of the same species compete for the best nesting grounds. In cases when food or water is scarce, members of the same species will compete for food in order to survive.
- Competition between different species is called interspecific competition. Different species often compete for space, food, or water. For example the lion and the hyena both compete for zebra.
Day 3: Elaboration/Reflection:
The groups will present their knowledge to the class.
Evaluation: For the exit slip I have students communicate their mastery individually to see what they have retained themselves. I do exit slip questions many ways see this blog post.
Exit Slip Questions: How does competition affect an ecosystem? Explain.
Answer: Competition is when two or more organisms seek the same resource at the same time and they fight for the food/living space/and other resources they need to survive. It affects the ecosystem because of how the resources and organisms interact.
I hope you can use this lesson in your classroom, or a modification of it.