Grade
7

Interactions & Ecosystems

Teacher's Handbook

Overview

This handbook will be a roadmap that shows how to use all the Ignition Pack resources in the most impactful way.


Unit Resources

Boreal Forest Files

The boreal forest is the setting for the unit project and several activities. Using words and stunning pictures, these full page cards give students information about many of the plants and animals that live there.


Vocabulary Cards

With more science comes more vocabulary to learn. Use these cards to help review all the new terms in this unit.


Discussion Cards

These cards engage students with compelling questions that can be used to elicit prior knowledge about ecosystems, for review, or for assessment.


Discovery Cards

These cards contain questions that go beyond the Program of Studies. They can be used to challenge a student or the whole class to learn more about interaction and ecosystems through inquiry.


Section 1 - Why is it important to understand ecosystems?

Lesson: Why is it Important to Understand Ecosystems?

This three-part lesson illustrates how life-supporting environments meet the needs of living things, describes examples of interaction and interdependency within an ecosystem, investigates the link between human wants and needs and environmental impacts, and identifies the need for scientific knowledge that can inform decisions that have impacts on environments.


Narrated Lesson: Why is it Important to Understand Ecosystems?

The narrated versions of the lessons are useful for self-guided review of the key concepts that were explored in class.


Lesson Notes: Why is it Important to Understand Ecosystems?

These notes contain the full text of the narration for the lessons as well as additional interesting facts, discussion questions, and detailed suggestions for supporting activities.


From Earth to You Activity

Students follow one of their favourite meals from its production to its being eaten. They predict which part of the meal will take the most energy to produce and do research to discover the answer.


What's Your Ecological Footprint? Activity

Students discover their impact on the environment by using a web-based ecological footprint calculator.


Video: Why is it Important to Understand the Ecosystem?

Beavers have a large impact on Canadian ecosystems. Our hosts Mandi and Lisa (a naturalist and an educator) consider our relationship with beavers and why it’s important to learn about them and other parts of the ecosystem.


Section 2 - How do matter and energy flow through ecosystems?

Lesson: How do Matter and Energy Flow Through Ecosystems?

This three-part lesson identifies biotic and abiotic components, and describes interactions among these components, describes how energy is supplied to and flows through a food web, describes the process of cycling carbon and water through an ecosystem, and identifies mechanisms by which pollutants enter and move through the environment.


Narrated Lesson: How do Matter and Energy Flow Through Ecosystems?

The narrated versions of the lessons are useful for self-guided review of the key concepts that were explored in class.


Lesson Notes: How do Matter and Energy Flow Through Ecosystems?

These notes contain the full text of the narration for the lessons as well as additional interesting facts, discussion questions, and detailed suggestions for supporting activities.


Cycles of Nature Activity

Students use what they have learned about water and carbon cycles to move water molecules and carbon tokens through an ecosystem, figure out how the two cycles are related, and look at what might happen if the cycles were unbalanced.


Energy Flow and Bioaccumulation Activity

In this activity, students will learn about energy flow and the bioaccumulation of pollutants in an energy pyramid.


Predator Prey Game Activity

In this lively activity, students play a basic predator/prey game, make predictions about how the balance could change, and then play their revised version.


Video: How does Matter and Energy Flow Through the Ecosystem?

Mandi meets Virgil, a cattle farmer who has a good reason to know all about how carbon and energy flow through his cows.


Section 3 - How do we know how an ecosystem is changing?

Lesson: How Do We Know How an Ecosystem is Changing?

This three-part lesson describes and interprets distribution patterns of living things found in a given habitat, investigate and interpret evidence of interaction and change, and identifies signs of ecological succession in local ecosystems.


Narrated Lesson: How Do We Know How an Ecosystem is Changing?

The narrated versions of the lessons are useful for self-guided review of the key concepts that were explored in class.


Lesson Notes: How Do We Know How an Ecosystem is Changing?

These notes contain the full text of the narration for the lessons as well as additional interesting facts, discussion questions, and detailed suggestions for supporting activities.


Monitoring a Boreal Forest Activity

This activity allows students to become familiar with some careers in ecology and the various tools used to monitor the plants and animals of a boreal forest. The information that students gather here will lead into the unit project.


Do-It-Yourself Monitoring Activity

The Ignition Pack kit contains a number of monitoring tools that can be used in a local ecosystem.


Video: How Do We Know an Ecosystem is Changing?

Mandi meets Patrick an ecology graduate student who sheds some light on why they are standing in a sunny spot in the middle of a forest (it’s all about succession).


