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Energy Flow in Ecosystems NGSS LS2 – Science Unit

Energy Flow in Ecosystems and Cycling of Matter

How does energy flow through an ecosystem?
 

Are you covering energy flow in food webs and food chains in your 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th-grade science class?

Trophic levels provide a structure for understanding food chains and how energy flows through an ecosystem. At the base of the pyramid are the producers, who use photosynthesis or chemosynthesis to make their own food. Herbivores or primary consumers, make up the second level. Secondary and tertiary consumers, omnivores and carnivores, follow in the subsequent sections of the pyramid. At each step up the food chain, only 10 percent of the energy is passed on to the next level, while approximately 90 percent of the energy is lost as heat. Energy flows through an ecosystem in only one direction. The energy flow in ecosystems moves from one organism to another as they consume one another. Energy is passed from organisms at one trophic level or energy level to organisms in the next trophic level.
 

Energy Flow in Ecosystems

Most of the energy at a trophic level is used by organisms for growth, movement, heating themselves, and reproduction. So animals at the second trophic level have only about 10% as much energy available to them as do organisms at the first trophic level. Animals at the third level have only 10% as much available to them as those at the second level.

 

 
 
ecosystems worksheets

 

This ecosystem and food chain unit supports the following standards:

NGSS 5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
NGSS 5-PS3-1 Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, and motion and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.


NGSS MS LS2-3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

 

NGSS 5.3.2 Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information that animals obtain energy and matter from the food they eat for body repair, growth, and motion and to maintain body warmth.

NGSS 5.3.3 Develop and use a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. Emphasize that matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die

 

and

Utah SEEd 6.4.3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an eco

 
 

If you use the suggested schedule I include, this ecosystem and food web unit will provide seven days of material!

 
On day one, you can start with an informative PowerPoint slide show with scaffolded notes included:
 
ecosystems worksheet
 
On day two you can get your class out of their seats and have them form a food ecosystem with their bodies using my fun Ecosystem Activity with Yarn, and have them complete food web activities about the desert and the grasslands.
 

Food Webs and Food Chains

 
 
energy flow in ecosystems
On day three you can complete my vocabulary activity:
 
food web activities
 
And follow up with food webs in the tropical rainforest:
 
energy flow diagram
 
On days four and five your class will really enjoy my task card activities:
 
ecosystem and food web activities
 
 

The set of organisms that pass energy from one trophic level to the next is described as the food chain.

 A food web is more accurate than a food chain in recognizing that multiple organisms eat at multiple trophic levels. A food chain describes the passage of energy between trophic levels. A food web is a set of interconnected and overlapping food chains.

Students Will Love Learning About Ecosystems and Food Chains

On day six, your students can complete activities on food webs in the woodlands and wetlands:
 
ecosystem diagram
 
ecosystem diagrams
 
 
Finally, on day seven you can wrap up the unit with a two-page assessment on energy flow in ecosystems and trophic levels.
 

Your students will LOVE these engaging activities!

 
And you don’t need to spend your valuable free time making your own unit.
 

I’ve done the hard work for you!

 

Other teachers LOVE this unit!

 
Check out just two of the dozens of perfect reviews:
 
 
“Loved this interactive unit. Went well with the standards. Students made lots if interesting food webs and they loved it!”
-Vanessa W.
 
“Just love the way the author really ties to the standard and has it so well planned out. The suggested schedule is really great. No busywork here. This is a rich standards-based unit. Just what I have come to expect from this author.”
-Tina S.

Try this unit in your classroom TODAY:

This unit is available for download in two places:

  1. Teaching Science with Lynda on Teachers Pay Teachers
  2. Here on teachingscience.us

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Thank you, and I hope you enjoy using this unit in your classroom!

Start Here

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
5
3
Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams