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Decomposers | Activity 6.1

Activity 6.1: Exploring Different Kinds of Decomposers

Students complete one or more activities to learn more about decomposers.

Materials You Provide

  • Spontaneous combustion of hay video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRNCrHqD0zE
  • Paper for writing answers to questions on 1 Exploring Different Kinds of Decomposers Handout
  • Molecular model kits for modeling fermentation (if you do 1 Decomposers Without Oxygen Reading and Modeling)

Resources Provided

Setup

For this lesson, you can choose which of the four activities you would like your students to do. You may opt to concentrate on one or two of the activities, allow your students to choose, or organize a jigsaw activity in which different groups of students do different activities. For all the activities, you can decide if you want to do them as a whole class or for students to work on them individually or in small groups. For all the activities, prepare one copy of 6.1 Exploring Different Kinds of Decomposers Handout for each student.

For the Learning more about bacteria activity, prepare a copy of 6.1 Bacteria Handout for each student.

For the Reading about Dr. Death, prepare a copy of 6.1 Dr. Death Handout for each student.

For Learning about spontaneous combustion of hay, prepare a computer and projector to show the video.

For Modeling fermentation, prepare a copy of 6.1 Decomposers Without Oxygen Reading and Modeling Handout for each student and a model kit for each pair of students.

Directions

1. Explain to students which activities they will be doing

Give each student a copy of 6.1 Exploring Different Kinds of Decomposers Handout . Explain which of the four options on the handout they will be doing (see discussion of possibilities under Setup above).

Assessment

During the reading activity, check to see if students are picking up on how bacteria use matter and energy in ecosystems. Do students mention biosynthesis, digestion, and cellular respiration in their descriptions of bacteria’s role in ecosystems?

Modifications

Students can read using a “read a little, talk a little” strategy. Have partner A read the first section out loud, and then have Partner B summarize what Partner A read. Have them repeat this for each section of the handout.