Educator Resources for Close-Knit Neighbors
In Close-Knit Neighbors, students create their own ecosystem by rearranging the different communities in a jar of pond mud. It may just look like muck, but the mud is actually a complex community of different organisms. Near the top, algae grow and make oxygen from the light. Near the bottom, bacteria feed on sulfur compounds. In between, different communities live wherever is best for them, eating chemicals produced by the things around them and avoiding chemicals that poison them. As students hover the mouse over different types of bacteria, they’ll learn where the bacteria would prefer to live in the ecosystem jar. You can use the Close-Knit Neighbors game as a starting point when teaching students about the characteristics of a sustainable ecosystem.
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In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3 through 8, students use BrainPOP resources to explore symbiosis and how living things need one another to survive. Students will then create a sustainable ecosystem through virtual game play by correctly layering the different communities in a Winogradsky Column.