Grade 6 - Kaitlyn, Nicolette

Unit: Ecosystems 

Science Stuff 

1. MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

2. MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms in a variety of ecosystems

3. MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and protecting ecosystem stability.*

Essential Questions for Unit:

1. How is everything connected?

2. What degrades ecosystems?

3. What is biodiversity and why is important? 

Big Ideas/Enduring Understandings for Unit:

1. Humans positive and negative effects on ecosystems

2. Food chains effect/drive ecosystems 

3. Environments that are more diverse are healthier 

Performance Tasks for Unit:

1. Students independently research an area in the world and design a food web with labels and when given environmental changes show how the web is altered. 

Student instructions: Today as a class we are going to the computer lab to research our own food webs. I am going to give everyone an area of the world in a different ecosystem and you are each going to find a food web within that ecosystem and draw and label it with your vocabulary words including producer and consumer. Once you have your ecosystem made I am going to give you a sheet with conditions that would change your food web, such as taking an organism out. I want you to write what would happen if that change was imposed. 

2. Students will create a solution to an environmental problem in groups by either making a plan or prototype 

Student instructions: In groups of three, I will be giving everyone a different environmental problem to solve such as a shortage of water, trash in the oceans, etc. and each group will come up with a plan to fix this problem. When you are done designing the plan each group will share it with the class and we will discuss and ask questions about it.  

3. Give students an environment and have them create a plan to increase biodiversity and then students will self-evaluate and evaluate other group's plans 

Student instructions: Students will be put into groups of three and each group will get a different environment such as the rainforest or the Arctic. You will have to define bio-diversity in your own words and then create a plan to help increase biodiversity. Each student will make a poster explaining their plan and then groups will go around to each poster and the students will evaluate their own plan and other groups plans as will I 

    • Angelica Iris Ortiz
      Angelica Iris Ortiz

      In there a third question you have for the essential questions part of your unit? And for your performance tasks, will students have the opportunity to use research materials such as texts and/or the web in order to make and food chain and label a diagram of cycle matter. Six grade students can hopefully create a list for performance task number two, but for the first and third task, they will need some form of reference to go off of right? Thank you for your hard work! 

      • Lilly Davis
        Lilly Davis

        Is there a third essential question? If you need help thinking of one, try and take a question out of one of your big ideas. I think your first question is a little to broad, might need to specify it a little bit, however since they are in middle school it might be easier having broad questions. I really like your big ideas, I think they directly correlate to your big ideas which is how I think they should be. Based on your big ideas I think that you could make one of your essential questions about humans effect on ecosystems. 

        • Mikaela Fernandes-Dix
          Mikaela Fernandes-Dix

          Overall, I liked your ideas for your essential questions but think they may be a little to difficult for a middle school student to understand. I think if you can may be narrow down and simplify your question that they would be perfect for a middle school student to understand. I do like your ideas or your big ideas and thought they go along perfectly with your unit topic an what the  students will eventually be getting out of the entire unit.

          • Kealy Costigan
            Kealy Costigan

            I think that with 6th grade for one of the performance task you can have a research component. They are more independent in 6th grade and you can give them more freedom to explore. I think you can go into more detail on some of your ideas and questions. This is a great foundation. I like that this unit includes how humans can impact ecosystems. I think you could really build on that in general in the classroom. 

            • Rachel Scarano
              Rachel Scarano

              Like my classmates already asked, do you have a third question? And for the first one I think that's too broad. What is "Everything"?. I really like your big ideas and your performance tasks. It's going to be a really good Unit plan, I would just focus on working on the essential questions! And to add a third 

              • Jacqueline Manzano
                Jacqueline Manzano

                For your third essential question, you can ask "What is the importance of the food chain?" or something along those lines relating to the direct effects of ecosystems. I think this unit is very appropriate for the grade level and can be addressed in various ways. You have a good approach based on the essential questions, big ideas, and tasks. 

                • Kayla Armstrong
                  Kayla Armstrong

                  I think the question "how is everything connected?" is too broad a statement. I think you should also make sure your students know what ecosystems are just in case it may not be something they learned in their elementary school. I found that many of the lessons there's an inclusion of "how can we ..." questions or big ideas which I think is great. To show kids how they can be involved and invested in the rehabilitation and preservation of their community, ecosystem, nature etc.

                  • Rochelle Cadogan
                    Rochelle Cadogan

                    I really like your topic! I think you can go into a bit more detail for your questions but i enjoy how everything flows together. For the questions maybe you can add something about food chains? As that is in your big ideas and is also an activity in the performance tasks. Overall great job!

                    • Samantha Kappmeier
                      Samantha Kappmeier

                      This topic is really interesting. However, I think that your essential questions are a little too broad even though this is an older grade I think you should make sure they are aware of what "everything" is exactly and what they are connected to? Your big ideas however are really creative and are important to be taught to students of this age particularly. 

                      • Gerald Ardito
                        Gerald Ardito

                        Kaityln and Nicolette,

                        I think your performance tasks are interesting. However, I had instructed you to create student facing directions for completing them. I don't see those. Am I missing something?