Activity 2.1: Predictions About Patterns in Ecosystems (30 min)

Target Student Performance

Students make predictions about changes in the mass of different populations in a meadow ecosystem and plans to maximize the fox population.

Resources Provided


For Activity 2.1, open the Predictions and Planning for the Meadow Simulation PPT and project it. Prepare enough copies of the Predictions and Planning Tool for the Meadow Simulation for each student to have one.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.


Ideally, the discussion about the Predictions and Planning Tool in this activity will reveal a range of student ideas. Level 4 students will realize that the mass of producers must be much larger than the mass of herbivores, which, in turn will be much larger than the mass of carnivores. Level 2 and 3 students may assume that the mass of producers, herbivores, and carnivores may be more equal or have other ideas about organic matter patterns in ecosystems. Use the 2.1 Assessing Predictions and Planning Tool for the Meadow Simulation to assess students' ideas.

  • Refer back to past Predictions and Planning Tools from other units as a model
  • Strategic grouping with strong speakers
  • Provide sentence stems for discussion and filling in the Predictions and Planning Tool.
  • Keep student predictions and plans in a safe place (notebook or class file)
  • Have students work in pairs from the beginning rather than individually
Extending the Learning