Biology 43

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Topic (43) Use math about cycling of matter among ecosystem organisms. (HS-LS2-4)

Ecology is study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment. Objects of study include interactions of organisms with each other and with abiotic components of their environment. Abiotic material is physical rather than biological; not derived from living organisms.

Topics of interest include the biodiversity, distribution, biomass, and populations of organisms, as well as cooperation and competition within and between species. An important focus for ecologists is to improve the understanding of how biodiversity affects ecological function.


Day 1 – Introduction
Day 2 – Virtual Textbook

4:46 Introduction to Ecology

7:45 Energy Flow in Ecosystems

3:31 Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma


Compare Contrast and Debate

Extracted and summarized from (full article)

Oklahoma is home to the largest (39,650 acres) protected tallgrass in the world. Tall grass prairie land used to span across 14 stats (from Texas to Minnesota). But, big cities have taken over a lot of this land. Those big cities include Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wichita, Omaha and Minneapolis. The “spreading out” of big cities is called urban sprawl. Also, much of the grassland has been converted into cropland. Now, less than 4% of the original tallgrass prairie remains.

Something interesting – since 1989, The Nature Conservancy in Oklahoma has restored portions of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The group used 2,500 free-ranging bison and a “patch-burn” model approach to prescribed burning.

If nothing is done to restore more of the land, there are several threats to biodiversity. Some of these threats include habitat fragmentation, invasive plant species, and stream degradation.

  • Position A. Conservation of tallgrass prairie is vital to the well-being of the land and the life supported by the land.
  • Position B. Continued conversion of prairie land into cropland is more important than conserving tallgrass prairies.

Instructor Resources

Standard Daily Material
  • Day 1 – Standard material – introduction day
  • Day 2 – Standard material – reading day
  • Day 3 – Standard material – make a presentation
  • Day 4 – Standard material – give a presentation
  • Extra! – Enrichment and remediation options
Other Topic Specific Resources

Special Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:

  • Science & Engineering Practice: Construct explanations and design solutions.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Cause and Effect: Mechanisms and explanations.

Emphasize HS-LS2-4  Use a mathematical representation to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.

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