Ecosystem lesson plan

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Students will be introduced to two new and different ecosystems and all of the elements that are found inside the ecosystems. As a class, students will construct a Venn Diagram identifying the distinct differences between the two ecosystems as well as any similarities.

LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will learn how the world contains different ecosystems that possess similar and different elements. Students will also be exposed to how plants and animals rely on one another in order to properly function. Lastly, students will observe the intense competition some animals and plants face in certain ecosystems. Students will learn this material through the utilization of interactive instruction. First, the students will listen, infer, and recall before, during, and after the two books are read. Then, students will collaborate to create a graphic organizer in the form of a Venn Diagram to display their findings. A formative assessment will be conducted by simple observation while the Venn Diagram is constructed. I will make mental note of contributing students and ensure that all students have had an opportunity to contribute to the diagram or to the conversation.

MATERIALS: Tropical Rain Forests (True Books- Ecosystems) by Darlene R. Stille, Mountains (True Books-Ecosystems) by Larry Brimner, blackboard or whiteboard.

CONCEPTS: Ecosystems, animal and plant relationships

VOCABULARY: ecosystem, system, community, population, habitat, food chain, producers, consumers, decomposers, food chain, food web (FlashcardExchange, 2010)

MOTIVATION/INTRODUCTION TO THE LESSON: Today's motivation is reading two books. Students will have just completed a desert terrarium the day before and are continuing a week of fun with ecosystems by listening to the instructor read two colorful and descriptive books!


  • Step 1. Students' attention is gathered.
  • Step 2: Students gather in a general seating area or remain quiet at their desks.
  • Step 3: The teacher informs the students that they will be listening carefully to 2 books about ecosystems. Each book contains similarities and differences and their job is to listen carefully or take notes in order to find interesting facts! Next, I introduce today's topic: comparing ecosystems and all it's inhabitants.
  • Step 4: Reveal the first book: Tropical Rain Forests. I identify all of the print concepts then begin reading page one. I allow students to ask questions and make notes after each page.
  • Step 5: Have a brief discussion about the tropical rain forest ecosystem. Students make notes about what their fellow classmates have noticed.
  • Step 6: Reveal the second book: Mountains. Identify all of the print concepts and begin reading page one. Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to ask questions and make notes after each page.
  • Step 7: Have a brief discussion about the mountain ecosystem. Students make notes about what their fellow classmates have noticed.
  • Step 8: I draw a Venn Diagram on the board and label the 3 sections. I ask the students what a Venn Diagram is.
  • Step 9: Students take turns raising their hands and coming to the board to place specific similarities and differences regarding the ecosystems into the Venn Diagram.
  • Step 10: Students also observe the plant and animal relationships and note them in the diagram.
  • Step 11: Assessment is taking place.
  • Step 12: I verbally review the Venn Diagram allowed for reinforcement.

CLOSURE: "Can you name some plants and animals that live in the tropical rain forest that could never survive in the mountains? Why is that so?" Students exchange answers with their desk partner, come to a consensus and a few share their response with the class. "How is competition for food different between these two ecosystems?" Students think and respond. "Yesterday we created a desert planetarium to show us what living in that ecosystem would be like. Today we have experienced two new ecosystems: the mountains and the tropical rain forest. Tomorrow you will all see how disastrous the affects of an oil spill can be on certain ecosystems and it's inhabitants. Keep in mind all of the different ecosystems we have covered as well as what they have in common!"

MODIFICATIONS: All students have opportunities to ask questions as well as discuss with a partner. This should enable students that have a hard time grasping the concepts to spend more time on the specific area they are confused with. These students can speak one on one with their partner and will hopefully gain a better understanding of ecosystems. Secondly, 3 visuals are utilized in this exercise that should create repetition throughout the activity. I should have a general idea of which students will master this objective before the lesson begins. However, this particular lesson is an entire class-interactive lesson. These students will not receive modifications because it is imperative that they listen to the guided reading and participate in creating the Venn Diagram.


  • Brimner, Larry. (2000). Mountains (True Books). Connecticut: Children's Press.
  • FlashcardExchange. (2001-2010). 4th Grade Ecosystem Vocabulary. Retrieved from
  • Stille, Darlene. (2000).Tropical Rain Forests (True Books). Connecticut: Children's Press.
  • Webb, Dr. Tim. (2007). Curriculum Standards- TN Department of Education. Retrieved from