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5th Grade: Ecosystem Run Charts

Content Standard:  Demonstrate understanding of living systems and their environments.

Performance Standard:   Demonstrate competence in scientific inquiry.

Performance Objective:  Develop competence using measurement tools, technology, and Systems International (SI) units to observe, measure, compare objects, events, organisms (mass, length, time, volume, temperature, color, shape, size, texture, sound, position, change); reporting data using tables and graphs (line bar, trend, simple circle).

Quality Tools: Run Chart, Enthusiasm Chart  

Engage: Offer run charts to students that do not have the x or y axis identified. Pose the following focus question: What data might the chart be communicating?

Allow discussion in small groups. Then ask students to make general statements to the class regarding what the run charts might be communicating.

Elaborate:  Help students understand that run charts are used to measure a process over time. Run charts are used to study data to reveal trends or patterns that occur during a period of time. Ask students to review the run charts at their table. Ask: “How might we use a run chart to answer the question:  Is there a relationship between pollutants and plant growth?”

Explain how the run charts will be set up.

Individual run charts should have the following information:
 Height of rye grass (y)
 Days of pollutants  (x)  
































Days of Pollutants

Explore:  Students collect data for 5 days. Students are expected to keep individual run charts showing changes in plant height each day once the pollutant is added. Once the five day experiment is complete, ask students to group according to pollutant. Have students work in pollutant groups to average the data each individual gathered and create a group run chart on large butcher paper. Ask students to designate a spokesperson to share results with the class.

Connect:  As previously asked in the “engage,” ask students once again to answer the questions:

What information does the run chart give you?
What can you communicate to others about the data you have recorded?

Continue to ask focus questions: 

What differences/similarities exist among the data at your table?
What generalization might be made about all pollutants?
How does the data help describe the changes in your eco column environment?
How would you describe the changes?  Use beneficial or detrimental in your description.
How might an organism’s pattern of behavior be affected by this polluted environment? What is the interrelatedness or interdependence between living systems (your eco column) and the environment (with added pollutants)?

Use an enthusiasm chart at the conclusion of this unit to determine the degree to which students enjoyed the unit and learned from the unit.