Middle School: Disruptions in Ecosystems

Listings > Middle School: Disruptions in Ecosystems

The unit was developed as part of a collaborative project funded by the National Science Foundation to develop and evaluate a model instructional unit and professional development program and conduct research on teacher learning. The project partners are the American Museum of Natural History (lead partner, also leading the professional development), The Lawrence Hall of Science's SEPUP Program (instructional materials lead), and the University of Connecticut (research). The unit has undergone two rounds of classroom field-testing and expert review. It is currently undergoing a third field-test during the 2017­–2018 school year. Based on this field-test and feedback from the EQuIP review, the unit will be revised and resubmitted for a final review in 2018. 

Rating: Examples of High Quality NGSS Design if Improved

Science Discipline: Life Science

Length: Unit

This middle school unit was designed to support the middle school NGSS related to Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics integrated with elements of related Earth science NGSS (Human Impact). The unit includes five chapters, each focused on a specific phenomenon related to ecosystem disruption, including questions around the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and the invasion of zebra mussels in the Great Lakes and the Hudson River. © Regents of the University of California

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Comment list iconReviews & Questions

volcsand
What standards does this Unit hit? And the other units?
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Achieve Admin
Sorry for the delayed response! All of the PEs and elements within the foundation boxes on the MS-LS2 standards page are targeted, along with MS-ESS3-3 and MS-ESS3-4 (and related elements from all three dimensions). Hope that helps!
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Thanks. And after I downloaded and opened up the materials I found the standards.
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Julia
I have teachers who would like to teach this unit, but the handouts for Chapter 4 are missing. Any idea how to get those?
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Achieve Admin
Hi Julia, I've added the Chapter 4 handouts to the zip drive linked above. You should be able to find them in there now! Let us know if you have any trouble. Thank you!
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Achieve Admin
If anybody is having a hard time accessing videos in this unit, here are some alternative links for a couple: Grizzlies and Wolves Compete via National Geographic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeF25GJleA8 Symbiosis: Mutualism, Commensalism, and Parasitism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSmL2F1t81Q
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Dora Kastel
Video of all six Chapter 1 lessons can be found on the Teaching Channel. The series begins here https://www.teachingchannel.org/video/ecosystems-ngss-unit-overview.
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KUss
The teaching channel link doesn't work. It says "the dog ate it."
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Achieve Admin
Make sure you try it without the period! https://www.teachingchannel.org/video/ecosystems-ngss-unit-overview
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Carrie
I have been using this material with my 7th grade science students. I have been having trouble finding a lot of mistakes. Are there plans to update the curriculum and fix the mistakes?
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Achieve Admin
Hi Carrie, can you give some examples of the mistakes you're finding? Thanks!
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Carrie
Here are several examples from Chapter 2: p. 63 Analysis Question #1 - "food web or food web"? Should it be "food chain or food web"? p. 67 Analysis Question 2 - the description is about a landslide, but then the question is about an ash cloud. Also the question, says "flow of matter" and "cycling of energy". It should be flow of energy and cycling of matter.
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Achieve Admin
Thanks Carrie! There are no plans to update this yet, but these are definitely good things to be aware of. We appreciate you letting us (and other users) know!
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djohnson
Do all 5 chapters need to be taught or can each chapter stand alone? Are there chapters that are pre-requisites to others?
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Achieve Admin
Hi Djohnson, Thanks for the question! These chapters are intended to be taught together and in the order they're presented in. They build on each other purposefully. Hope that helps!
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djohnson
Yes, that's very helpful. Thank you for the speedy reply!
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Carrie
I am trying to access the video link at the beginning of Ch. 4 - I have clicked the link in the teacher materials for Ch. 4 and I get this message "YOU'VE DISCOVERED A NEW SPECIES! Pagus notfoundii Please try the navigation or search above, or start from the homepage." on the American Museum of Natural History's webpage. Please help me find the correct video on their page.
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Achieve Admin
Hi Carrie, Sorry for the delayed response. Are you trying to find the video clip, The Problem? If so, you can find it here: https://www.amnh.org/learn-teach/curriculum-collections/river-ecology/curricular-materials. If you ever have problems finding videos, googling the video title with AMNH can often help find the correct webpage. Hope that helps!
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Karen
