Backyard Ecosystem

Content Standards

Explain the parts of a simple system, their roles, and their relationships to the system as a whole.

Explain the concept of order in a system (e.g., first to last manufacturing steps; trophic levels; simple to complex—levels of biological organization from cell to organism).

Pennsylvania Department of Education standards SAS Standards Aligned System Grade Seven


Creativity and innovation

Communication and collaboration

Research and information fluency

Critical thinking, problem-solving, & decision-making

Digital citizenship

Instructional Objective(s)

Students will identify multiple living and nonliving things that contribute to the local ecosystem.

Students will be expected to create concept maps of how these things are interrelated.

Students will be expected to use a digital camera, or smart phones to record data and a computer to upload their data to the Project Noah site.

Summary of the Activity

First students will sign into the Project Noah website; after that, students will create a mission. Next students will go out into the field and take pictures of insects, animals, and plants in their local ecosystem and upload them to their mission site. While uploading their photos students will assign it to the teacher's class mission. The students will be prompt to add the location where they spotted it, put in the species name if they know it, the habitat and the trophic levels. If they do not know the species name they can identify as a unknown spot or they can ask the project Noah community to help identify it. However, if students have a smart phone they can down load the Noah app project for free and take pictures out in the field and post them instantly. Once students have use project Noah to help collect, organize and identify their photo's students will use the pictures to create a concept map. The concept map of their ecosystem. This map will include clear labels, arrows indicating energy flow and the food chains.

Evaluation Plan for Students

I will walk around the classroom to make sure that students are uploading animals, outdoor nature, and organism’s photos to the Project Noah site. Also, I will make sure that students are identifying living things they found in the field. Because some organisms, like a cardinal, might be easier to identify whereas others, like certain types of plants or birds, might be more challenging. This is why I will make sure that they are getting help from project Noah community members in identifying those unknown species.

Then I will circle around the classroom and observe all students ecosystem concept maps to see if students have included the predator/prey relationships, different trophic levels, printed photographs, made clear labels, and made arrows that indicates the energy flow on their large poster board paper or on the computer.

Also, students will turn in a backyard ecosystem reflection paper for additional 25 points and on their concept maps I will give them a letter grade. At the end, I will be checking the Noah project website daily to see if any students made comments on their missions or posted Identifications on other’s missions and if students have responded to other’s missions then, I will assign those students ten extra points toward their final grade.

Lesson Reflections and Notes

I choose these applications so that students can utilize these technologies whenever and where ever they need it. The integration of these devices within an educational context makes learning relevant, interesting and engaging to students in any environment and at any time.