Saturday, June 23, 2012

What's in Your Ecosystem?

My science make-over begins with the chapter on Ecosystems. I want to incorporate science journals this year so last night I sat down and brainstormed some ideas based on the content of the chapter. 

Today, my little lovey (my 3 1/2 year old daughter) helped me put together some sample pages. Well, mostly she did some cutting and pasting and ran back and forth from the printer to get the papers out. Oh, and she thoroughly enjoyed getting me the correct color I needed from the crayon/colored pencil bin. Love her.

 Here is what me and my little helper came up with today.
I'll start each chapter with some vocabulary work. The envelope will hold either flash cards, a memory game, or some other fun vocabulary activity.

Our curriculum gives four characteristics of living things, so I put together a table where students can compare things in our environment against those four characteristics to decide if it's living or nonliving. This should be a quick review for most students.
We usually do science in the afternoon, which is about the time the kids start to get a little squirrely. What better way to get some of the wiggles out than with an nature walk?! While we're on our walk we'll take our journals and stop periodically to jot down things we see in our ecosystem. We'll use a t-chart to categorize them as living or nonliving. 

This next part was Lovey's favorite! She got to cut and paste a ton, while Mommy did the drawings. I'll have my students search magazines, find clip art, and make drawings for each category.

I found the little ant and snail pictures shown above as part of a teacher resource called "Do the Rot Thing," which is all about composting. I liked that it gave information on a TON of decomposers, which were even hard for me to list. Anyone have a composting program at their school or in their class? That would be interesting. Hmmmm....

Lovey helped me cut and paste a food chain using pictures we found in our clip art file. A great way to integrate a computer skill that we work on in our tech class.

I found a great online tool through Scholastic. It will help you create a food web, and after answering a few questions you can print the nifty certificate below. I'll have students glue the certificate into their journals. Check it out here.

I put together a quick chart where students can write in examples of when an animal would need to hibernate, migrate, or camouflage in order to survive. 

There are several points within this chapter where I'll have them answer questions or make responses in their journals. These questions/prompts might be:

  • How does a decomposer help an ecosystem?
  • Why are scavengers important to an ecosystem?
  • What ways can you help to protect the environment?
  • What does the environment in your room look like? Draw it!
  • List 3 animals and describe the niche of each animal.
  • Describe a time when you were in a competition. Why do animals have to compete?
 I'd love to hear some of your ideas for Ecosystem journal entries. 

A big thanks to fellow newbie blogger, Brittany over at Stickers and Stamps for surprising me with the One Lovely Blog Award. 

As part of receiving this award it will be my privilege to pass on the award to fifteen new bloggers. I'll try to get my 15 fav new blogs posted soon. Thanks again Brittany!


  1. Thanks for the comment! I'm your newest follower:) Wow, these science journals look great. We are just learning about various teaching strategies like these...awesome!


  2. Love this! I will have to share mine when I get more accomplished...Can't wait to see what else you come up with! :)

    Ramblings of a Deaf Ed Teacher's Mind...

  3. I love what you've done with your science journal. I'm going to have to borrow some of your ideas. I started a science journal last year and it ended up looking like a coloring book - lots of colorful diagrams and illustrations. It's too bad I can't draw very well!

    Hooty's Homeroom