Panorama: Boreal Forest

This Panorama allows students to be immersed in a boreal forest before, during and after pine beetle infestation. Students are able to click on various plants and animals to see how they are affected by pine beetles.


Section 4 - How can we decide what actions to take?

Lesson: How Can We Decide What Actions to Take?

This three-part lesson identifies intended and unintended consequences of human activities within local and global environments, describes and interprets examples of scientific investigations that serve to inform environmental decision making, illustrates, through examples, the limits of scientific and technological knowledge in making decisions about environments, and prepares students to analyze a local environmental issue or problem based on evidence from a variety of sources, and identify possible actions and consequences.


Narrated Lesson: How Can We Decide What Actions to Take?

The narrated versions of the lessons are useful for self-guided review of the key concepts that were explored in class.


Lesson Notes: How Can We Decide What Actions to Take?

These notes contain the full text of the narration for the lessons as well as additional interesting facts, discussion questions, and detailed suggestions for supporting activities.


The Town Hall Activity

Students take on the roles of stakeholders in a town where a logging company wants to expand.


Video: How Do We Know What Action to Take?

Mandi and Lindsey, an environmental advisor, discover the Beaverhills Initiative where many stakeholders are working together to make decisions and take action based on their research.


Discovering Changes in an Ecosystem Project

Students play the role of forest ecologists to monitor the boreal forest ecosystem and interpret the data they collect. This comprehensive and cumulative project will allow students to apply what they have learned and is a good review and formative assessment tool.


Summative Assessment Project

Students are challenged to create new ecosystems in a creative project that will act as summative assessment for most of the unit.

Wonderville Resources

Wonderville.org is an award winning website that gets youth excited about science by providing innovative games, activities and stunning videos. Click on the links below to explore some of Wonderville’s ecology resources.

Games

Biodiversity: A Data Discovery GameJoin your team of experts as they identify and count species to understand the biodiversity of a region.

Science Seekers: Ecosystem HealthThe condition of an ecosystem is often reflected by its biodiversity and the number of species in that ecosystem. There are a number of factors, human and non-human, that affect the health of an ecosystem. Constant monitoring can be used to help understand ecosystems and keep them healthy.

Science Seekers: Grasslands: Grassland ecosystems, as the name suggests, are dominated by a variety of grasses. There are two types of grasslands: tropical and temperate. Tropical grasslands stay warm all year round while temperate grasslands, like the ones in Canada, cycle through a range of seasonal temperatures. Grasslands have great capabilities to support an extensive diversity of life.

Videos

A Rocky Succession: Natural succession and Reclamation are ways to nurture a damaged ecosystem back to health. Follow our rock as he experiences the natural succession around Mt. St. Helen’s after the 1980 eruption and teaches a young ecologist how to reclaim disturbed land.

What is CO2?: This short animated video is the first part of a two part series. Part one asks questions about where carbon dioxide comes from, the role it plays in the atmosphere and the efforts we are making to control, reduce and mange carbon dioxide emissions.

Do you Know What Carbon Capture and Storage is?This animated video is the second in a two-part series on how to capture carbon dioxide and carbon capture and storage. In this video, we examine how carbon dioxide can be captured and stored and what that means. 

EntomologyDon’t be bugged by bugs; get fascinated! Find out what entomology is and you'll enter a new world of science.

What is Biodiversity?Understanding biodiversity allows us to better help the earth’s animals and plants to survive and thrive. It also provides humans with insights to use this diversity in new and less harmful ways. You’ll see - even the smallest creature is important because biodiversity matters.

Comics

Building With WasteEver wonder what a waste material engineer does? Neither had Marty and Jessie. Quantum can help them to understand what waste management engineering is and the many products that are being developed.

Diversion DartMarty works on diverting waste from landfills as he tries to create a master piece for the K-Go-Go Kart Championships. Waste diversion is a critical consideration as we learn how to reuse waste.

Just Look NaturalMarty, Jessie and Quantum explore the process of naturalization in their yard, focusing on native plants. Naturalization is the recreation of natural ecosystems as we restore them to how they were generations ago.

It's All Part of the Land PlanWhat is a land plan? Marty and Jessie learn about sustainable ecosystems and the relationship between humans and ecosystems.

Toad TrackerDid you know certain animals can be markers of the health of an ecosystem? Join Marty, Jessie and Quantum as they learn about indicator species and why they are important. A toad is a great example of an indicator species.

Zero WasteJoin Marty, Jessie and Quantum as they explore the concept of zero waste.

Experiments

Model Reclamation: Set up your own model reclamation project.