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Middle School

​MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
              Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
 
What could we do?
Students may understand this concept better if they are provided with an opportunity to visit a local natural area and observe the inhabitants. In a defined space, they should look for and record the different types of organisms, numbers of types of organisms, arrangement of types of organisms in the landscape, evidence of organisms that may be present but not seen, availability of resources and other factors. Provide them with several scenarios in which one factor changes in the habitat. Looking at the area that they have documented, how will a change in that one factor affect one population in the area? How will it affect other species in the area? How will it affect the nonliving components of the area? Could this information be documented by measurements? How could they set up an experiment in the classroom to test it? Provide the students with resources to allow them to test and measure the results of such an experiment.
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, nature centers, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations
 
MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
              Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
 
What could we do?
Students may understand this concept better if they are provided with an opportunity to visit a local natural area and observe its inhabitants and abiotic resources. Try to select a location to visit that shows aquatic, woodland and prairie habitats, if possible, or if prairie habitat is not available, then at least woodland and aquatic habitats should be at the site. Visit the different habitats. Have the students look for signs of activities such as predation and competition in each of the habitats. Are there differences in these activities in the habitats? How would a predator, for instance, face different obstacles in the aquatic versus the woodland habitat? What would be similar about a predator in each habitat? What factors would affect competition in the aquatic, woodland and prairie habitats? What other life functions take place in the different habitats? How they alike and different? What are some general patterns of interactions that must take place in all ecosystems? Students should explain their answer.
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, nature centers, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations
 
MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience
              Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change
 
What could we do?
Students may understand this concept better if they are provided with an opportunity to visit a local natural area and observe the inhabitants. In a defined space, they should look for and record the different types of organisms, numbers of types of organisms, arrangement of types of organisms in the landscape, evidence of organisms that may be present but not seen, availability of resources and other factors. Provide them with several scenarios in which one factor changes in the habitat. Looking at the area that they have documented, how will a change in that one factor affect one population in the area? How will it affect other species in the area? How will it affect the nonliving components of the area? Could this information be documented by measurements? How could they set up an experiment in the classroom to test it? Provide the students with resources to allow them to test and measure the results of such an experiment. If possible, acquire data from a similar situation that actually occurred at the site or another site and ask students to analyze the results.
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, nature centers, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations
 
MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience;
                                                  Biodiversity and Humans; Developing Possible Solutions 
              Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change
 
What could we do?
Students may understand this concept better if they are provided with an opportunity to visit a local natural area and see examples of erosion, siltation, invasive species and other factors that affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. What are these factors doing to the habitat? How are biotic and abiotic resources affected? What could be done to stop the effects of these and other factors affecting biodiversity and ecosystem services? Test these suggestions by using models in the classroom.
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, nature centers, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations
 
MS-ESS1-4 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic timescale is used to organize earth’s 4.6-bilion-year-old-history.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: The History of Planet Earth
              Crosscutting Concepts: Scale, Proportion and Quantity
 
What could we do?
Visit a natural area that has rock cliffs or other geological features. You may be able to see layers of colors in the rock/soil. They reflect the changes over time in the geology of the area. You may find fossils representing evidence of life that once lived here.  A park naturalist or local geologist may be able to help you identify such features. A field trip in early spring before the leaves are present on trees, in late fall when the tree leaves have fallen or in winter can help you to see more geological features than when leaves are present.
 
Where could we go?
Many of Illinois’ state parks include geological features that can be used to help support the teaching of this performance objective.
 
MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed earth’s surface at varying times and spatial scales.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Earth’s Materials and Systems;
                                                  The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes
              Crosscutting Concepts:  Scale, Proportion and Quantity
 
What could we do?
Visit a natural area that has rock cliffs or other geological features. You may be able to see layers of colors in the rock/soil. They reflect the changes over time in the geology of the area. You may find fossils representing evidence of life that once lived here. If earthquakes have caused rocks to move quickly as they slip along each other at a fault line, there may be evidence above ground. A park naturalist or local geologist may be able to help you identify such features. A field trip in early spring before the leaves are present on trees, in late fall when the tree leaves have fallen or in winter can help you to see more geological features than when leaves are present.
 
Where could we go?
Many of Illinois’ state parks include geological features that can be used to help support the teaching of this performance objective.
 
MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
              Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
              Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
 
What could we do?
Students may understand this concept better if they are provided with an opportunity to visit a local natural area and see actual examples of human impacts, both direct and indirect. Take them on a hiking or driving tour and ask them to list all of the human impacts that they observe, categorizing each as harmful, beneficial or neutral. Conduct a discussion about the observations and categorizations. Do all of the students interpret these impacts the same way? Did they all notice the same impacts? What do they feel are the most important impacts? What could be done to monitor and minimize these impacts? What types of issues would need to be addressed in doing so? In the classroom, have the students develop a method to make the most reduction in the human impact with the least amount of monitoring needed. Test it, if possible.
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, nature centers, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations