Tuesday, March 7, 2017

In the Hands of A Child Ecosystems Project Pack

The Ecosystems Project Pack from In The Hands of A Child is a great way to teach upper elementary,  junior high and high school students about how nature and the natural world works together. The suggested grade levels are 5-10.

Topics taught in Ecosystems include:

  • Ecosystem cycles
  • Energy cucle
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Nitrogen Cycle
  • Oxygen Cycle
  • Nitrogen Cycle
  • Water Cycle
  • Disturbance Cycle
  • The Energy cycle
  • The effects of disturbances of these cycles
  • Food chains and webs
  • Trophic Levels
  • Omnivores
  • Ecosystem Management
  • Biomes
  • Related Vocabulary
There are mini books for each of these topics which students write in after reading the corresponding section to show what they learned and know.
Wheel minibook

Clipboard minibook

There is also a bonus hands-on activity of creating a creating an ecosystem included in the project pack.  (There isn't a mini book for this activity).

The project pack includes:
  • Text Study guide
  • Vocabulary and Definition list
  • Templates for all the minibooks
  • Directions for how each minibook works and information to writein each
  • Planning Guide with suggestions of what text to read, vocabulary words, and minibooks to complete each day
  • List of related books and websites
  • Directions for how to use the Project Pack as well as putting together the lapbook
  • Full Color pictures of a completed lapbook

This Ecosytem Project Pack is laid out to be completed in 8 days, but that number could easily be changed by adjusting how many sections were studied each day.

My Thoughts

We found this to be a great way to learn about ecosytems. It is very complete and detailed, but doesn't get bogged down or boring. The text is concise and interesting. I really appreciate how the topic and vocabulary words are divided up; the amount of material to read and write about in the minibooks for each day is just right. Each days assigned reading and number of mini books to fill in is about equal so that is a great help is scheduling the amount of time it should take each day. The bonus activity of creating your own ecosystem is a fantastic way to make many of the concepts taught concrete. This was something my son was not able to complete at this time as all the components were not available at this time. I also appreciate having the list of related books and websites handy if my child wants to learn more after reading the study guide.

One of the features I thought was really cleaver was a side bar featuring a summary of the story "The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly".  In the story the lady swallows many different creatures which parents and older children will recognize are part of a food chain or ecosytem. This example is then used to show how the parts of an an aquatic ecosytem work together to complete a circle. What a great way to use something students are already familiar with to illustrate a new concept!

I like having the pictures of completed minibooks included in the project pack as it is helpful in the event that I don't understand from the written directions how a minibook is supposed to go together.

Completed Lapbook

Completed Lapbook
This was at a great level for my middle school aged son, I would probably add additional reading or research for the high school level.

Disclaimer: ( I received a free digital copy of this Project pack for the purpose of this review. I have not been compensated in any other way. All thoughts are my own. I was not required to right a positive review. Photos are also my own.)

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