UBD unit plan. Eutrophication

UNIT TITLE: Earth Spheres and Water Unit
GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: 8th Environmental Science
TEACHER: Megan Talarico
Desired Results:
 Students will be introduced to Earth systems and demonstrate understanding of their interactions.
 Students will be able to distinguish between biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem. They will
be able to demonstrate knowledge of the interrelationships among biotic and abiotic factors in the
process of eutrophication.
 Students will know how matter and energy move through a food chain, and how elements such as
nitrogen and phosphorous move through an ecosystem.
 Students will understand that human interactions can alter natural processes specifically as they relate
to the process of eutrophication.
 Students will write a lab report to communicate their results of several water quality tests.
Essential Questions:
1. How do ecological disruptions
impact the way an ecosystem
2. What is the global state of
3. What is the relationship between
science and creativity?
Enduring Understandings:
1. Ecology describes the function of entire ecosystems, changing
one component has an effect on the system as a whole. An
understanding of chemical and physical properties can deepen
our understanding of the function of ecosystems.
2. Relevant data (algae lab, water quality lab, Google Earth) can
be used to demonstrate and indicate connections between
human activity and Earth systems.
3. Meaningful solutions often require creativity.
A. Earth Spheres
 Biosphere, Lithosphere,
Atmosphere, Hydrosphere
 Contents and Connections
A. Draw and explain flow charts relating Earth spheres. Students
explain relationships between each sphere as well as give an
example of a system within each sphere. Students relate a sense of
system layering by describing connections both between and within
the spheres.
B. Ecosystem Components/Interrelation
B1.Identify biotic and abiotic components within a given ecosystem
 Abiotic and Biotic factors
utilizing printed pictures, local environ, or web images.
 Phosphorus and nitrogen cycles
 Energy transfer
B2. Practice reading complex texts to identify main ideas and
supporting evidence. Text meets criteria of deepening
C. Eutrophication
understanding of nitrogen and phosphorous cycles as well as
 Stages of an algal bloom
provide to real-life problem solving.
 Resultant depletion of dissolved
oxygen is due to algal
C1. Design, carry out and analyze a laboratory experiment relating
decomposition by bacteria
nutrient intake and algal growth. Students will communicate
 Human activities that impact
understanding of scientific processes through writing.
nutrient levels
D. Problem solving requires a
structured approach.
 Identify the problem
 State what you know
C2. Construct flow charts to describe interrelationships related to
eutrophication. Explore various ways to map information visually
for review.
C3. Make a claim and support it with evidence from a researched
State what you need to find out
Research, reflect, experiment
Creatively develop a solution
E. Global perspective and technology
of Google Earth
source. Students prove whether bacteria or algae are responsible
for dissolved oxygen depletion.
D. Problem solving is implemented as an introduction,
experimentation, and application. Structure is open ended for
student choice and creativity.
Assessment Evidence
Formative Assessments:
 Small group drawing and explanation
of eutrophication, the
nitrogen/phosphorous cycles.
 Categorizing and sequencing activities
related to abiotic/biotic factors and the
process of an algal bloom.
 Teacher observation and feedback to
deepen student understanding of
ecosystem processes, constructing
flow charts
 Rational problem solving approach
that indicates an application of
foundational knowledge.
Summative Assessment:
 Design, experiment, analyze, and communicate the use
of the scientific process in a formal lab write-up to
explore the relationship between nutrients and algal
 Written unit test including flow chart completion to
demonstrate system interactions (nutrient cycles and
 Students write a description of the process of
eutrophication identifying factors and explaining
interrelations. Either developed as blog post or loaded
onto their webpage
 Presentation of global status of eutrophication with
Google Earth
Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria
Algal Bloom
Applicable Chapters in Ecology and the Environment:
- Unit 1, Lessons 1 and 2: Intro to Ecology and Roles in Energy Transfer
- Unit 2 Lesson 2 and 3: Aquatic Ecosystems and Energy and Matter in Ecosystems
- P. 102: change in ecosystem
- P. 120: human effect on freshwater
- P. 210 Human Impact on water
- Water quality w/ focus on D.O., P, N
- Algae growing lab, comparison in connection to presence of nutrients
- Create and analyze an ecosystem
Collaboration and verbal reinforcement w/ diagraming
L1. What is environmental science? Pre-write to a wordle
L2. Statement of problem (“In a nearby body of water, several fish have been found dead.” What is the cause?
What could be a solution? (Why did you choose that body of water, what is the most likely scenario in terms
of cause and solution)
L3. Earth Sphere Jigsaw: Small groups per sphere, rotate through reading from science fusion (The Dynamic
Earth), visiting the blendspace on their sphere, science fusion interactive on their sphere.
Hmwk: be prepared to explain your sphere to a new group
L4. Jigsaw into groups to share about each sphere. Predict interactions between the spheres, reading from
science fusion Dynamic Earth about sphere interactions
Hmwk: use lucidchart to develop a earth spheres flow chart
L5-6. Active Reading: Introduction to Ecology in science fusion (Ecology and The Environment)
L7. Biotic and Abiotic factors class notes and discussion
Hmwk: identifying biotic and abiotic factors with a google presentation
L8. Active Reading: Roles in Energy transfer
Hmwk: continue to reading
L9. Science fusion interactive on roles in energy transfer
Hmwk: make a lucidchart diagram of your ecosystem (Pond, mountain, alpine, coral, marine,
intertidal/shoreline, desert, rainforest, river)
L10. Introduce Eutrophication with a google doc collaboration on the healthy pond question. 2 Images given:
Which body of water is more healthy? Why/ What observations lead you to that conclusion? What might have
changed to create the situation in the unhealthy pond? What are the potential results if this trend continues?
Hmwk: eutrophication blendspace
L11. Stages of eutrophication diagram notes
L12. Review eutrophication, preparation for water quality comparison lab
L13-15. Site visit and lab completion
L16. Eutrophication sequencing activity (students place pictures of the stages of eutrophication in order),
Introduction to cycles: water and nitrogen. Reading p. 92-95 in Science fusion
Hmwk: nitrogen blendspace
L17. ThinkCentral interactive Slides 1, 5-6 to reinforce N cycle and introduce P cycle. Draw a nitrogen cycle
in small groups
Hmwk: phosphorous blendspace, create a diagram of the phosphorous cycle
L18. Reconfigure P, N diagrams into the Earth Spheres visual, read complex text to practice and reinforce
Hmwk: re-reading activity with Qs
L19. Apply knowledge of eutrophication to the New Orleans case study – problem solving structure is
Hmwk: create a eutrophication study tool: choose from blendspace, lucid chart, paper: demonstrate
L20. Class share of study tools, developing the eutrophication flow chart
Hmwk: provide unit study guide, active reading p. 102, 110-111, 120, 210
L21. Global exploration of eutrophication, causes and states of eutrophication worldwide via online videos and
the interactive eutrophication map http://www.wri.org/project/eutrophication
Hmwk: unit study guide
L22-24. Question period to revise and finalize the study guide. Review period with jeopardy. Unit Assessment
** ideas not implemented: algae growing lab, ecosystem design, 3D model, creation of google earth
eutrophication tour, current events of recent algal blooms
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