1. W540 Computers in the Curriculum
Global Awareness and Diverse Thinking
Your Name: Lauren Zoerhoff
ePortfolio URL: http://lzoerhoff.wix.com/eportfolio
Title Global Ecosystems and Human Impact
Overview In this lesson, students’ knowledge of community interactions will be reinforced by looking at
a real-life example. Students will choose an ecosystem from around the world and examine
the resources, energy transfer, symbiosis, niche, and predator-prey relationships found there.
Furthermore, students will examine how humans in that local community and/or around the
globe have impacted that ecosystem. In this lesson, students will play a review game that
reinforces the big ideas of the lesson, create a Glog that summarizes the niche and community
interactions found within a global ecosystem of their choice, and then work in a group to
create a public service announcement that raises awareness about human impacts on
ecosystems. The outcomes are for students to think critically to relate niche and community
relationships to a real-life example and collaborate with peers to share ideas and raise
awareness for a global issue. The 21 century theme addressed in this lesson plan is global
awareness and diverse thinking. It also emphasizes deep understanding rather than shallow
knowledge, integrates technology tools, uses real-world data, and engages students in solving
Resources & This lesson is intended for a 9 or 10 grade biology class. It is intended to to be
Preparation approximately 150 minutes long and take place near the end of an ecology unit so as to
reinforce and apply the big ideas from the unit.
Computer or tablet access for each student
Smartphone with video, camcorder, or webcam
Ecology Review Games
Glog assignment overview (rubric included)
PSA assignment overview (rubric included)
There should be a location where students can publish their glogs to that they can be viewed
by peers. This could be a school website/forum; otherwise, a Google document could be
created and each student could be given editing rights.
Theory to This lesson is designed to promote authentic, meaningful learning while also practicing and
Practice building 21 century skills by building technology skills, promoting collaboration, and
increasing global awareness. Students will be learning independently about ecosystem
dynamics by looking at real-world examples of ecosystems around the world. According to
Heidi Jacobs in her book, Curriculum 21, “As students take more ownership of their learning,
their interest in learning creates an inevitable desire to learn more” (Jacobs, 2010, p. 1867).
2. Furthermore, in his book, Who Owns the Learning, Alan November discusses the importance
of giving students work that allows them to make meaningful contributions (November, 2012).
As November puts it, “I realized that many students work harder to achieve a meaningful
purpose than to earn a grade” (November, 2012, p. 346). This theory is incorporated into this
lesson in that students will be creating public service announcements that will raise awareness
for an important issue relating to ecosystems and human impact. Finally, there is widespread
researching showing the efficacy of game-based learning, which is used in this lesson. In one
particular study, students were shown to be more engaged, more attentive, and more on-task
when participating in game-based learning compared to a control group (Schaff, 2012).
Standards Indiana State Standards:
B4.2 Describe how human activities and natural phenomena can change the flow of matter
and energy in an ecosystem and how those changes impact other species.
B4.4 Describe how climate, the pattern of matter and energy flow, the birth and death of
new organisms, and the interaction between those organisms contribute to the long term
stability of an ecosystem.
2a Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of
digital environments and media
2d Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems
Objectives Upon successful completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
Apply the principles of community interactions to real-world ecosystems
Explain several negative impacts of humans in the biosphere
Create an engaging and authentic public service announcement that raises awareness for
an important global issue
Build Inquiry To build inquiry, there is a video introduction from “Planet Earth” that looks at various
ecosystems around the world. A brief discussion is then conducted with students to
Instructional Session One
Delivery Introduction (10 min.)
1. Show students this introductory video that compiles various clips from “Planet Earth” and
looks at various ecosystems around the world.
2. As students to list various ecosystems around the world (using the video as a guide) and
compile the list on the board.
3. Ask students to compare some of the local ecosystems that they’ve studied to some of
these global ecosystems. Ask them what all ecosystems have in common? Compile this list on
the board and scaffold students to list items such as niche, symbiotic relationships, energy
flow, and predator-prey relationships.
3. Last, ask students to consider whether they think humans have had any impact on those
ecosystems. If so, how?
Content Reinforcement (15 min.)
Direct students to this website and have them play the first four levels of the Angry Aliens
ecology game. This reinforces the big ideas of ecology. Challenge them to get a perfect score
on all levels.
Application and Critical Thinking (25 min.)
1. Explain to students that they will be making an educational glog that analyzes the niche and
community relationships within a given ecosystem around the world. Explain to them that a
glog is an online poster where they can add text images, links, animations, and more. Explain
to them that once they create their glog, they will publish it to the web. Show them the
glogster website and a few examples so that they can see how the website works.
3. 2. Direct them to spend a few minutes researching different ecosystems around the world
(using the list written on the board as a guide) and to choose one ecosystem that they want to
examine further. While they search, handout the glog assignment overview.
3. Go through the glog assignment overview with students and field any questions they may
have. Give them the remainder of the period to conduct their research and begin putting their
HW: Finish making glog and publish. Post the link to your glog onto the class website (or
Google doc if there is not class website)
Sessions Two and Three
Content Reinforcement (15 min.)
Direct students to this website and have them play both levels of the Ecodetectives ecology
game. This reinforces ideas about how humans can impact the biosphere. Challenge them to
get a perfect score on both levels.
Application and Critical Thinking (65 min.)
1. Explain to students that they will be working in a group of three to create public service
announcements that raise awareness for the ways humans have negatively impacted an
ecosystem in another part of the world. Put students into groups.
2. Instruct the groups to look at each other’s glog’s from yesterday, as a group. Each person
should take turns showing the other two group mates his or her glog.
3. Instruct the group to spend several minutes discussing how humans have impacted the
ecosystems presented in the glogs, and have them choose one of these impacts to use as the
topic of their public service announcement. While they discuss, handout the PSA assignment
4. Go through the PSA assignment overview with students and field any questions they may
have. Explain to them that they will have the remainder of the period today to plan and
prepare their announcement and then they will have the majority of tomorrow’s class period
to create their announcements.
5. Give students the remainder of the period on day two and the first 30 minutes on day three
to work on their public service announcements.
Closure (20 min.)
1. As a class, listen to/watch each group’s announcement.
2. Ticket to Go: On an index card, have the students write the following: a) identify 3 factors
that are part of an organism’s niche b) in 10 words or less explain how energy flows through
an ecosystem c) list 3 ways humans have impacted the biosphere
Additional All resources are required as part of this lesson and are listed in the Resources and Preparation
Assessment Ecosystem Glog: Were students able to accurately represent the niche and community
relationships (energy flow, niches, symbiotic relationships, predator-prey relationships) in their
Public Service Announcement: Were students able to identify a way humans have negatively
impacted an ecosystem in another part of the world? Were students able to convey an
engaging and meaningful message in their announcement?
Ticket to Go: Were students able to identify factors that are part of an organism’s niche?
Were students able to represent the “10 percent rule” when explaining energy flow through
an ecosystem? Were students able to list several ways humans have impacted the biosphere?
4. Extension Challenge students to get their public service announcements broadcasted on the school
news, published to the school website, or have the audio played over the school
Citations Jacobs, H. H. (2010). Curriculum 21 essential education for a changing world. Alexandria, Va.:
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Kindle Edition.
November, A. C. (2012). Who owns the learning?: preparing students for success in the digital
age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Kindle Edition.
Schaaf, R. (2012). What are the Effects of Utilizing Digital Games During Instruction?. New
Horizons For Learning, 10(1). Retrieved October 18, 2012, from
Wolpert, H. (2012, April 26). Kids speak out on student engagement. K-12 Education & learning
innovations with proven strategies that work. Edutopia. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from