Cussandra Gillespie

This website is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology

Grade Level: 4th- 5th

Subject: Science

State Goal 12: Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnection of the life, physical and earth/space sciences.

Learning Standard E:  Know and apply concepts that describe the features and processes of the Earth and its resources.

Objective: Students will be able to understand ecosystems and their importance to the Earth  and the living things that inhabit the Earth.


Have you ever heard the word, ecosystem? Also called biomes, these regions of land make up the Earth's surface. All of the Earth's surface, with the exception of the ice in Antarctica and Greenland, fits into one of these ecosystems. But what is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is a region of land that has its own unique climate and life. The amount of rainfall, temperature and sunlight makes each region the way it is. Each biome is filled with plants and animals that have adapted to that land. All together, the land and its life is called an ecosystem.

There are eight biomes in the world, and each one is different than the other. The first one is the ocean. This biome is the largest of all, since water makes up most of the planet. Rainforests are unique areas where strange animals thrive in the warm, wet climate. Colder areas that receive enough rain will see temperate forests form. If there isn't enough rainfall, grasslands will fill the region.

Dry, hot regions will become desert, while the frigid cold regions of northern North America and Asia are called tundra. Taiga is the named given to land in between the cold tundra and the warmer temperate forest and grassland biomes. And finally, a very small amount of land in Europe and Australia is called Chaparral.

Ecosystems vary in size. They can be as small as a puddle or as large as the Earth itself. Any group of living and nonliving things interacting with each other can be considered as an ecosystem.

    In lesson 1, students will be able to investigate an ecosystem in their own school yard!

    Directions:  Click on the above so that you can prepare for outdoor excursion!



    The Energy Cycle

The energy cycle within biomes, habitats, and ecosystems determines which populations survive and which die. All living things need energy. Ultimately, the sun is the source of all energy in an ecosystem. Different species have different functions: producers, consumers, decomposers, and scavengers

      In lesson 2, we will explore the energy in an ecosystem.

     Directions:  Click on the above link to explore how an energy cycle functions.





What's it like where you live? Click on the link to identify the grassland.

Click on the link  below to explore the five major ecosystems in Illinois. 

       In lesson 3, we will explore the ecosystems that are in areas that are familiar to us.

Assessment: After studying the links and information on this site, your assignment is to type a one page report about one of the five ecosystems in Illinois.

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