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Ecosystems | Activity 1.3

Activity 1.3: Key Features of Ecosystems (30 min)

Students “zoom in” to a meadow ecosystem. We expect that most students will be able to identify the producers, herbivores, and carnivores, but they will be less likely to explain how the number of each is affected by the others.

Resources Provided


Open the 1.3 Key Features of Ecosystems PPT and project it. If you will have students do the optional ecosystem drawing prepare drawing materials as well.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.

Show slide 2 of the 1.3 Key Features of Ecosystems PPT.


  • Use the ideas students share during class about ecosystems to formatively assess their familiarity with various ecosystems, types of organisms, and organic versus inorganic carbon.
  • This Unit builds on previous knowledge about organic versus inorganic carbon and levels of scale. If students experience difficulty making the connections in this lesson they should be provided further instruction or review before moving on.


Check to see if students are able to identify the difference between organic and inorganic carbon at this point in the unit.


Have students draw an image of an ecosystem of their choice during step 3, and list the types of organisms that might live there. Then during step 4, have students identify producers, herbivores, carnivores and decomposers in the ecosystem they drew. If they don’t have an organism in each role, encourage them to draw a new organism to play that role in their ecosystem.

Extending the Learning

Have students use online satellite imagery to take a picture of their neighborhood and identify where the carbon is located near their home or school.