# Ecological Pyramids - Michigan Agriscience Curriculum Homepage

AGRISCIENCE AND NATURAL RESOURCES EDUCATION CURRICULUM
(1000) Curriculum area: Natural Resources
(1010) Unit: Ecosystem Processes
Sarah Barry
Topic (1015): Energy Flow
Topic Objectives: Upon completion of this lesson, the student will be able to:
Topic 1015A: Describe the cycling of matter and the movement and
change of energy. through the ecosystem (for example,
some energy dissipates as heat as it is transferred through a
food web.
1015B: Describe the flow of energy in a natural ecosystem using
the laws of thermodynamics.
1015C: Given a Michigan ecosystem, diagram the specifics of
energy flow, describing accurately at least some of the
actual species involved in these processes and their roles.
1015D: Describe how only a fraction of the available energy is
used for growth and incorporated in the plant or animal
itself at each stage of the food web.
XXXX: Students will be able to explain the relationship
between the Pyramid of Numbers and the Pyramid of
Biomass.
XXXX: Students will have the opportunity to examine and be
able to calculate the area of a topographic map.
XXXX: Students will understand how much land area is need
to support life at each level of the food chain.
Time Frame: approx. 50 min.
Materials/Equipment:
Lab sheets (Appendix A)
Powerpoint
References:
1.
2.
MSU Agriscience Web site www.agriscience.msu.edu
Pennsylvania State University http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/
Teaching Procedure:
A.
Interest Approach: Discuss Michigan ecosystems and how they get energy.
B.
Teaching Steps:
1. Explain the Pyramid of Numbers. The Pyramid of Numbers defines the
feeding relationships in an ecosystem.
2. Explain the Pyramid of Biomass. (Biomass - the total dry weight of all
the organisms at a given level).
3. Read the entire activity before getting started:
1. Break the class into small group with no more than four people
per group. Give each group their lab sheets and topographic maps.
2. Answer #1- 4.8 can round to 5 Answer #2- 15 deer Answer #375 square miles for each mountain lion.
3. Using the answer from problem #3 and the topographic map,
determine how large an area the maps in each group encompasses.
Help students read the scale of the map to calculate the area. Once
that is completed, answer questions 1-7.
C.
Review
1.
Review the definitions of the pyramid of numbers and biomass.
Have the students relate those definitions to the problem at
hand.
D.
Evaluation:
1. Use the lab sheet as an assessment tool. Also have the students draw a
pyramid of numbers and pyramid of biomass by following the given
assumptions.