Year 9 Science: Energy of Life

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.