The environment: living and non-living things

page content This focus theme is explored through :

Contrasting student and scientific views

Student everyday experience

Student is holding a worm. The other is drawing his observations onto paper. Students tend to think of organisms as being only animals that interact with the physical environment and plants, without appreciating the complex mutuality between members of and across species. research : Hubber & Tytler ( 2004 )

Their ideas of ecosystems are normally only associated with natural and wilderness areas rather than their own environments. This concept of an ecosystem besides influences their ideas about how humans interact with ecosystems, which is often in terms of the destruction or collapse of lifelike and wilderness ecosystems rather than those systems that are contribution of their more immediate environments. research : Novak & Gowin ( 1984 )

Scientific view

The global contains a wide diverseness of physical conditions, which creates a kind of environments where living things can be found. In all these environments, organisms interact and use available resources, such as food, space, light, heat, water, publicize, and shelter. Each population of organisms, and the individuals within it, interact in specific ways that are limited by and can benefit from early organisms. Interactions between different organisms are numerous and are normally described according to their positive ( beneficial ), negative or achromatic impression on others.

The interactions between living things and their not know environment makes up a full ecosystem ; understanding any one part of it requires cognition of how that part interacts with the others. Ecosystems do not ‘ collapse ’ but do change in function, social organization and typography over prison term due to natural or human mental disorder ( examples include the affect of drought, flood, mowing and herbicides ). research : Novak and Gowin ( 1984 )

Critical teaching ideas

  • All organisms exist within ecosystems.
  • Living things have various structures that enable them to survive: for example, transport structures in plants allow water and trace elements to move. Similarly there are digestive structures and respiratory structures in animals and reproductive structures in plants and animals that assist in organisms functioning within ecosystems.
  • Each organism has particular forms of these structures that assist their survival.
  • In all environments, organisms with similar needs may compete with one another for limited resources, including food, space, water, air and shelter.

globeicon Explore the relationships between ideas about organisms and their interactions with their environments in the Concept Development Maps – ( Flow of Energy in Ecosystems, Natural Selection ) Students need to experience testify of a function ecosystem with abundant plant-animal interaction to develop a better understanding of the complexity of interactions and to understand that they themselves live within ecosystems. Time is a factor that influences the type of interactions and changes that take place in an ecosystem. This is debatable for skill design that does not allow students to observe changes over an cover period of time. Allowing ongoing investigations to run throughout the year is an authoritative consideration ( or alternatively manipulation video clips that criminal record changes over time ).

research : Skamp ( 2004 )

Teaching activities

Collect evidence/data for analysis

Identify a stick out within your local anesthetic residential district where student research and participation may have an impingement. Some examples are : research : Baker ( 2005 )

Challenge some existing ideas

In order to challenge the ideas that ecosystems merely exist in wilderness areas and that homo affect is constantly negative, encourage students to undertake activities which allow them to investigate life things in a natural local environment such as the schoolyard, local pond, a wetland or a construct environment such as a classroom pond. inquiry : Skamp ( 2004 )

Collect evidence/data for analysis

Studying pond animals over a period of weeks gives a sense of the changes that occur in populations as they interact or in changes of mannequin as animals go through their lifecycles. Students can link this with a longer survey to provide insights to seasonal worker changes and animal adaptations related to seasonal worker cycles. The ten-spot part television series The Life of Birds completed by Sir David Attenborough in 1998 provides some big examples of how birds have adapted to urban environments. research : Skamp ( 2​004 )

Focus student attention on overlooked detail

Photographic image of a small pond surrounded by native Australian bush. promote students to record observations and descriptions of phenomenon using skill journals, labelled diagrams, timelines and PowerPoint presentations. Use microscopes and hand held lenses to assist observations of structure and function. For case you could map a school pond or nearby wetland, lead where tadpoles are feeding and where early organisms are situated or move in relation to each other.

Clarify and consolidate ideas for/by communication to others

Students could create a news program reputation on their project or develop a project like creating a fresh playground. They could explore an consequence for the media or their school newsletter from differing perspectives such as a politician, a greenie, a farmer, a parent, a local elder or other teachers. This involves ethical decision-making on behalf of the students as to what to include and what not to include in the report .

Further resources

science related synergistic teach objects can be found on the FUSE Teacher Resources page. To entree the synergistic learn object below, teachers must login to FUSE and research by Learning Resource ID :

  • –students answer a short quiz about how organisms are adapted to their environment, then explore a pond environment. They choose sampling tools suited to avoid hurting the animals or damaging the study area, then collect animals from a pond, grassy bank, rocky bank, trees and shrubs. They look at a species description and video for each animal and describe how the animal meets its basic needs for food, water, shelter and protection.
    Learning Resource ID:  R9QN9M
  • – students explore why a frog population is declining by look at changes in the pond over time (specifically, water quality, habitat loss and predation by introduced species). Students build a food web for the pond and model population interactions. They identify which species have the greatest impact on the frog and finally build a report using evidence collected to support their conclusions.
    Learning Resource ID:  FTE6CS
source :
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