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Indiana Wesleyan University

Emily Gerycz
Science Lesson One

LESSON RATIONALE
During this lesson, students will explore the question, “How do living organisms rely on one another?” Students will
inquire and uncover ways that species rely on each other within an ecosystem. They will unpack how an ecosystem is
interconnected and each species plays a significant role in how the ecosystem functions. This lesson further unpacks the
idea of the importance of an individual within a group setting. Using species from Indiana also help students to draw on
prior knowledge and engage with the content in a more meaningful way.

READINESS
I. Goals/Objectives/Standard(s)
A. Goal(s)—Students will understand the different parts of the food web and how they interact.
B. Objective(s)—
 After the lesson, students will be able to define an organism as a producer, consumer, or decomposer.
 After the class discussion, students will complete an exit slip to describe how organisms within an
ecosystem rely on each other.
C. Standards: 5.LS.1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers,
and the environment. 5.LS.2 Observe and classify common Indiana organisms as producers, consumers,
decomposers, or predator and prey based on their relationships and interactions with other organisms in their
ecosystem.
II. Management Plan- Time per lesson element, use of space, list of materials. Describe expectations and procedures.
 Time
o Anticipatory Set- 5 minutes
o Lesson Input- 15 minutes
o Partner Activity- 10 minutes
o Class Discussion/Make a Food Web- 15 minutes
o Closure- 7 minutes
 Space
o During the anticipatory set and the lesson input time, students will be at their assigned table. For the
partner activity, students will be able to choose a seat in the room with their partner (the floor, desks,
table…). When the whole class debriefs and creates the food web, the students will return to their
assigned tables.
 Materials
o Pictures of breakfast food
o Producer, consumer, decomposer picture sort cards
o Recording sheet and graphic organizer papers
o QR codes for each Indiana organism students are assigned
o Chromebooks
 Grouping
o Amri and Lainey; Zach and Wilson; Eli, Jackson, and Brody; Sabrina and Landin; Arianna and Kalissa;
Jenna and Mason; Ivan and Shamar
III. Anticipatory Set
• “Raise your hand if breakfast is your favorite meal of the day.” Wait for students to put their hands up. “Okay, you
guys can put your hands down. Raise your hand if lunch is your favorite meal of the day.” Wait for students to put
their hands up. “Great, put your hands down. Who likes dinner the best?” Allow students time to raise their hands.
“My favorite meal of the day is breakfast—and my favorite breakfast is probably eggs, bacon, and fruit.” Show
picture of eggs bacon and fruit on the board. “This is how I get my energy in the morning, from eating this
breakfast.”
IV. Purpose: “Today, we’re going to talk about how all living things interact with each other, so that you can understand
how the organisms around you impact and are impacted by you specifically.”

PLAN FOR INSTRUCTION


V. Adaptation to Individual Differences and Diverse Learners—
 Students will be paired together in groupings that I know will work well together and will be able to help each
other academically. My students who struggle with reading (Kalissa, Brody, and Landin) will be paired with
students who are strong readers.
 Wilson needs to work with a student whom he has a relationship with, but not one that will distract him. He also
must sit in a position where I can see his Chromebook to make sure he is on task.

