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Unit Plan: Biology Grades 7-11 Ecological Model and Philip Vera Cruz

Life Science (7th grade)
Biology (9th grade)
Inter-Coordinated Science (10-11)
Biology, Life Science, Inter-Coordinated Science
To expose students to the life of Philip Vera Cruz and have them, through the creation of an Ecological Model of his life as a farmworker, come to understand the relationships between organisms and their environment. Students will explore the different levels of interaction between organisms of the same species and across different species, culminating with their biome.
Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools
Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Ecosystems have carrying capacities, which are limits to the numbers of organisms and populations they can support. These limits result from such factors as the availability of living and nonliving resources and from such challenges such as predation, competition, and disease. Organisms would have the capacity to produce populations of great size were it not for the fact that environments and resources are finite. This fundamental tension affects the abundance (number of individuals) of species in any given ecosystem. (HS-LS2-1), (HS-LS2-2)
Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience A complex set of interactions within an ecosystem can keep its numbers and types of organisms relatively constant over long periods of time under stable conditions. If a modest biological or physical disturbance to an ecosystem occurs, it may return to its more or less original status (i.e., the ecosystem is resilient), as opposed to becoming a very different ecosystem. Extreme fluctuations in conditions or the size of any population, however, can challenge the functioning of ecosystems in terms of resources and habitat availability. (HS-LS2-2),(HS-LS2-6)
  Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species. (HS-LS2-7)
Science and Engineering Practices: Developing and Using Models: Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show how relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds.
Develop and use a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (HS-LS1-2)
Use a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (HS-LS1-4), (HS-LS1-5), (HS-LS1-7)
Crosscutting Concepts:
Energy and Matter
Energy cannot be created or destroyed—it only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems. (HS-LS2-4)
Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems. (HS-LS2-3)
Crosscutting Concepts:
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs. (HS-LS2-1)
Using the concept of orders of magnitude allows one to understand how a model at one scale relates to a model at another scale. (HS-LS2-2)
Systems and System Models
Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales. (HS-LS2-5)
SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically (using appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation) such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose (e.g., argument, narrative, informative, response to literature presentations), audience, and task.
1. Students will learn to cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
2. Students will learn to determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
3. Students will learn to follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
1. Students will understand that the different levels of the Ecological Model are designed to demonstrate relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment.
2. Students will learn about the life of Philip Vera Cruz and his role in shaping both the Farm Worker’s Movement and the greater society.
1. “Lesson 1 - Grape Concept Map” Handout
2. “Lesson 2 - Ecological Model Notes” Handout
3. “Lesson 2 - Ecological Model” Slides
4. “Ecological Model Review” Handout
5. “The Ecological Model of a Grape” Handout
6. “The Ecology of a Grape” Reading
7. “Lesson 5 - Drawing a Social-Ecological Model“ Handout
8. “Lesson 6 - Read and Analyze Philip Vera Cruz“ Handout
9. “Lesson 7 - Philip Vera Cruz Social-Ecological Model Poster Assignment“ Handout
10. “United Farm Workers (UFW) Movement – Philip Vera Cruz, Unsung Hero“
11. “Unit Plan Biology Ecological Model and Philip Vera Cruz”

Recommended Supplemental Materials:
1. Biology textbook
2. Life Science or Inter-coordinated Science textbook

Materials Not Included:
1. 1 bag of grapes (or one grape per student)
2. LCD Projector & Screen/White Board
3. Markers and Colored Pencils
4. Poster Paper (at 3' x 3')
5. Timer
Abiotic Factors Ecology
Biome Ecosystem
Biosphere Habitat
Biotic Factors Organism
Community Population
Ecological Model Social-Ecological Model


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