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18.1: Chapter 18: Ecosystems and Human Populations

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Chapter Overview

This chapter describes ecosystems and explains how matter and energy flow through ecosystems. It also describe how the human population has grown and how it affects our global ecosystem

Online Resources

See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:

In the lab at the following URL, students will simulate predator-prey interactions. The number of predator and prey “animals” in their “ecosystem” will be recorded and graphed to represent a predator-prey cycle in an ecosystem.

In the classic owl pellet lab described at the first URL below, students will dissect owl pellets to determine the organisms an owl eats and identify its niche. As an alternative option, students can do the virtual owl pellet dissection at the second URL below.

Use the excellent NSTA inquiry-based module at the following URL to teach your class about the carbon cycle. The module includes complete instructions for a classroom experiment that introduces students to the chemistry of the carbon cycle. It allows students to observe the influence of the carbon cycle on algae growth, form a hypothesis, explore experimental design, collect data, and draw a conclusion. Pre- and post-assessment questions, diagrams, student data sheets, several worksheets, and additional activities are all included.

In the carbon cycle lab at the following URL, students will investigate how carbon cycles through the Earth system, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. As students investigate the cycle, they will find answers to the following questions: How does carbon move from one sphere to another? How does carbon change as it moves from one part of the carbon cycle to another? Where is carbon stored and for how long is it stored? After they complete the lab, students will be able to describe the processes of photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and decomposition; identify the major carbon reservoirs and describe how carbon is stored in these reservoirs; describe the effects of positive and negative feedback on the carbon cycle; and provide examples of the various time scales at which carbon moves through Earth's spheres.

These Web sites may also be helpful:

At this URL, you can find a large collection of teacher-approved videos about ecosystems, biomes, and populations.

For more information and many links on ecosystems, biomes, and habitats, go to this URL: http://www.fi.edu/tfi/units/life/habitat/.

A more sophisticated overview of cycles of matter, including some cycles not covered in the chapter, is available here: http://www.lenntech.com/matter-cycles.htm.

You can find an educator’s guide to cycles of matter and the flow of energy through ecosystems at the following URL.

Go to the URLs below for collections of middle school activities related to the human population.

Pacing the Lessons

Lesson Class Period(s) (60 min)
18.1 Ecosystems 2.0
18.2 Cycles of Matter 1.5
18.3 The Human Population 1.5

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