How Can We Predict Change in Ecosystems?

This module is being field tested and will be available to purchase from fall 2018

How Can We Predict Change in Ecosystems?

How Can We Predict Change in Ecosystems? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a brand new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 5 standards. It has a focus on life science with a secondary focus on physical science. In this module, students:

  • Plan an carry out investigations to determine where plants get the matter and energy they need to grow
  • Analyze data to determine where animals get the matter and energy they need to grow
  • Make observations and use models to understand how producers, consumers, and decomposers depend on each other in a system
  • Analyze data and carry out an investigation to determine how adding or removing a species can change interactions in an ecosystem
  • Use models to predict the impact of introducing a new species to an ecosystem

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.

Lesson 1: Stayin’ Alive

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Pre-assessment Plant and Animals
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Plants Grow


Lesson 2: Why Matter Matters


Lesson 3: With or Without You
Lesson 4: Panda Power

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Baby Animals
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Lesson 5: Of Plants and Pandas

Pandas on the Move 

This link is to a video of a panda cub going to explore outside for the first time.


Burning Peanut


Bamboo Art
This video shows artwork of Ni Zan, known for painting bamboo.

Lesson 6: Eating for Energy


Lesson 7: Ecosystem Energy

Temperate Forest 
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Lesson 8: Decomposers Do the Dirty Work

Forest Floor 
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Lesson 9: The Web of Life


Lesson 10: Very Hungry Caterpillars

Butterfly Life Cycle
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Cabbage White Caterpillars 


Invasive Species Database

Lesson 11: Invaders or Not?

New Neighbors Photos
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Lesson 12: Observing Outcomes



Lesson 13: The Motion of the Ocean

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Lesson 14: Changing Tidepools



Lesson 15: Presenting… Predictions



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