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VI. Lesson Presentation (Input/Output)
 “We’ve been talking about this idea of Life is a Team Sport: the individual matters to the group,” but today we’re
going to talk about a different group. We’re going to talk about all of the organisms living in an ecosystem as
members of one group.”
 “Today, we’re going to explore this question—how do living things rely on one another?” Write this question in
large letters on the board. “Since this is the question we’re going to explore today, you need to make a hypothesis.
You’ve made hypotheses in science before, with the lettuce lab, so can someone raise their hand and remind us
what a hypothesis is.” Call on one student to remind the class what a hypothesis is. “That’s right! It’s what you
think is going to happen and why you think it will happen. Does a hypothesis have to be correct?” Wait for
students to respond with “no.”
 “I’m going to pass out a recording sheet, and you are going to write your hypothesis for this question. Write in
complete sentences and make sure you write why you think what you do.” Pass out recording sheets and give
students a few minutes to record their hypothesis.
 “So let’s go back to my breakfast—we know that every living thing needs energy to survive...” Point to the picture
of the breakfast on the board. “Someone raise your hand and tell me where eggs come from.” Call on a student to
respond with “chickens.” “Great, and where to chickens get their energy?” Call on a student to respond. Repeat
this process with all of the foods on the board until students run out of answers for where the animal/plant
got its energy.
 “Different living organisms get their energy in different ways. I’m going to sort these pictures into three different
categories: producers, consumers, and decomposers. If you think you know why I’m sorting them this way, I want
you to give me a thumbs up at any point.” I will sort the pictures into three categories—producers, consumers,
and decomposers. We will have a discussion on why I sorted them the way we did, working through as a class
to create a definition of each term. Have students write a definition in their own words on their recording
sheet of producer, consumer, and decomposer.
 “Now, we’re going to go back to our hypothesis. While we do our next activity, be thinking about how producers,
consumers, and decomposers are all connected. Let me explain your next directions. I’m going to give you guys a
partner—each partner group will be in charge of one organism that lives in Indiana. I will give you the organism
and a QR code you need to scan with your Chromebook to get to your resource. I am also going to pass out a
graphic organizer to every person, you need to write the name of your organism in the center of the graphic
organizer. The graphic organizer will look like this.” Show a complete graphic organizer to the class that I
completed with one Indiana organism. “Then, you need to fill in the bubbles around it with the information it
asks. Let’s look at what it asks you to find. You need to find whether your organism is a producer, consumer, or
decomposer. My organism is a consumer, so I put that in this bubble.” Point to the bubble with the word
consumer in it. ‘You also need to find how your organism gets its energy. Does my animal only get its energy from
one source? NO! I wrote multiple ways down—if your organism IS NOT A PRODUCER, you need to write at least
three ways it gets its energy. Okay, now I am going to give you your partners. Choose somewhere in the room to
work, you will have ten minutes. I will be walking around to answer any questions—if I have to remind you to get
back on task, I am going to ask you to move your seat and take away a Dojo point. Groups that are working well
together will be able to earn a Dojo point. If you finish before your ten minutes up, research more ways that your
organism gets its energy. Make new bubbles on your graphic organizer and fill them in with information.” Read
the partners and allow the students to move around the room to find a location to work.
 After ten minutes, tell students to move back to their seats. Ask the students to raise their hand if they found
their organism is a producer. Ask one member from each group to share what their organism is and where it
gets its energy (all producers get energy from the sun, so this will lead into further discussion on producers).
As each group shares, write the name of the producer on the board—make all producers the color green.
“Now, raise your hand if you had a consumer.” Call on one member from each group to share what their
organism is and how it gets its energy. As the students share, write the same of the organism on the board (all
consumers in purple). When the students mention specific ways the consumer gets its energy, start connecting
it to other organisms already on the board. I will essentially start to create a food web before telling the
students it is called a food web. Once students seem to understand this process with me creating the web, I
will ask the remaining members of the group to come up one by one and draw their own lines, explaining why
they are making the specific connections.
 “This drawing that we just made—it has a name. Does anyone know what the name of it?” Call on a few
members to share their thoughts. “This is called a food web! It looks a little messy, but it really shows us how
organisms rely on each other in an ecosystem.”
 “I’m going to give you a scenario, what if ________ was taken out of the food web. Let’s say it went extinct. Take a
look at the food chain and think for a minute what would happen to other organisms. Talk at your tables for two
minutes about what you think would happen if ________ disappeared from the ecosystem.” Give students two
minutes to discuss at their tables. “Can someone share what their table talked about?” Students will lead and I

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will facilitate a discussion on how organisms rely on each other within an ecosystem. We will discuss ideas
such as specific producers overgrowing without the consumer, and how the decomposers rely on the missing
organism to get their energy.

VII. Check for understanding.


 Students will complete a graphic organizer on their specific Indiana organism.
 Students will use their research (graphic organizer) to engage in a discussion on food webs and help me draw
one in front of the class.
o Both of these activities show me that students understand the small details within food webs and
ecosystems. If the students do not seem to understand, we will prolong the discussion and I will
reteach on producers, consumers, and decomposers.
 “Before we finish, you all are going to go back to your hypothesis. Think about whether you were correct or not. At
the bottom of your recording sheet, there is a question that says, ‘Was your hypothesis correct or not? Explain why
or why not.’ Answer that question and show me what you know about how living things rely on each other.”

