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This curriculum unit will explore species diversity in a number of different ecosystems. The ecosystems will be differentiated according to the amount of land management being practiced on them by humans. So, for example, a city park with swings, paved paths, and a soccer field would be considered one ecosystem while a state park in the same area with unpaved walking trails and open meadows would be considered a different ecosystem.
In this unit ecosystems are used as a way to study many related topics. Classification and taxonomy are essential for identification of organisms found in any ecosystem. Statistics and other mathematical tools also fit well into this curriculum unit as it is impossible to count every organism within the large areas we will study. Reading for content will be necessary to obtain information about the different ecosystems we will study in this unit. Strictly speaking, statistics and reading skills are not the purview of most science departments, but without the math and language backgrounds provided by these two activities, the observations made by the students are useless. So, there will be scientific topics covered in this unit as well as many topics typically covered in other classes.
(Recommended for Ecology, Biology and Integrated Science, grades 9-12.)