Ecology Unit Curriculum Draft

Unit  Title: Introduction to  Ecology

Unit  Summary:

This unit is part of a 10th grade Biology core and is designed for use with an online class. I designed this as a hypothetical unit. This is assuming that classes would be taught 2 times a week for a 6 week session. Students will be required to conduct an experiment at home and maintain a blog journal with regular updates on the progress of their experiment.

Utah State Office of Education  Biology Core Curriculum

Science Benchmark:  Ecosystems are shaped by interactions among living organisms and their physical environment.     Ecosystems change constantly, either staying in a state of dynamic balance or shifting to a new state of balance. Matter cycles in ecosystems, and energy flows from outside sources through the system. Humans are part of ecosystems and can deliberately or inadvertently alter an ecosystem.

 STANDARD I:  Students will understand that living organisms interact with one another and their environment.

USOE Intended Learning Outcomes Addressed:  

  1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
  2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
  3. Demonstrate Understanding of Science Concepts, Principles and Systems
  4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
  5. Demonstrate Understanding of the Nature of Science

Unit  Objectives

  1. Objective 1: Students will be able to summarize how energy flows through an ecosystem.

  1. Objective 2:  Students will be able to explain relationships between matter cycles and organisms and infer human impact on cycles.

  1. Objective 3:  Students will be able to interpret interactions among biotic and abiotic factors within an ecosystem.

The detailed curricula draft can be found here on my webpage

There are a few assignments that have not been fully developed, but they are noted as such. I look forward to any feedback on my project.

13 thoughts on “Ecology Unit Curriculum Draft

  1. Owen


    This is coming along nicely. One minor thing, rather than include “SWBAT” at the beginning of each of objective, I’d just write it out at the top of each section, or omit entirely and allow it to be implicit.

    I like your role-playing assignment in unit 9.

    How are you sitting with regard to feedback and revision cycles?

    Looking swell!

  2. Bob

    Ok… so I feel a little humbled. This strikes me as an entire semester worth of work, an entire course. So, I have to admit that I didn’t look at every section.

    I agree with Owen on the SWBAT if all you did was replace it with a bullet point it would be fine. That said, I appreciate your comment on one of my posts introducing me to the idea. I changed it up to be “Employees” instead of “Students” and interestingly that change in role had an impact on the outcomes.

    I liked the use of pod casts, I liked the document explaining what good peer review looks like. Your use of pod casts opened up a realm of online resources I didn’t have in mind — I was focused on video, but in truth I bet I can find some better resources that are just audio — thanks for that.

    In lesson three I noticed that some of the work seemed implicit. By that I mean that I cannot simply read the assignment instructions and know what I am working on or required to do. My expectation as a practiced learner is that the instructor will provide the additional information in some way. However, I can imagine this provoking anxiety in others. When I went back to assignment two I saw that some of the details were there. Perhaps, some road signs, or links to a single page or document that details the Lab Report?

    The quizlet thing was initially weird but after I figured it out I thought it was kind of cool. I particularly liked the ability to view the same information in a variety of ways, drag and drop associations, quiz, flash cards. I think I gotta get me some of that.

    Are you open to student feedback on particular assignments? How would you collect that? I guess I feel very clearly that you are a teacher, and that you are speaking to Utah state instructional requirements. While this is a cool online course it almost feels… old school, where is the interactivity, where is the sense of being co-learners in this process of discovery? To my mind that is one of the greatest things about online learning, yet, maybe I am judging with a criteria that simply cannot fit into your circumstance, so fwiw. That said, this is still impressive.

  3. Alda

    Nice layout, lots of good videos and clear sequence of topics. One aspect I didn’t see represented explicitly was how students will “Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests.” Obviously by employing the scientific method, they will be using the information they are learning. But I feel like if students are encouraged to *value* science and tie it to their own interests (understand its personal relevance in everyday life), they are more likely to retain this knowledge and pursue further STEM education. You have a few elements that support this indirectly, like offering them the option of taking a photo in their own backyard or favorite outdoor space. Do you think it would be helpful to make this objective more explicit, and ask students to reflect in writing about what excites or interests them about this process? And how they could imagine using what they are learning outside of the classroom?


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