On page 98 in the teacher guide, it references a handout for students to facilitate discussion. It's called "Developing Communication Skills" and is supposed to be a in "Teacher Resources" section. I can't find this section or this document. Ideas on where it's located?
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Achieve Admin
Hi Karen, Based on the description of "sentence starters", it might be referring to the "Argument Tool" in the "Tools_rubrics (explanation and argument)" folder. Does that seem right?
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Karen
It does not appear so, as that is just a sheet for them to fill out when arguing two different claims and having scientific evidence to back it up. It's much like the Scientific explanation tool, but for two claims instead of one. I think this document is supposed to be more like how to have students discuss with each other, not necessarily argue to sides.
Grade
7
Class Size
25
School Setting
Suburban
Achieve Admin
Ah -- sorry I can't be more helpful! I'd recommend reaching out directly to the developer (SEPUP, Lawrence Hall of Science) of this unit to see if they can point you in the right direction. You can reach them at sepup@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-8718.
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lisij
I'm currently using the resources in the zip file with my 6th grade class. I'm wondering if it is possible to buy copies of the student book as it can be difficult at times working from a digital file. I'm interested in buying two class sets to share among 6 classes.
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Hi Lisij, I would encourage you to reach out directly to the developer (SEPUP, Lawrence Hall of Science) of this unit to see if they're selling physical copies. You can reach them at sepup@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-8718. Hope that helps!
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Karen
We had them sent off to a print center for students who have hard copy of notes in their IEP or 504s. Otherwise, they use digital and can print at home (we do one chapter at a time, so it's not overwhelming).
Grade
7
Class Size
25
School Setting
Suburban
Was this material easy to implement?
5
Were the students engaged in this material?
5
Was this material appropriate for diverse learners?
5
Mins:
45
Write a review of the materials
Engaging, exciting materials, that requires all students to think at a high-level. Really encourages group work and discussion.
Make a suggestion
Preview materials - there are many typos and easy to catch errors.
Karen
I am having difficulty opening up the lessons for Wolves in Yellowstone. I can get the lesson break down, but can't open it.
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R. West
On Chapter 3 lesson 2, are the activity cards for Games A and B all supposed to say the same things? Looks like all "character cards" for A are "You captain an ocean trawler..." and B are "you are a line fisher..."
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K. Belasco
Is there a pacing guide included in the teacher resources for this unit? I looked but couldn't seem to find one.
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Unfortunately, we don't have any materials beyond what is included in the zip folder. Apologies!
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SLT
Have the materials been translated to other languages?
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Achieve Admin
The materials have not been translated into other languages that we know of. Sorry I can't be more helpful!
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Debra
Disruptions in Ecosystems Chapter 1 - Investigation 1.1 states that "Students read and discuss the story of wolves in Yellowstone". The text in the Student Book" . Where is this book found? I've downloaded the unit and all of the handouts, I did not find an article or a book title for this section. What is the name of the article, can I find it on the internet, or do I have to purchase a particular book?
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Grade
10
Class Size
30
School Setting
Urban
Was this material easy to implement?
5
Were the students engaged in this material?
5
Was this material appropriate for diverse learners?
5
Hrs:
8
Write a review of the materials
I have pretty much finished using chapters 1 and 2 with my urban Phoenix 10th-grade biology students. They are often not familiar with, interested in, or engaged with the ecology scenarios I have shared with them in the past. They have been engaged and interested in these materials. Only two of my 150 students have been to Yellowstone. I use this to introduce all of my students to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem at the same time, putting all of my students on equal footing. Yellowstone National Park, among other sources, has a plethora of resources to share with our students and draw them in. The arrangement of concepts in chapters 1 and 2 confused me at first. As I assimilated how the materials are arranged, they make good sense. It works for my students.
Make a suggestion
I have a number of suggestions beginning with the choices of organisms in the food chain. I lived and worked in the GYE for nine years. There are more realistic and useful food chains you could introduce and utilize. Are you interested? I have many ideas.
smaurice
Many of the links provided are not working links. Can these please be updated?
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Achieve Admin
Hi Smaurice, Sorry to hear that. We do hope to post an updated version of this unit soon! In the meantime, I'd recommend reaching out directly to the developer (SEPUP, Lawrence Hall of Science) of this unit to see if they can point you to some updated links. You can reach them at sepup@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-8718.
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