Everywhere on Earth has places with communities of living organisms interacting with nonliving things. These places are called ecosystems. Watch this video to learn more about ecosystems!
Watch this video of Illinois Farmers talking about the importance of the interaction between Nitrogen (nonliving) and corn (living)!
Read aloud: The Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms interacting with the nonliving parts of an environment! Choose an ecosystem and write out the living organisms and the nonliving parts!
Choices: Desert, ocean, pond, back yard, park, forest, jungle.
In order for an ecosystem to work, it has to have energy! How do YOU get your energy? By eating of course! Eating food gives you the nutrients you need! The flow of energy in an ecosystem is called the food chain! Here’s an example of a food chain in a jungle ecosystem:
Tree leaves –> insect –> frog –> snake –> jaguar –> decomposers.
Now, think about the ecosystem of a farm!
- List the living and nonliving parts of a farm ecosystem.
- Write or draw the food chain of a farm!
- Make a poster with the information from #1 and #2 and teach your family about a farm ecosystem!
As you learned in the video, ecosystems are communities! All of the interactions between living organisms and the nonliving things are extremely important for that ecosystem to survive! Read through the following statements and answer True of False for each.
- A farm is an ecosystem because it is made of living and nonliving things that interact and exchange energy.
- The farm ecosystem is unique because humans control many of the interactions among the things on the farm.
- Farmers need to understand how things on their farms interact (their farm ecology) in order to make choices about how to raise their crops and animals.
They’re all true! Even though a farm is man-made, it is still an ecosystem! Play these fun games to see how important a balanced ecosystem is.
Reflect on the game you chose. What was important for keeping the ecosystem healthy? What was the relationship between the living and nonliving parts? Compare what you learned to a farm ecosystem.
Try out this activity to see just how important all parts, both living and nonliving, are to an ecosystem! http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/soda-bottle-terrarium.htm
Something for Everyone
Check out this familiar tune with a twist!
Assessment and Extended Response
*Possible farm food chain: Sunlight –> corn –> cow –> human
*Why are pollinators, like butterflies and bees, important for ecosystems?
*Why do farmers add nutrients, like fertilizers, to their crop? (nutrients like Nitrogen are an important nonliving part of the ecosystem that help the plants grow)
*What are some examples of living and nonliving parts of a farm ecosystem?
(Living: farmer, cow, sheep, crop, bugs in soil, birds, etc.; Nonliving: soil, clouds, rain, sunlight, nutrients (Oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus), rocks, streams, barn, weather, etc.)