These interactive Google slides are packed with activities including simulations, graphing activities, modeling activities, Google Earth & Google Maps activities, videos, writing responses, matching, labeling, sorting and MORE! This unit includes 3 different slide sets with each focusing on specific aspects of ecosystems. See preview video for closeup of some of the activities!


Lesson 1: Lionfish Investigation on Carrying Capacity & Biodiversity

In this set of Google Slides, students will:

-review biotic and abiotic parts of an ecosystem, specifically a coral reef

-use an interactive map to draw conclusions about lionfish population densities

-use information and data to predict how dense lionfish populations will affect ecosystems and disrupt food chains

-graph population densities of lionfish and analyze trends

-use a simulation to visualize how an overabundance of a particular species can disrupt an ecosystem by reaching the carrying capacity 

-understand that invasive species, like lionfish, can decimate populations of other organisms and ultimately change the biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem

-identify ways that humans can negatively and positively impact population densities of organisms in an ecosystem

-analyze data to determine how lionfish have affected population densities of other fish species

-construct an explanation based on data that dense lionfish populations are affecting biodiversity  

Lesson 2: Cycling of Matter & Energy in Ecosystems

In this set of Google Slides, students will:

-understand that certain elements such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen are present in living things as different molecules

-use models to create a few basic molecules found in living organisms

-recognize that molecules such as glucose and water can be broken and rearranged to make new molecules that the body can use to gain energy or expel as waste

-explain how matter and energy are transferred to and from organisms in a food chain or web

-use a food pyramid to understand trophic levels and how organisms are arranged in a food pyramid

-use mathematics to represent how energy is lost as heat when an organism eats another living thing

-use models to visualize how carbon based molecules move during photosynthesis & cellular respiration

-compare photosynthesis and cellular respiration as processes that transfer energy and move carbon to various spheres on earth

-create a model to show how carbon moves through earth’s spheres
Lesson 3: Stable and Changing Ecosystems

In this set of Google Slides, students will:

-differentiate between moderate and extreme conditions that can potentially change an ecosystem

-use the example of seasonal rains in the African savanna to identify changes in animal populations and behaviors, but recognize that population sizes remain relatively the same

-analyze California sea lion population trends to observe carrying capacity and how populations can remain stable when conditions remain the same 

-identify ways in which humans can directly impact population sizes of different species 

-interpret data regarding polar bear populations and make predictions about why some polar bear populations are increasing, some are stable, and some are decreasing

-use data, observations, and a simulation to identify that the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption was an extreme condition that ultimately produced a new ecosystem 

-use information from scientists regarding the Chernobyl disaster to make a claim that the nuclear radiation has changed the ecosystem in the surrounding area

NGSS Alignment:

HS-LS2-1  Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.

HS-LS2-2  Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.

HS-LS2-3  Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

HS-LS2-4  Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.

HS-LS2-5  Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.

HS-LS2-6 Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

HS-LS2-8  Evaluate evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and reproduce.


NGSS Practices:

-Developing & using models

-Analyzing & interpreting data

-Using mathematics & computational thinking

-Engaging in argument from evidence

-Constructing explanations & designing solutions

-Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Digital Ecosystems Unit Google Activities

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