Elementary Science Program


looking at an ecosystemEcosystems

Categorize organisms as producers, consumers, or decomposers based on their role in an ecosystem:

  • Use a food web to show the interrelationships
    that exist among a group of living things

  • Use a model ecosystem to explore how an
    ecosystem operates


  • Books for Kids
  • Teacher Resources
  • Web Sites
  • Tips and Hints

Books for Kids

Around the Pond Ann Cooper. Roberts Rnehart/Denver Museum or Natural History Press, 1998. ISBN 1-57098-223-6. All the inhabitants of a healthy pond are shown in watercolor illustrations. Seasonal changes and activities are also included. Students can learn more by reading the text that gives further details about what is portrayed in the pictures.

Butternut Hollow Pond Brian J. Heinz. Millbrook, 2000. ISBN 0-76130-268-9. Heinz gives a glimpse of a natural mini-drama as he describes what life in a pond is like  from the beginning of the day to the end of it. Realistic watercolor illustrations highlight the diverse ecosystem. (STC Literature Links)

What Are Food Chains and Webs? Bobbie Kalman and Jacqueline Langille. Crabtree/A Bobbie Kalman Book, 1998. ISBN 0-86505-876-8.  The clear explanations and illustrations make this a good introduction to food chains and webs. The charts are also helpful in delivering the information. (STC Literature Links)

What Is a Biome? Bobbie Kalman and Jacqueline Langille. Crabtree/A Bobbie Kalman Book, 1998. ISBN 0-86505-875-X. Various biomes are explained. Maps provide additional information. The book concludes with thoughts about human impact on these biomes. (STC Literature Links)

Pond Watching with Ann Morgan Michael Elsohn Ross. Carolrhoda Books, 2000. ISBN 1-5750-5385-3.  A biography of professor Ann Morgan who spent years studying ponds. Photographs and full-color illustrations highlight the text. (STC Literature Links)

Book of Science Questions that Children Ask Jack Meyers. Boyds Mills Pr, 1995, ISBN 1563974789. An 11-year old reader from Broomall, Pa, writes "This book help me do my homework all the time. Trust me and buy this book." (amazon.com) Selected from back issues of Highlights for Children magazine, this collection of answers to over 350 children's questions about science covers a wide range of science topics.

Teacher Resources

Deli Container Ecocolumn describes how to make an ecocolumn from deli containers rather than pop bottles.

Communities in Nature Daryl Vriesenga. Instructional Fair, Inc. 1991. Based on the theme of communities in nature, this activity book contains four full-color posters and reproducible student activity pages that integrate all subject areas. The four communities that are included are pond, forest, grassland, and desert. (ENC Focus, vol 8, no 3, 2001)

Booth, Bibi, et al. "A Place in the Sun," Science and Children, Feb 2001, 27­34. This article presents some basic information about the Mojave Desert including brief descriptions of "Life at the Extremes" and "Management Challenges."

Environments, Habitats, and Ecosystems Curriculum Companions contains detailed resources tailored to modules dealing with ecosystems. Take a look at the growing list of resources for this module. Background info, enrichment, interdisciplinary ideas, images, assessment, tips and comments, and kids web pages are all included in this useful site.

SciLinks is a site run by the National Science Teachers Association. It provides links to a wide variety of teacher-selected sites. This listing is for elementary-school level sites about communities, populations, and ecosystems. One section lists sites for teachers, another lists sites for students.

Ecosystems provides a brief review of the important science concepts involved in the study of ecosystems.



Web Sites

Biosphere 2 Take a virtual trip to Biosphere 2, a 7,200,000-cubic foot sealed glass and spaceframe structure. Inside the structure you'll find seven wilderness ecosystems, including a rainforest and a 900,000-gallon ocean, as well as a human habitat which now houses interactive exhibits.

Environmental Defense Fund Scorecard  Find out how your community rates on the pollution scorecard. All you need to know is your zip code and you'll get a report of the major polluters that affect your area.

EPA Student Center  Designed for older students, this site includes activities and resources dealing with air, water, human health, waste and recycling, conservation, and more.

Explorers Club This site includes several "rooms" in which you can explore the air, your environment, recycling, art, science, and plants and animals. Each area includes activities and resources to explore.

The Flying Turtle Science and Technology Exploration Site The FT Exploring site is packed to the brim with essays on a range of topics - such a range, in fact, that it's hard to pin down exactly what the main theme is. The authors (a distinctly wacky father and son team from Idaho) have worked hard to produce hand-illustrated sections on plants and photosynthesis, energy (or 'the Mysterious Everything' as they like to call it) and the mechanics of insects amongst other things, all written in an idiosyncratic, chatty style aimed at younger visitors. The information is largely very interesting and well-done, though areas of the site do zoom off on tangents: the "not-necessarily-scientific" section where Turtle Boy has a lengthy discussion with cartoon aliens about whether or not basketball players know much about batteries... would be an example. All in all - aside from the occasional clutter and inconsistent navigation - a good introduction to some big science subjects, if you don't mind being educated by reptiles. (New Scientist, 31 January 2003)

FINS, the Fish Information Service There's something fishy about this web site! Actually, the whole site is pretty fishy: it's packed to the gills with information about aquaria, the types of fish best suited to life in an aquarium, and ways to keep your cold-blooded pets happy, healthy, and hale. A comprehensive index of fish species covers salt and freshwater fish and is searchable by type of fish, their Latin name, and their common name. Kindergarten - 12 (ENC Digital Dozen, January, 2003)

eNature.qa Nature Guide Provided by the National Wildlife Federation, this site provides access to Audubon field guides featuring more than 4,800 plants and animals. Good information and clear pictures help you identify the plant or animal. Other types of information and articles are also available. Lots of advertising, but it is all wildlife-related.

Tips and Hints