Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Time for an Independent Project

School is wrapping up.  It's getting close to the end of the year.  The kids are antsy and the teachers are tired.  It's that time of year.  It's time for an independent project!

I love projects that not only follow the objectives, but allow the students some freedom and creativity.  Our last unit is all about ecosystems and organisms, so in an effort to hold their attention for just a little while longer, I came up with a project they have really been enjoying.

This project has a lot of flexibility.  It can be completed entirely by the student if able to research in a library or on the Internet or it can be done piece by piece under the direction and guidance of the teacher (and a lot of other ways in between!).  I allow my students to use the computers available in my classroom as well as their own Internet compatible devices in order to do their research.

The students start by working through twelve vocabulary terms.  They write the definitions and illustrate the terms.

Then, the fun part.  They choose an organism (producer or consumer) to research.  A list of possible organisms is included for those who lament, "I just can't think of anything!"

The project walks them through the structure of an ecosystem from organisms to populations to communities.  And has them list the biotic and abiotic factors from the ecosystem their organism is found.

Energy flow in an ecosystem is also researched.  Students have to determine the differences between producers and consumers, as well as herbivores, carnivores and omnivores.  

They then have to construct both a food chain and a food web that contains their chosen organism.

Student directions are plainly written and easy to follow.  The final step has the student mount the completed project to a file folder for a neat and finished look! 

This is a great assignment for bulletin board displays or student presentations!

You can find this product here at my store.

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