In the ESP’s Ecosystems and Habitats
unit, students learn about the ecosystems and habitats of their
schoolyard and local areas in New York State. Students take on the role
of ecologist and land developer by studying the schoolyard ecosystem
and then working with a team of students to develop that parcel of land
with as little impact on the ecosystem as possible. Students learn
about the SEQR Act and Environmental Impact Statements that are used
daily by real-life land developers and architects. They, in turn, apply
their knowledge to their own development project. The concepts of
community and populations are emphasized through exploration of food
chains/ food webs, ecosystem cycles, (water, carbon, nitrogen),
photosynthesis and decomposition. Students also explore the various
biomes around the world through research and presentation of
information. Students develop a sense of stewardship and an
understanding of the human impact on the environment.
The Neok12 website
provides a variety of resources that can be used throughout this unit.
There are videos that provide examples of the words species,
population, community, and ecosystem. Quizzes and games are also
provided on this website to support this unit.
The Windows on the World website
contains a video from NBC Learn called the “Changing Planet:
Adaptation of Species.” This site addresses the rising temperatures of
the Earth due to rising levels of greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere. The video explains how species may not be able to
adapt to this temperature change, in particular, butterfly populations.
Butterflies are extremely sensitive to these climate changes.
National Geographic provides “quick flicks” on their website. In this video, Tim and Moby give some good information on food chains.
The EekoWorld website
gives students a background on the different biomes using characters
that live in each biome. It also encourages students to take care of
More information about the world biomes can be found from the Missouri Botanical Garden website.
The New York State Department of Conservation website
has everything you need to know about the natural environments of New
York, including information on the SEQR Act and Environmental Impact
The U.S. Geological Survey website provides information about the natural environments around the United States.
This TED Ed video
- “Symbiosis: A Surprising Tale of Species Cooperation" - gives an
example of mutualistic symbiosis between the Clark's nutcracker and the
Sample websites students can use to research their biome:
Sample Environmental Impact Statements to be used in Activity 13:
- See related files below to access these samples