LESSON PLAN LIBRARY

7th Grade Life Science Curriculum

This seventh grade unit explores coral reef ecology as students focus on the 7th grade Evolution standards. Lessons include detailed instructor timelines, student worksheets and visual PowerPoint slideshows. This curriculum, created by Meghan Saxer, a seventh grade teacher at Carpinteria Middle School in Santa Barbara County, CA, was developed with support from the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program and the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Lesson 1: What Is a Coral Reef?

OBJECTIVES:
Students will gain an understanding of the basic components of a coral reef ecosystem, with emphasis on specific abiotic and biotic factors crucial to reef health and trophic level relationships among organisms. Also included is an exploration of traditional, Polynesian culture and native uses of coral reef resources. This lesson includes a corresponding student note-taking guide and several critical thinking group work opportunities.

Students will be able to identify several components of a coral reef habitat and categorize them into abiotic / biotic factors and trophic levels. Students will also be able to hypothesize about possible human uses for coral reef resources.

STANDARDS:
California State Science Content Standards, 7th Grade
Evolution: 3a, b, e

Introduction PowerPoint
What is a Coral Reef? Lesson Plan
Trophic Levels PowerPoint


Lesson 3: Coral Adaptations

OBJECTIVES:
Students will compare and contrast the adaptive strategies of branching and mounding corals through participation in a hands-on lab activity and an interactive PowerPoint. In the lab activity, teams of students construct different corals out of paper and test the design stability against physical disturbance.

Students will be able to make inferences about why organisms with certain traits are found in their specific habitats. Students will also be able to communicate ideas concerning the cohabitation of competing species in the same habitat.

STANDARDS:
California State Science Content Standards, 7th Grade
Evolution: 3a, b, e
Investigation and Experimentation: 7a, c, e

Coral Adaptations Lesson Plan
Coral Adaptations PowerPoint

 


 

Lesson 2: Focus on Farmerfish

OBJECTIVES:
Students will gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between environmental factors and organism adaptations through a focused study on the personable farmerfish. This lesson includes an interactive PowerPoint presentation to convey background information and a competitive board game.

Students will be able to look critically at organisms within different habitats and hypothesize about the influence of abiotic/biotic factors on physical and behavioral adaptations through the process of natural selection.

STANDARDS:
California State Science Content Standards, 7th Grade
Evolution: 3a, b, e

Focus on Farmerfish Lesson Plan
Farmerfish Adaptations PowerPoint
Farmerfish Game Rules
Farmerfish Game Board


Lesson 4: Coral Adaptations Inquiry Lab

OBJECTIVES:
This lab is a culmination of this series of lessons. Students demonstrate their knowledge of the effects of environmental factors on the development of adaptations through natural selection by creating a unique coral structure out of household materials. Students justify structural adaptations in written form and final products are tested for strength against physical disturbance.

After construction, students will be able to communicate about the successful components of their design in terms of environmental factor influence.

STANDARDS:
California State Science Content Standards, 7th Grade
Evolution: 3a, b, e
Investigation and Experimentation: 7a, c, e

Coral Adaptations Inquiry Lab

 


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