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LESSON TITLE: Springs of Life
GRADE LEVEL: 5-8
TOPIC/SUBJECT MATTER: Life Science
TIME ALLOTMENT: Three to four 45-minute class periods
In this video-enhanced lesson, students will explore Florida’s springs using video segments from the NATURE film “Springs Eternal: Florida’s Fountain of Youth” and related activities and discussions. Students will learn about how the springs are formed and will explore the Florida springs ecosystem, with particular focus on the manatees, fish, birds and alligators that live there. Students will also learn about red tide and its threat to the life in the springs. At the end of the lesson, students will conduct research and give a presentation about one species that lives in and/or around the springs.
NATURE: “Springs Eternal: Florida’s Fountain of Youth
1. “Florida’s Springs”
2. “Life in Florida’s Springs”
3. “Red Tide”
4. “Life in the water supply”
Access the streaming and downloadable video segments for this lesson at the Video Segments Page.
Resources about Florida’s springs and the species living in and around them:
This Web site contains information, photographs and educational resources about Florida’s springs. The following section is used in this lesson:
This section includes information and photographs about the different plants and animals living in and around Florida’s springs.
This site provides detailed information and photographs of species living in and around Florida’s rivers and springs.
This site contains “Wildlife Fact Sheets,” which include information about a variety of species, including the American Alligator and the West Indian Manatee who live in the springs.
This site contains information about eelgrass, as well as information and bird sounds of species including the Great Blue Heron and Osprey, which could be helpful for student research during this lesson.
LIFE SCIENCE: Content Standard C
As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of
- Populations and Ecosystems
- A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem.
- Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Plants and some microorganisms are producers-they make their own food. All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. Decomposers, primarily bacteria and fungi, are consumers that use waste materials and dead organisms for food. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem.
- For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. That energy then passes from organism to organism in food webs.
SCIENCE IN PERSONAL AND SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES: Content Standard F
As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of
· Natural Hazards
o Human activities also can induce hazards through resource acquisition, urban growth, land-use decisions, and waste disposal. Such activities can accelerate many natural changes.
· Risks and Benefits
o Students should understand the risks associated with natural hazards (fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions), with chemical hazards (pollutants in air, water, soil, and food), with biological hazards (pollen, viruses, bacterial, and parasites), social hazards (occupational safety and transportation), and with personal hazards (smoking, dieting, and drinking).
For each student:
For each group of 3-5 students:
- 1 copy of the “Life in Florida’s Springs: Producer/Consumer Game.”(RTF) (PDF)
(See the “Prep for Teachers” section for details.)
For the class:
- Producer/Consumer Pyramid (PDF)
- Books, reference materials and/or Internet access to conduct research about life in Florida’s springs.
- A large sheet of paper or board and something with which to write.
- One computer for the teacher with a digital projection system (to play video clips either downloaded or streaming from the Web).
Students will be able to:
- Explain what springs are and how they are formed;
- Describe at least 3 different species living in the Florida springs ecosystem, naming why they live in the springs, what they eat and how they get their food;
- Explain why the Florida springs ecosystem is an inverted food pyramid;
- Define “producer” and “consumer”;
- Accurately sort organisms into producers and primary, secondary and tertiary consumers;
- Name types of organisms that function as decomposers and explain the role that decomposers play in the ecosystem;
- Describe how organisms can survive in watery, underground caves without sunlight;
- Define “red tide,” how it is caused, and what danger it poses to manatees;
- Describe one species from the Florida springs ecosystem in detail, including what it eats, factors that pose a danger to its survival, and where it lives during different times of the year.
PREP FOR TEACHERS:
Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:
Preview all of the video segments and Web sites used in the lesson.
Download the video clips used in the lesson to your classroom computer, or prepare to watch them using your classroom’s Internet connection.
Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom. Using a social bookmarking tool such as del.icio.us or diigo (or an online bookmarking utility such as portaportal) will allow you to organize all the links in a central location.
Make one copy of the “Life in Florida’s Springs Fact Sheet” for each student.
Make 1 copy of the “Life in Florida’s Springs: Producer/ Consumer Game” for each group of 3-5 students, including the cards and the chart. Cut up the cards for each group, making sure that each group gets a complete set of 15 Cards. (Each card should feature the name of one species.) Each group should also have one Producer/ Consumer Game Chart (not cut up).
Load the “Producer/Consumer Pyramid” onto a screen that can be seen by the class, or recreate it on a classroom board.
Proceed to Lesson Activities.