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Ecosystems Turboquest

Lesson Plan 5 (Task 5)

Ophelia Gregory
Title of Lesson: Ecosystem Unit Project
Topic: Ecosystems
Subject Area(s): Science, writing, social studies, art
Grade Level: 4th
Description: This is the culminating unit project, which includes two components. Students will create a
3D model of their animals ecosystem based on the scenario given in Task 3 and information gathered
through research. The art project will incorporate a visible solution to their ecosystems problem, as well
as a National Geographic report that explains the groups solution. The National Geographic report will
include the name of the ecosystem, the scenario problem, an animal description and picture, the
animals food chain, and an explanation of the groups chosen solution to their scenario that includes
justification. Throughout the entire unit, students will earn play money that must be budgeted so that
they can pay the teacher for the materials used in their art project. For both parts of this culminating
project, the paired research groups will work with the other paired group that has the same animal to
make a group of four.
Objectives: The students will be able to create an accurately labeled 3D visual representation of an
The students will be able to write a research report of their animals ecosystem.
The students will be able to justify, in writing, a chosen solution to a change in the environment or
populations within the ecosystem.
Standards: S4L1. Students will describe the roles of organisms and the flow of energy within an
ecosystem. a. Identify the roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers in a community. b.
Demonstrate the flow of energy through a food web/food chain beginning with sunlight and including
producers, consumers, and decomposers. c. Predict how changes in the environment would affect a
community (ecosystem) of organisms. d. Predict effects on a population if some of the plants or animals
in the community are scarce or if there are too many.
ELACC4W4 Production and Distribution of Writing: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the
development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
LACC4W8 Research to Build and Present Knowledge: Recall relevant information from experiences or
gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and
provide a list of sources.

VA4PR.1 Creates artworks based on personal experience and selected themes.

g. Combines materials in new and inventive ways to make a finished work of art.
SS4E2 The student will identify the elements of a personal budget and explain why personal spending
and saving decisions are important.
Essential Questions: How do people, animals, and their surroundings interact with one another to
create a community?
How can we justify the importance of food chains in an ecosystem?
Materials: *materials that can be found under the teacher page

Research folders, complete with all graphic organizers and handouts used in the unit
All scenarios used in the unit
A wide variety of art materials (natural and synthetic, small and large materials included)
Play money
At least 10 large Ziploc bags (for keeping money and budget sheet)
Ecosystem budget sheets (1 per group)*
5-10 large sheets of yellow cardstock or construction paper
National Geographic Report template(1 per group)*
File folder of pictures that students can use for their report
10 bottles of glue
5 dispensers of tape
10-20 pairs of scissors
At least 5 half-sheet poster board sized pieces of cardboard to use as art project display
Create-an-Ecosystem rubric (one per student)*
National Geographic Report rubric (one per student)*
Example report for modeling: picture of the example piece can be found on the teacher page

Technology: Students will use computers to finish any necessary research and type out the
groups scenario, solution/justification, and animal descriptions in the National Geographic Report
template. Students will be responsible for printing the page once the template is filled out.
1. Motivation: The teacher will show students the art materials while explaining their task
to get them engaged in the project. The teacher will also show an example of the
National Geographic Report and explain how students should keep their National
Geographic reporter perspective in mind when completing this activity.

2. Statement of Purpose: This task gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their
understandings of ecosystems in two different formats. It serves as a summative
assessment for the unit.
3. Body:
a. Have students complete the report component first, as the justification piece
will help them align their ideas to the art project that they will create. The
teacher should first provide students with a completed example of the
assignment and show them the report template as well.
b. Give each student a rubric and guide students as a whole group step-by-step in
what is expected for each section.
c. Show students how to open the template file and where to save it on the
d. Divide students into groups of four (paired groups with the same assigned
e. Give students time to complete the template, save it, and print it out.
f. Have students glue their printed template to the yellow cardstock/paper to
create a National Geographic magazine look.
g. For the second part of the unit project, begin by modeling how to create a 3D
model of an ecosystem by using the example research report and art materials;
show students their options and discuss what materials might be used to
represent certain objects in the ecosystem (i.e., bottle caps for lily pads).
h. Explain that whatever they choose to represent in their ecosystem should
accurately match their animals description, food chain, and their problem and
chosen solution. For example, if a groups problem scenario deals with
deforestation, perhaps their solution would be creating a government-imposed
limit on the number of trees. In their art project, this should be represented
somehow, perhaps through a little slip of paper that has a symbol stating trees
cant be cut down.
i. Provide each student with a rubric and explain each piece of the rubric.
j. Give students time to create their ecosystems.
k. Time permitting, students could take pictures of their projects and upload them
to Edmodo so that they can be shared with families and friends at home.
Assessment: Two separate rubrics used for grading the art project and the research report. See other
Closure: The task will conclude with a presentation of each groups research to the class and a display of
our unit hopefully in the media center.
Accommodations and Differentiation: Students will be allowed to purchase and use the materials in a
variety of different ways to create their 3D model. Also, students will be provided with several different
options for presenting their research, which allows Gardners Multiple Intelligences to be reached.
Students can choose within their group of four who gets to complete each section of the research report

task. A checklist will be provided for those who need it. Groups who need an extension of time to
complete their research report will be given an extra day (1 hour time block). For students who struggle
with organizing their thoughts and creating a plan, have them sketch out their ideas in a concept map or
a simple labeled drawing of their art project before they create the actual model.
Reteaching: Have students review the StudyJams video that deals with changes in the ecosystem.
Also, relate their ecosystem research to an animal that students are very knowledgeable about such as a
dog, cat, or fish in a small group discussion.
Extensions: Give students another element to add to their 3D model and/or research report. Examples
include statistics, a current event that deals with conservation, another environmental change, or
another population change in the ecosystem.