Read Microsoft Word - MYP 4 Sciences Biology _Ecosystems_.doc text version

MYP unit planner

Unit title

Teacher(s) Subject and grade level Time frame and duration MYP Year 4 2 months ­ late April to early June

Brick by Brick

Stage 1: Integrate significant concept, area of interaction and unit question

Area of interaction focus

Which area of interaction will be our focus? Why have we chosen this?

Significant concept(s)

What are the big ideas? What do we want our students to retain for years into the future?

Environments: Students will become aware of their interdependence with the world. Students will appreciate how they can affect local ecosystems, and how local ecosystems can affect them.

Ecosystems can be both fragile and resilient. With even modest efforts, disturbed ecosystems can be restored.

MYP unit question

How Tough is Mother Nature?


What task(s) will allow students the opportunity to respond to the unit question? What will constitute acceptable evidence of understanding? How will students show what they have understood?

1) Students will evaluate the impact of the organization BRICKWORKS on mitigating the environmental degradation of a disturbed ecosystem ­ from quarry to wetland, managed forest and meadow. Students will carry out a scientific investigation of their own design which compares measured biotic and abiotic factors from three sites ­ a "pristine" area (St. Clair Reservoir), a "rehabilitated" site (BRICKWORKS), and a "disturbed" ecosystem (Don River). Students will collect data from three sites and process and report these in a way which showcases any significant differences ­ keeping in mind that all three are loosely connected in the same watershed. Students will need to create a detailed plan with special emphasis on the difficulties of controlling variables in a field study. Students will need to evaluate their method and report any errors while considering improvements. Students will reflect on the unit question as part of their conclusion.* 2) Students will write a one world essay from two possible choices of topic: i) "How green are green fuels?", which explores the environmental, economic, and political aspects of the push to produce ethanol and its impact upon the nitrogen AND carbon cycles (eutrophication and alleged greenhouse gas reductions) ii) "How effective is carbon trading?", which explores the environmental, economic, political and ethical aspects of the Kyoto Protocol and the effectiveness of carbon trading on greenhouse gas

emissions and the carbon cycle. 3) Unit test ­ major topics include: biospheres; photosynthesis and cellular respiration; food chains; webs and pyramids; bioaccumulation; abiotic and biotic factors; species interactions; nutrient cycles; fertilizers and eutrophication; population growth; biodiversity ­ how we value it, how we destroy it, species at risk (from endangered to extinction), invasive species; pollution ­ oil spills, acid rain, plastics.

Which specific MYP objectives will be addressed during this unit?

A: One World ! Describe and evaluate the benefits and limitations of science and scientific applications, as well as their effect on life and society ! Discuss how science and technology are interdependent and assist each other in the development of technological applications, and how they interact with social, economic, environmental, and ethical factors B: Communication in Science ! Communicate scientific information using a range of scientific language and appropriate modes of communication, and present scientific information in a variety of formats, acknowledging sources as appropriate ! Demonstrate honesty when handling data and information and use a range of ICT applications to access, process, and communicate them C: Knowledge and Understanding of Science ! Recognize and recall, explain and apply, analyse, discuss and evaluate scientific information D: Scientific Inquiry ! Define the problem or research question to be tested by a scientific investigation, include variables and controls, materials/equipment, a method to be followed, data to be collected and suggestions for its analysis ! Formulate a hypothesis and explain it using logical scientific reasoning ! Evaluate the method, commenting on its reliability and suggest improvements E: Processing Data ! Collect and record data using appropriate units of measurement ! Organize and transform data into numerical and diagrammatic forms, including mathematical calculations and visual representation ! Present data in a variety of ways using appropriate communication modes and conventions ! Analyse and interpret data by identifying trends, patterns and relationships ! Draw conclusions supported by scientific explanations and a reasoned interpretation of the analysis of the data F: Attitudes in Science ! Carry out scientific investigations using materials and techniques safely and skillfully ! Work effectively as members of a team, collaborating, acknowledging and supporting others, as well as ensuring a safe working environment, showing respect for themselves and others

Which MYP assessment criteria will be used?

A, B ­ one world essay ­ How Green Are Green Fuels? ­ Ethanol and the Nitrogen Cycle or Trading Green for Green ­ Climate Change and Carbon Trading C ­ unit test ­ Ecosystems D, E, F ­ field study ­ How Tough is Mother Nature?

Stage 2: Backward planning: from the assessment to the learning activities through inquiry


What knowledge and/or skills (from the course overview) are going to be used to enable the student to respond to the unit

question? What (if any) state, provincial, district, or local standards/skills are to be addressed? How can they be unpacked to develop the significant concept(s) for stage 1?

