Introduction to Movement of Matter and Ecosystem Cycling

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LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
How do organisms live, grow, respond to their environment, and reproduce?

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms: How do organisms obtain and use the matter and energy they need to live and grow?

Learning goals by the end of grade 5: Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water. Plants also need light and minerals to photosynthesize. Plants use matter they have formed through photosynthesis to maintain their internal conditions (e.g., at night). Animals cannot photosynthesize and must take in food. Most animals also need to take in air and water. Anaerobic life, such as bacteria in the gut, functions without air. Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and is digested to release the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion.


LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics:
How and why do organisms interact with their environment and what are the effects of these interactions?

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: How do organisms interact with the living and nonliving environments to obtain matter and energy?

Learning goals by the end of grade 5: Food webs help show how organisms are related. The food of most animals can be traced back to plants. Some animals eat plants for food, and other animals eat animals that eat plants. Both types of animals are called “consumers.” Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead plants and animals. These organisms are called “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil for plants to use.

Organisms can survive only in environments where their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species are able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.

LS2.B Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems: How do matter and energy move through an ecosystem?

Learning goals by the end of grade 5: Matter cycles between the air and soil. Matter moves between plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, water, and minerals from the environment and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment.

Ocean Literacy Principles

Priciple 4: The ocean makes the Earth habitable.

Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: The ocean provided, and continues to provide, water, oxygen, and nutrients and moderates the climate needed for life to exist on Earth. (OLP4c)

Principle 5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean life ranges in size from the smallest living things, microbes, to the largest animal on Earth, blue whales. (OLP5a)

Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Most of the organisms and biomass in the ocean are microbes, which are the basis of all ocean food webs. Microbes are the most important primary producers in the ocean. They have extremely fast growth rates and life cycles, and produce a huge amount of the carbon and oxygen on Earth. (OLP5b)

Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean biology provides many unique examples of life cycles, adaptations, and important relationships among organisms (symbiosis, predator-prey dynamics, and energy transfer) that do not occur on land. (OLP5d)


These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:






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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawai?i, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.