Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms and nonliving components sharing the environment. Here’s an equation to help kids remember: living organism + nonliving component = ecosystem.
There are two main types of ecosystems in our world: water-based and land-based. Water-based ecosystems are categorized by salt water (marine) or freshwater characteristics. Marine ecosystems include: oceans, salt marsh, estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, deep sea. Freshwater ecosystems include: lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, springs and wetlands. Land-based ecosystems include: forests, tropical rainforests, grasslands and savannas, mountains and tundras, caves, deserts, and urban (cities and towns).
Ecosystems: Science based approach
Classification ~ Offer a brief overview of the water-based and land-based ecosystems to develop accurate classification by type.
Where Does It Belong? ~ Using pictures or cutouts of various animal/fish/bird/insect/reptile, etc. and ecosystems, have the child identify which belongs in the appropriate ecosystem.
Overlapping Ecosystems ~ Use this Overlapping Ecosystems diagram to show in basic terms how ecosystems overlap, which widens the wildlife (plants and animals) within them. You can also use a Venn diagram to discuss in more detail the aspects within the overlapping area, referred to as ecotone.
Ecosystems: Geography based approach
Map It ~ Find a region/continent on the map then discuss the different ecosystems found there:
Closer Look ~ Many regions of the world are known for specific ecosystems: Africa’s grasslands; Australia’s coral reefs; South America’s tropical rainforest, America’s coastal areas and southwest desert, etc. Highlight a specific ecosystem and discuss the wildlife associated with it.
Food chains (also referred to as food web) are a sequence of events showing who eats what or who in the survival based cycle of life. Each step in the process is considered a link within the chain. Discuss basic examples of food chains such as:
The first producer is the starting point of a food chain (usually the green plant). You can expand the lesson by introducing the process of photosynthesis.