Knowledge and Skills: Students will need to identify relevant biotic and abiotic factors in the three communities. Students will have to use appropriate equipment/sampling techniques to collect relevant data. Students will need to display/present data in a meaningful way to show contrasts between communities. Students will evaluate the impact of human intervention on the relative health of the community (How tough is mother nature?). Ontario Ministry of Education Standards B1.1 Assess, on the basis of research, the impact of a factor related to human activity (e.g.,sprawl, introduction of invasive species, overhunting/overfishing) that threatens the sustainability of a terrestrial or aquatic ecosystem [IP, PR, AI, C]. B1.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of government initiatives in Canada and/or the efforts of societal groups or non-governmental organizations, with respect to an environmental issue that affects the sustainability of terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems [AI, C]. B2.1 Use appropriate terminology related to sustainable ecosystems, including, but not limited to: bioaccumulation, biosphere, diversity, ecosystem, equilibrium, sustainability, sustainable use, protection, and watershed [C]. B2.2 Interpret qualitative and quantitative data from undisturbed and disturbed ecosystems (terrestrial and/or aquatic), communicate the results graphically, and, extrapolating from the data, explain the importance of biodiversity for all sustainable ecosystems [PR, AI, C]. B2.3 Plan and conduct an investigation, involving both inquiry and research, into how a human activity affects soil composition or soil fertility and, extrapolating from the data and information gathered, explain the impact of this activity on the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems [IP, PR, AI, C]. B2.4 Plan and conduct an investigation, involving both inquiry and research, into how a human activity affects water quality and, extrapolating from the data and information gathered, explain the impact of this activity on the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems [IP, PR, AI, C]. B2.5 Analyse the effect of human activity on the populations of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by interpreting data and generating graphs [PR, AI, C]. B3.1 Compare and contrast biotic and abiotic characteristics of sustainable and unsustainable terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. B3.2 Describe the complementary processes of cellular respiration and photosynthesis with respect to the flow of energy and the cycling of matter within ecosystems and explain how human activities can disrupt the balance achieved by these processes. B3.3 Describe the limiting factors of ecosystems and explain how these factors affect the carrying capacity of an ecosystem. B3.4 Identify the earth's four spheres (biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere) and describe the relationship that must exist between these spheres if diversity and sustainability are to be maintained. B3.5 Identify various factors related to human activity that have an impact on ecosystems and explain how these factors affect the equilibrium and survival of ecosystems.

Approaches to learning

How will this unit contribute to the overall development of subject-specific and general approaches to learning skills?

Transfer Making connections ­ including using knowledge, understanding and skills across subjects to create products or solutions, applying skills and knowledge in unfamiliar situations. The theme of resilience

is being explored in Language A and the notion of the BRICKWORKS contributing to the health of the city in its role as water treatment facility, carbon sink, and island of biodiversity, along with its historical contribution as the supplier of raw materials for the majority of Toronto's old buildings.

Learning experiences

How will students know what is expected of them? Will they see examples, rubrics, templates? How will students acquire the knowledge and practise the skills required? How will they practise applying these? Do the students have enough prior knowledge? How will we know?

Teaching strategies

How will we use formative assessment to give students feedback during the unit? What different teaching methodologies will we employ? How are we differentiating teaching and learning for all? How have we made provision for those learning in a language other than their mother tongue? How have we considered those with special educational needs?

Expectations: Scientific investigation: Students are expected to carry out a scientific investigation of their own design which compares measured biotic and abiotic factors from three sites ­ a "pristine" area, a "rehabilitated" site and a "disturbed" ecosystem. Students will receive assessment rubrics that will communicate the specific expectations of the task. Students also are provided with a checklist and the task is preceded by modelled use of sensors and methods of collecting abiotic and biotic factors. Brainstorming sessions will allow for limited guidance to prevent overly ambitious investigations or investigations that might be unsafe or likely to result in poor data. An exemplar of data collection and presentation from a Y5 lab will be posted on blackboard for their perusal. The one world essay is presented with a rubric, along with a checklist of open-ended points for their consideration to help scaffold student writing. Starter websites for general knowledge on the topics (pros and cons) are included to kick start the research process. The unit test is preceded by an explanation of the different levels of questioning involved in MYP testing. Group review via a wiki that students contribute to is encouraged. Formative assessments in the form of quizzes also precede the test. Learning Experiences: Wiki page ­ definitions of common ecological terms, students contribute. Will form basis of review sheets. Food web activity ­ in groups, students will create food webs for a chapparal ecosystem. Discussion on how to deal with organisms that belong to different trophic levels. Abiotic/biotic factors comparison worksheet ­ scaffolded questioning of real data collected from a wild meadow and a city park. Introduces

Formative Assessment i) ii) iii) iv) Assess labs leading up to planning lab for key elements ­ feedback Quizzes See visible thinking routines below (informal assessment) Give feedback on data collected when modelling use of sensors and sampling techniques Lecture/Notes Inquiry ­ questioning, critical thinking, problem solving Project-based learning ­ focused on developing a product, solving hands-on, real-world problems Resource-based learning ­ have learners select resources from a wide range of materials. They are responsible for selecting resources and using a wide range of materials to investigate subject material. Collaborative learning ­ learners placed in groups or pairs for the purpose of achieving a common academic goal Constructivism ­ teachers focus on openended questions and promote extensive dialogue among learners. Learners are encouraged to analyse, interpret, and predict information. Identifying and correcting misconceptions ­ algae use up oxygen during eutrophication; global warming is caused by ozone depletion; humans are not a part of the web of life, they control it; fossil fuel combustion is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions globally; there is nothing we can do to reverse/slow down climate change, etc. Offering choice in A, B essay ­ carbon

