Organisms in an ecosystem depend on each other for food. But they may also depend on each other for protection, transportation, or shelter. In this activity, students will learn about different types of symbiotic relationships.
This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:
Spanish Student Page(s):
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
Food Web, a Science Trek Video
PBS LearningMedia’s 4-minute video Food Web, from Idaho public TV’s Science Trek series for grades K-6, illustrates how energy from the sun moves through the food chain, the various factors that contribute to a food chain, and where humans fit into it. Support materials include a set of discussion questions and alignment to standards, including National Standards in Science Literacy and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Create a free account to see state standards, and to share this resource as a class assignment.
PHYLO: The Ecosystem Trading Card Game
A study 20 years ago found that British kids were better at identifying Pokemon than real wildlife. So a Canadian professor of teaching has crowdsourced ideas and created a competitive card game that teaches kids about ecosystems.
Learn more about this scientific Pokemon-type card game called Phylo: The Ecosystem Trading Card Game. Download rules and a starter deck for free and watch this video to learn how to play.
Endangered Species Success Stories
Success Stories is an interactive map of the United States that documents the 40-year impact the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has had on preventing species extinction. Students in grade levels 6-12 can use this interactive map to learn more about endangered species. Developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the success stories map celebrates the accomplishments of conservation efforts under ESA. Read more about species brought back from the brink of extinction such as the Canada Lynx (WY), Swallow-tailed kite (GA), and the Casey’s June beetle (CA).
Into the Outdoors: The Importance of Plants and Pollinators
Did you know that 1/3 of the food you eat from the United States depends on pollinators? Pollinators, such as bees, play a vital role in how plants develop fruit and spread their seeds. Into the Outdoors explains this role in a 5-minute video called Plants and Pollinators. The video also explains how other organisms, such as bacteria, help plants grow and reproduce using nitrogen fixation. This video is suitable for elementary and middle school students.
Giant deadly hornets, gorgeous fluttering butterflies, and stealthy crawling stink bugs: discover these and more fascinating insects in Expedition: Insects, an e-book written, illustrated, and animated by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. Students will learn about sic different types of insects in natural habitats around the world and how evolution and adaptation is responsible for the insects’ characteristics. Download an interactive version of the e-book for free on iBooks or read the non-interactive PDF version online.
Dawn Publications – If You Love Honey
“If you love honey, then you must love honeybees” so says Dawn Publications’ children’s book, If You Love Honey. If You Love Honey takes readers on an exploration through the benefits and beauty that prevail through the relationships of living, breathing organisms that co-exist in nature. The colorful illustrations and simple concepts help young minds foster curiosity and develop an appreciation for nature. This book explores the importance of oak trees, mushrooms, soil, earthworms, and more. Be sure to check out the end of the book for fun facts about pollinators, seed spreaders, and beneficial insects.