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Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

You’ll find all of our lessons below, both alphabetically by title, and grouped by various topics to inspire ideas for possible units:

All Lesson Plans – All Ecology Explorers lesson plans, listed alphabetically by title.

Birds – Ecologists study bird diversity, behavior, and distribution within an urban ecosystem. What are they learning about relationships with other urban ecosystem components, including people, and how can students participate?

Arthropods – Studying arthropods can build understanding about systems within an ecological area, including habitat, resources and food webs.

Plants in the Environment – As plant ecologists, students will learn about the plants present in an ecosystem, including basics on identification, and how the various species of plants interact with each other and their environment:

Response to Environmental Change by Organisms – Through investigations and learning activities, students can see the biotic reactions of various organisms, including people, to changes in their environment.

Animal Behavior and Distribution – Human activities in urban environments can affect how animals behave and where they are found. What animals do and where they are found affects other parts of the ecosystem too:

Describing Habitat – Survey, map, describe and think about local environments such as our neighborhoods, school yards and parks.

Abiotic Environment – Water, rocks, wind, sun, temperature and humidity are all examples of nonliving components in ecosystems that can interact with each other and also affect living organisms. How do human activities influence the abiotic environment in urban ecosystems?

Urban Impacts – We all influence our urban ecosystem and at the same time we are influenced by ecological conditions:

Land Use and Policy – Much of the urban growth in Phoenix Metro has taken place in the past 50 year. These lessons encourage students to think about patterns and impacts of development in the changing urban landscape.

Built and Natural Environments – The following activities will challenge you and your students to think about the consequences to us and other organisms of our changing urban landscape.

Urban Heat Island – A high growth rate combined with clear, calm weather, low altitude with intense sun, and heat-absorbing surfaces explain our greater than normal urban warming. Explore both the abiotic and biotic factors involved in the phenomena scientists call the Urban Heat Island Effect.

This Urban Heat Island Unit can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. The full sequence of lessons allows students to explore the abiotic and biotic factors involved in this phenomenon, then apply these concepts toward mitigation of the Urban Heat Island using the engineering design process.

Alternately, a minimal overview of UHI could be achieved with the lesson, “Surface Temperatures in Microclimates” as a foundation for any combination of the subsequent lessons.

Fundamental Ecological Science Practices – Help cultivate student’s “scientific habits of mind” by leading them through these activities that help them think, question, investigate, reason, and interpret data like an ecological research scientist.