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1 A Lesson Plan Developed by

2 Introductory Activity Lead a discussion on the diversity of living organisms in, on, or around a lake. Record the names of as many organisms as the students can think of. They can name organisms they have seen in any of the local lakes. Encourage them to be specific; don t record fish. Ask for different kinds/species of fish, birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods (insects, crayfish), other invertebrates (clams, worms), algae, and more complex plants. Next, lead a discussion about how you re going to keep your organisms new home (the aquarium in your classroom!) clean. Tell students how the aquarium will be cleaned by Center for Lakes & Streams staff regularly by wiping the aquarium with an algae brush and adding clean water. But how do we keep the home for the other organisms, those not in your classroom aquarium, clean too? Tell the students that they can help keep the lakes that are home to other organisms clean by reducing the pollution entering the lakes. Lesson Objectives 1. Students will increase vocabulary for reading science. 2. Students will learn how to classify living organisms. 3. Students will observe and understand an aquatic food chain. 4. Students will trace the flow of energy in an aquarium, lake and river. 5. Students will understand that all organisms need energy. 6. Students will understand the interdependency of each organism. 7. Students will understand the process of decay. 8. Students will understand the impact that stormwater has on lakes and streams. 9. Students will learn ways they can minimize the impact of stormwater. Supplies Needed 1. Aquarium and aquatic organisms 2. Record book for aquarium observations Vocabulary Photosynthesis Chlorophyll Vegetative Reproduction Herbivore Carnivore Scavenger Habitat Recycling Omnivore Predator Lake in the Classroom Page 1

3 Decomposer Ecosystem Population Community Niche Pollutant Storm Drain Prey Decay Competition Balance in Ecosystems School (of fish) Stormwater Activities Lake Ecosystems 1. Set up an aquarium in the classroom. Create a miniature lake environment and have students decide what organisms to include. Snails, fish, sediment, plants, etc. could be gathered from a local lake to create a natural lake system. 2. Assign students to care for the miniature lake. Emphasize to students that it takes time and effort to keep the miniature lake healthy, just as it takes time and effort to keep our real lakes healthy. a. Make a list of things that need to be done to keep the aquarium healthy. b. Plan a schedule for students to care for the aquarium and record observations. 3. Have students observe and record any changes in the aquarium. Look for changes in: a. the size or number of plants b. the color, smell or level of the water c. activity of the animals d. the location of the animals e. growth of algae on the sides of the tank f. and any other interesting observations 4. Discuss the importance of plants in the aquarium. Compare the plants in the aquarium with another plant in the classroom, such as a bean seedling. List the comparisons. a. Do they both have leaves, stems and roots? b. Do they both have chlorophyll? c. Do they both need light? Why? d. What happens during the process of photosynthesis? Lake in the Classroom Page 2

4 Light (source of energy for all life) Chlorophyll Food for the plant Carbon Dioxide (from animals) i. Plants produce their own food. They convert light energy into chemical energy. Light energy cannot be stored, but chemical energy can be stored. ii. Matter is recycled, but energy is not recycled. e. Why won t aquatic plants grow on land? f. Discuss the different places that plants grow in a lake. i. Below the surface ii. Floating, or with leaves above surface iii. On edges of the lake in saturated soil 5. Classify the organisms in the aquarium into groups based on the food they use. The aquarium may not have representatives of all groups, so discuss the organisms found in a real lake (the lake the students chose for their brochure). a. Plants are the producers. They produce food for themselves and they store food in their tissues for other organisms to eat b. Organisms other than plants are called consumers. i. If a consumer, like an aquatic snail, eats plants it is called an herbivore. Some insect larvae, tadpoles and minnows are herbivores too. ii. Consumers that get their energy by eating other consumers are called carnivores. A bass, a crappie, a bluegill and a turtle in a lake are all carnivores. iii. Some organisms will eat almost anything. If they eat plants and animals, they are called omnivores. c. When an organism dies and is not eaten by a scavenger, decomposers, such as bacteria or fungi, will cause the cells to break down. The materials that were in its body will be reused by living organisms. Lake in the Classroom Page 3

5 6. Explain that the aquarium (or a lake) with all its organisms plus the light, temperature, gases, rock/gravel and how they interact or fit together is called an ecosystem. a. All the living organisms in the lake are called the lake s community. b. The community is made up of the bluegill population, the crayfish population, the tadpole population, and the populations of the other organisms in the lake. 7. Use the information above or other sources to explain how organisms interact as predators, prey, or scavengers. Explain how chemical energy is passed on from one organism to another. A food chain can be illustrated with names and/or pictures of the organisms. Keeping Lake Ecosystems Healthy 1. Discuss what happens in actual lakes when pollution enters through stormwater. a. Stormwater occurs when it rains or snows. The water runs off of city streets, parking lots, construction sites and any other surfaces that do not absorb water. b. Most people would never dream of polluting our local lakes and streams. Unfortunately, people accidentally do this though everyday activities. These pollutants may include grass clippings, leaves, trash, pesticides from our yard, antifreeze, fertilizers, paint, gasoline, motor oil, animal waste and traces of metal that fall from our cars. It may also include untreated sewage if someone s septic system is not working properly or soil from a construction project. These pollutants damage the lake ecosystem, including the food chain, the organism communities and the fish populations. Pollutants make water unhealthy for fish and people. 2. Discuss ways that students can reduce the effect of stormwater on their local lakes and streams. a. People can change small, individual activities in order to reduce large-scale pollution. Some examples are: 1. Use fertilizer that does not contain phosphorus. 2. Pick up dog waste and put in compost, trash can, or decomposing waste bags. 3. Plant tree saplings, shrubs, or ground cover in areas where there is exposed soil. 4. Don t dump chemicals, paints, soaps or any other thing into storm drains! They are for RAIN ONLY! Contact the KC Recycling Depot in Kosciusko County or your local Solid Waste Management District to properly dispose of waste. Lake in the Classroom Page 4

6 5. Keep your car maintained and watch for oil spots on your garage floor. 6. Wash your car at a facility that recycles wastewater or sends it directly to a treatment facility. Evaluation 1. Explain what affects the rate of decomposition and why decomposition is necessary in a lake. 2. Tell how to distinguish a plant from other organisms. What do plants have, or what can they do, that other organisms do not have and cannot do? 3. Tell whether photosynthesis can occur in the root of a plant. 4. List some things in the aquarium that are important but are not alive. 5. Tell what would happen to the aquarium if the plants were removed, the light was not allowed in, or the temperature was near freezing. 6. Name some of the populations found in the lake. 7. Tell what changes in the lake would occur if all the predator fish died. 8. Explain how pollutants can enter a lake through stormwater. 9. Name ways that you can minimize the effects of stormwater in the community. Indiana State Standards for Education Science: o Describe methods that humans currently use to extend the use of natural resources. o Describe ways in which humans have changed the natural environment. Explain if these changes have been detrimental or beneficial. o Observe and describe interactions between organisms. o All organisms need energy to stay alive and grow. o Various organisms depend on dead plant and animal material for food. o Organisms grow, die, decay and are replaced. Lake in the Classroom Page 5

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