1. The program begins with a brief introduction of Southeast Arizona National Parks and the presenting ranger.
2. We then discuss what an ecosystem is and some of the biotic and abiotic factors within them.
3. Next, we break biotic factors down into producers, consumers, and decomposers.
4. Then we explore ecosystems of southeast Arizona and the plants and animals one may find there.
5. Depending on the age group, participants will have the opportunity to design and draw their own ecosystem, or to see what happens when a keystone species is removed by discussing a real case study involving kangaroo rats.
6. Remaining time is allowed for questions and answers.
In this program, participants will:
- Be able to define what an ecosystem is
- Compare and contrast biotic and abiotic factors
- Identify producers, consumers, and decomposers
- Learn what can be found in some of the ecosystems of southeast Arizona
- Discover how energy flows from the sun to and among living organisms via food chains and food
Next Generation Science Standards
3-LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
5-LS1-1 Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment
MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
MS-LS2-3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Arizona State Science Standards
3.L1U1.7 Develop and use models to describe the flow of energy from the Sun to and among living organisms
3.L2U1.8 Construct an argument from evidence that organisms are interdependent
4.L4U1.11 Analyze and interpret environmental data to demonstrate that species either adapt and survive or go extinct over time
5.L3U1.10 Construct an explanation based on evidence that the changes in an environment can affect the development of the traits in a population of organisms
5.L4U3.11 Obtain, evaluate, and communicate evidence about how natural and human-caused changes to habitats or climate can impact populations
6.L2U1.13 Develop and use models to demonstrate the interdependence of organism and their environment including biotic and abiotic factors
6.L2U3.12 Engage in argument from evidence to support a claim about the factors that cause species to change and how people can impact those factors
6.L2U3.11 Use evidence to construct an argument regarding the impact of human activities on the environment and how they positively and negatively affect the competition for energy and resources in ecosystems