Decomposers Unit Overview

The Driving Question

The Decomposers Unit starts by asking students to express their ideas about the driving question about an anchoring phenomenon, “What happens when bread molds?”

Carbon is the key! In the unit, students learn to tell the story of how matter and energy are transformed as they move through decomposer systems. A particularly powerful strategy for explaining how decomposer systems transform matter and energy involves tracing carbon atoms. For more information about the Next Generation Science Standards disciplinary core ideas included in this unit see the sections on the Matter Movement, Matter Change, and Energy Change Questions below and the Unit Goals.

Research base. This unit is based on learning progression research that describes the resources that students bring to learning about plants and the barriers to understanding that they must overcome. It is organized around an instructional model that engages students in three-dimensional practices.