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Lesson Plan

What Makes Up An Ecosystem? by ECSDM

Grade Levels

Intermediate, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade


This lesson is an introduction to a unit on ecology. Students will learn about abiotic and biotic factors and what makes up populations, communities, and ecosystems.


United Streaming

Materials and Resources

Rubric for ecosystem.docx


  • Students will identify parts of an ecosystem.
  • Students will explain the difference between populations, communities, and ecosystems.
  • Students will label parts of an ecosystem as either abiotic or biotic.


  • SMART Board
  • Drawing paper
  • Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
  • BrainPOP clip
  • United Streaming clips (if BrainPOP not available)
  • Internet access


1 to 2 periods depending on duration of class


  • Page1- Students will think about the word habitat and try to come up with a meaning in their own words. After about 4-5 minutes, have the students share what they think habitat means.
  • Page 2- Students will copy into their notes what habitat means and discuss whether or not the students were close in their thoughts. One student will come and move the pull box to reveal the definition.
  • Ask the students to share thoughts about the meaning of organism. After a few guesses, have a student come up to the SMART Board and move the box covering the definition of organism.
  • Page 3- Discuss what abiotic and biotic means with the students. Have students add to the examples given to take ownership of words.
  • Page 4- Students will interact with the SMART Board to complete the first two tasks on the page on ecosystem.
  • Page5- Students will copy definition of populations and discuss other types of populations that they know of.
  • Page 6- Students will discuss communities and the definition of communities. Students will examine the picture and notice that there are different animals and living things interacting together in one area.
  • Page 7- Students will identify an ecosystem as an area where living and non-living things can interact together. The students should identify that some things are living and some are not and they are all part of the given environment.
  • After explaining this scene, the teacher can click on the definition of ecosystem to view a BrainPOP video. Students will view clip and take quiz to review material presented.
  • Page 8- Students will come to the SMART Board and circle all the living or biotic factors in the picture (cactus, tree, iguana, snake, camel). The students can then explain why they didn't choose the other objects in the picture.
  • Page 9- The students will interact with the SMART Board to review vocabulary learned in this lesson. The students will click on the clue and from there will try to guess the vocabulary word without looking back at their notes. Students volunteer to come up to the Board to participate.
  • Page10- The students will create a drawing to reinforce the concepts presented in the lesson. After creating a drawing, the students will be asked to explain in a sentence or two how their drawing illustrates the concept.


  • BrainPOP video quiz
  • Completed diagrams - see attached rubric for grading
  • Vocabulary Review

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