Teaching Methods i) ii) iii)




Differentiated Instruction i)


concept of % difference. Video presentations of carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle applications, global warming and eutrophication. WebQuest- activities based on websites highlighting aspects of energy pyramids, carbon and nitrogen cycles, abiotic and biotic factors, and ecosystem simulations. Investigation ­ factors affecting cellular respiration and photosynthesis using yeast and elodea. Skill building/Investigation ­ sampling techniques, vernier sensors and analog probes (dissolved oxygen, pH, anemometer, hygrometer, soil and water temperature, flow rate sensors, light meters, turbidity), as well as triangulation for tree height, chest-high diameter of trees, quadrat sampling, aquatic sampling, etc. Field study: See description of culminating task. Research: Preparation for one world essay. Video presentation: Species interactions ­ commensalism (anemone and clownfish), mutualism (caterpillar and ant), predation (eagle vs. goat), parasitism (fluke and snail). Graphing/data processing: Plotting growth curves of bacterial growth through all phases (sigmoid). Discussion: Anthropocentric vs. intrinsic value systems as they pertain to biodiversity (see the Da Versity Code video). What role do humans play in the destruction of the priory of species? Are we really "above it all" or are we connected to the web of life? Video presentation ­ acid rain, plastics, oil spills. Discussion: Bioaccumulation and plastics in the Great Pacific Gyre ­ How are we contributing to the problem? iii)

offsets essay or eutrophication essay Offering choice in D, E, F planning lab. Students can choose which abiotic or biotic factors they will compare and contrast between the three communities. Offering choice in unit test ­ level 5/6 questions Monitoring progress with visible thinking routines a) Headlines ­ Students write a headline based on the main concept delivered; teacher checks for understanding. Celebrate exemplars. If common misconceptions are present, revisit the method of delivery or highlight aspects which need to be reinforced/corrected. b) 3-2-1 Bridge ­ Students respond initially to a topic with three thoughts/ideas, two questions, and one analogy. Once the topic has been completed students repeat the exercise. They then BRIDGE the two sets of responses and identify connections/changes between the two. c) Connect, Extend, Challenge ­ A routine for connecting new ideas to prior knowledge. How are the new ideas connected to what students already know? What new ideas did students find that extended or pushed their thinking in new directions? What is still challenging or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions do you now have?

iv) v)


What resources are available to us? How will our classroom environment, local environment and/or the community be used to facilitate students' experiences during the unit?

Sensors ­ dissolved oxygen, temperature, anemometers, light meters, quadrats, pH meters, etc - Brickworks Evergreen Website Text: Science 9 ­ Nelson. 2008 Webquest sites: - food chains/energetics - nitrogen cycle on a beef farm - carbon cycle movie - Abiotic/biotic factors review - Ecosystem simulation Biodiversity:

Ongoing reflections and evaluation

In keeping an ongoing record, consider the following questions. There are further stimulus questions at the end of the "Planning for teaching and learning" section of MYP: From principles into practice.

Students and teachers

What did we find compelling? Were our disciplinary knowledge/skills challenged in any way? What inquiries arose during the learning? What, if any, extension activities arose? How did we reflect--both on the unit and on our own learning? Which attributes of the learner profile were encouraged through this unit? What opportunities were there for student-initiated action?

Possible connections

How successful was the collaboration with other teachers within my subject group and from other subject groups? What interdisciplinary understandings were or could be forged through collaboration with other subjects?


Were students able to demonstrate their learning? How did the assessment tasks allow students to demonstrate the learning objectives identified for this unit? How did I make sure students were invited to achieve at all levels of the criteria descriptors? Are we prepared for the next stage?

Data collection

How did we decide on the data to collect? Was it useful?

First run-through, new curriculum. To be updated in June 2010. Student-initiated action: The hope is to foster a sense of stewardship ­ that small individual actions are all that is needed to bring about major change. The BRICKWORKS has rehabilitated itself, it just needed the help of an organization committed to preventing development and some initial planning for maximizing the speed of recovery. Discussions of plastic pollution, ethanol production and carbon trading should provide opportunities for lifestyle changes and discussions around the dinner table at home. Possible connections: The theme of resilience is being explored in Language A with a novel study of Crow Lake and the notion of the BRICKWORKS contributing to the health of the city in its role as water treatment facility, carbon sink, and island of biodiversity, along with its historical contribution as the supplier of raw materials for the majority of Toronto's old buildings (History connection)!


Microsoft Word - MYP 4 Sciences Biology _Ecosystems_.doc

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