This class started with a Crash Course Ecology video on ecosystems and “How Wolves Change Rivers” which is about the how the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone affected many aspects of the ecosystem, including where the rivers flow!
Since we’re studying ecosystems, the kids put together small terrariums using large glass jars. Students put a centimeter of small pebbles in the bottom of their jars, then sprinkled some charcoal over the rocks. Next came the moistened potting soil (1/2 cup of water for every 2 cups of soil, mixed in a large plastic bag) and a small plant. Directions and a list of suitable plants are on kidsgardening.org. I found some of the pink polka dot plant and small ferns at the local nursery.
If we got the moisture level correct, we shouldn’t have to open them to water the plants. Terrariums should be put where they will get some sunlight, but not in direct sunlight – they might overheat. If too much water condenses on the inside of the glass you should take the lid off to let some of the water evaporate. If the plant looks like it needs water, then add some more water to the system.
Finally we added some pages to our interactive notebooks. The first one was a lift the flap on the evidence for evolution (above right), which can be found in the Evolution, Natural Selection & Adaptation – Interactive Notebook Activity Pack by Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy. Under the flaps are a few paragraphs, which they have to complete, talking about the comparision of embryos, DNA, fossils, homologous and analogous structures, etc. I had planned on doing this page last week but we ran out of time.
The second interactive notebook page (left side of photo) was about Producers, Consumers and Decomposers and is from the Ecosystems & Ecology Interactive Notebook Activity Pack by Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy.