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Ecosystems | Lesson 5 - Ecosystems Applications and Unit Posttest

Lesson 5: Ecosystem Services and Posttest

Students use computer software to look at different ecosystems, discuss a video about where food comes from, listen to a song about biosynthesis in a food chain, and then take the unit posttest.

Guiding Question

How does carbon cycling apply to real-world situations?

Activities in this Lesson

  • Activity 5.1: Introduction to Ecosystem Products and Services (40 minutes)
  • Activity 5.2: Ecosystem Products and Services Jigsaw (50 minutes)
  • Activity 5.3: Ecosystem Posters (40 minutes)
  • Activity 5.4: Ecosystems Unit Posttest (20 minutes)


This lesson includes culminating activities and a unit posttest that address all of the unit objectives.

NGSS Performance Expectations

Middle School

  • Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems. MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • Earth’s Systems. MS-ESS2-1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.

High School

  • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems. HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems at different scales.
  • Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems. HS-LS2-5: Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.

Background Information

Students consider several real-world situations to apply their understanding of ecosystems and carbon cycling. Thinking about real-world situations will help students practice their knowledge and help students understand the relevance of this topic.

In Activity 5.1, students are introduced to human managed ecosystems and ecosystem products and services. Students complete a reading about these ideas and then apply them to new ecosystems.

In Activity 5.2, students read about one human managed ecosystem and the services and products it provides. They then share with peers to learn about other human managed ecosystems in a jigsaw style discussion.

In Activity 5.3, students review what they have learned throughout the unit by creating ecosystem posters focused on tracing matter and energy within the ecosystem.

Activity 5.4 includes the unit posttest. As you look at your students’ responses to the posttest questions, consider how well their answers reflect their progress toward understanding ecological matter cycling and energy flow, and answering the Large Scale Three Questions for a variety of ecosystems. See Lesson 5.4: Grading Ecosystems Unit Posttest for assistance in interpreting your students’ responses.

Key carbon-transforming processes: cellular respiration, photosynthesis.

Ecosystems Unit Map