VIII. Review learning outcomes / Closure


 “Before we finish, you have one more task. I am going to pass out an exit slip for you to fill out. It has two questions
on it—how would a fox going extinct affect the food web? The other question is simple—what was your favorite
part of today’s lesson?” Students will complete the exit slip and turn it in to complete the lesson.

PLAN FOR ASSESSMENT


Formative
 During the picture sort, students will create their own definitions of producers, consumers, and decomposers.
Circulating the room to look at these definitions will allow me to develop an understanding of where students
are in relation to these terms.
 Students will complete their graphic organizer to show they can identify an organism as a producer, consumer
or decomposer, in addition to identifying energy sources for a species.
 I will ask students a variety of higher level thinking questions such as “Why do you think living things need to
rely on each other?” and “Explain how the consumer you researched gets its energy.”
 I will note individual student progress during the class discussion on creating the food web. Who is answering
questions and who seems to be looking for others for guidance?
Summative
 Students will conclude the lesson by revisiting their hypothesis—answering the questions on how living things
relate to one another.
 Students will complete an exit slip on what would happen if a specific organism was deleted from the food chain.

REFLECTION AND POST-LESSON ANALYSIS


1. How many students achieved the lesson objective(s)? For those who did not, why not?
All students achieved the lesson objectives. They each filled out why their hypothesis was correct or not, and
each student was able to explain what would happen if something was removed from the food web. Through
discussion and through writing, each student showed me they accomplished the learning objectives.
2. What were my strengths and weaknesses?
I believe that a strength of mine was using visuals throughout the lesson. I had pictures, charts on the board,
webs… that aided my lesson and the class discussion. In addition, I think I framed the lesson in a discovery
way—I framed concepts and terms without necessarily explaining the definitions first. The definitions came
after students explored with the concepts. I think I could have been stronger in adapting to all ability levels. My
adaptations were solely based on my students with IEPs, but I did not have adaptations for my gifted learners.
3. How should I alter this lesson?
If I were to teach this lesson again, I would have made a more detailed graphic organizer. The students seemed
to accomplish this task well, so I think they could have extended the information even further. If I had made a
more detailed organizer with more questions, the students could have extended the information and gone into
more detail about their species.
4. How would I pace it differently?
I thought the pacing of the lesson went well. The students had a lot to say during discussion, so I could have
allotted more time for that. I do not think they were rushed, but they definitely could have used extra discussion
time to extend their thoughts and collaborate with their classmates.
5. Were all students actively participating? If not, why not?
Yes, all students were participating. I paired the students according to who I knew they would work well and
stay on task with, and I think that had a significant amount to do with their engagement levels during the
partner activity. More students than normal were raising their hand to participate in the lesson.

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6. What adjustments did I make to reach varied learning styles and ability levels?
I added “fun fact” bubbles to the graphic organizer for students who finished their mandatory bubbles early.
Many of the high ability learners finished their first task early, so they were able to learn more about their
particular species. I also used numerous visuals (diagrams, charts, webs…to organize information to help some
of my students who struggle with traditional readings.
7. Did students work well in partners or did this activity serve as a distraction?
The partner portion of the lesson was very successful. I was circulating around the room and I did not have to
remind any groups to get back on task. They did not seem distracted by this activity, but completed their tasks
well together and engaged in rich discussion with their partner.
8. How well did students understand the food web drawing on the board? How could I have scaffolded this
more effectively?
Students seemed to pick up very well on the food web. I think the fact that I drew the web without telling them it
was a “food web” kept them engaged during this portion of the lesson. I told them that when they talked about
the species they researched, I was going to take notes on the board—these notes ended up being the web. The
students made really insightful comments and asked thoughtful questions while I drew, such as: Why are you
drawing the arrows that way? (we talked about drawing the arrows the way the energy flows), and You’re
changing the marker color because of producers, consumers, and decomposers—producers are blue, consumers are
purple, and decomposers are black!
9. Did I adapt well and appropriately challenge all ability levels?
I do not think that the lesson was too easy for any learners, but I do think I could have made adaptations for
some of my higher ability students. A challenge I have had all semester is finding a way to challenge all
students—I have known from the beginning of my practicum that my class has both the lowest and highest
ability levels students in the fifth grade. In my other lessons I have taught this semester, I felt really good about
how I challenged all kinds of learners—this time, I feel like I could have been stronger in this area.