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Ecosystems | Activity 3.6

Activity 3.6: Explaining Patterns in Ecosystems (30 min)

Students use the Explanations Tool for Ecosystems to explain the biomass pyramid. They provide evidence at multiple scales for the Four Questions and then combine these ideas into one explanation for the pattern.

Materials You Provide

Resources Provided


Print one copy of the 3.6 Explanations Tool for Ecosystems and 3.6 Telling the Ecosystems Story for each student. Retrieve students’ completed 2.3 Evidence-Based Arguments Tool for Ecosystems.


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


Use 3.6 Grading the Explanations Tool for Ecosystems to get a sense of students’ explanations for the biomass pyramid. At this point, students should have well-developed explanations for the pattern they see. Look for the range of ideas in the class and consider what may need more emphasis to help the students develop more sophisticated explanations.