Of all the sun’s energy that reaches the earth, less than 1% is utilised by plants for photosynthesis, which drives all the food chains and is the ultimate source of energy for almost all life on earth. Even fossil fuels are a form of energy that are created by sunlight converted to chemical energy by photosynthesis.
Learning Intention: Students will understand that ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and the abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems.
Success Criteria: You will be able to identify biotic and abiotic factors in a range of environments and describe the following cycles: water, carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen. You will be able to identify levels in food chains and draw food webs, showing how energy moves through these systems.
When you walk from a grassy paddock into the bush, what changes? When you walk from the edge of the ocean, up a rocky slope and into the sand dunes, what different micro-climates do you observe? On a smaller scale, your garden, a rock pool or a fish tank all have different factors that affect life. Draw up a table with two columns headed, abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living). Make a list under each heading with the factors that change in different environments.
This amazing creature has been drawn based on fossils and named Hatzegopteryx – it is thought to be one of the largest flying animals of all time! It had hollow bones, which meant that it weighed only about one sixth of the weight of a giraffe.
Learning Intention: To understand that living organisms share some common characteristics, despite their diversity. The differences within and between groups helps us organize and classify organisms.
Success Criteria: You will be able to list five characteristics of living organisms, name the five Kingdoms that all living organisms are grouped into and the five classes of vertebrates. You will also be able to discuss why we organize living things into groups and how this system has changed over time.
There is an amazing diversity of life on the planet – and we have evidence of even stranger organisms that are now extinct. What do all living things have in common? Draw up a Venn diagram with three overlapping circles. Add a dog to one, a robot to another and fire to the third. What do these three things have in common? What is different?
We will discuss your answers and decide on the five characteristics of all living organisms. We will also create a dichotomous key using a variety of different sweets and lollies. A dichotomous key is a hierarchical, branching tool that is used to identify organisms.