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Ecosystems | Activity 1.1

Activity 1.1: Ecosystems Unit Pretest (20 min)

Students complete a pretest to assess their understanding of carbon and energy in ecosystems at the beginning of the Unit. The My Students’ Answers feature on the online test system provides all students’ answers and a summary of their learning progression levels. The pretest questions address each of the learning goals for the unit:

  1. Matter cycling, energy flow, and the organic matter pyramid. Questions 1, 2, 5, and 6.
  2. Changes in ecosystems. Questions 3 and 4.

Materials You Provide

  • Pencils (1 per student, for paper version)
  • Computer with an Internet connection (1 per student, for online version)

Resources Provided


Print one copy of the 1.1 Ecosystems Unit Pretest for each student.


1. Describe the unit pretest.

Explain the purpose of the unit pretest to students:

  • It will help you as a teacher understand how students think about what happens when ethanol burns.
  • It will help them think about what they know and what questions they have.


Use the 1.1 Ecosystems Unit Pretest to assess students' understanding of combustion in terms of learning progression levels. You should not give your students grades on the pretest or expect your students to know the correct answers. The document 1.1 Assessing Ecosystems Unit Pretest has assessment guidelines, and identifies correct responses and explaining how students’ responses reveal their learning progression levels.