Flow of Matter and Energy in Ecosystems


SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

Flow of Matter and Energy in Ecosystems SciGuide includes a variety of resources that explore the relationships and interactive on matter and energy in ecosystem as well as concentrating on carbon and it's role in ecosystems.

  • Middle

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Reviews (5)
  • on Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:56 PM

SciGuides are really fantastic.When it's time to teach about ecosystems, I can be confident knowing I'll have the Flow of Matter and Energy in Ecosystems SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:51 PM

I liked that there were a variety of resources for each theme. I saw for the "Life in Balance" lesson plan that no internet resources were necessary. I actually liked this lesson because it requires students to go outside and explore the ecosystems around them. I also liked the "Carbon Footprint" lesson. I think the students would like the "Carbon Footprint Calculator" because it would help them to see how much greenhouse gas emissions are released every year. Overall, I would like to use this in the middle school classroom!


  • on Thu May 09, 2013 12:46 AM

While there appears to be a great deal of resources when browsing through the SciGuide, most of the links lead you to the same site with different keyword searches. At first this turned me off, but realized that using the links through the NSTA SciGuide gave me access that I did not have by merely registering on my own. With that said, the links provided many resources that I can use with my fourth grade students. The content and resources in this SciGuide are easily adaptable for grades K-12. I especially liked the sites about ecosystems, food chains/webs, and producers/consumers/decomposers. Many of the sites were student-friendly and would be a great way for my students to interactively learn about life science. I am happy to have a collection of resources available to use at my disposal.

Lauren Lee
Lauren Lee

  • on Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:49 AM

The Flow of Matter and Energy in Ecosystems SciGuide was a wonderful resource to refresh my knowledge on matter and energy flow. Although it is designed around middle school content, I felt that the information presented could easily be utilized by all teachers, K-12. The information in this SciGuide was presented well in a clear and logical order that was easy to follow. As a teacher from Hawaii, I loved how it included examples from Hawaii’s ecosystems, including coral reef ecosystems. It taught me things I didn’t know and helped to reinforce concepts I had forgotten about. The examples they gave could be used with my students as part of a place-based science unit. I am even considering taking my students to the Waikiki Aquarium to teach the concepts from this SciGuide, since the mini aquariums at the Waikiki Aquarium show the diverse ecosystems in Hawaii’s waters. Although I was very impressed overall with this SciGuide, there were some flaws that I could not help but fixate on. While it may just be a browser problem, the video pop-ups would not close when I tried to exit them. I had to force quit the program and re-start it again in order to continue. Another minor annoyance was with the interactive activities where you had to draw arrows or click on specific spots to answer the questions. The program only responded when I clicked on the exact spot it was looking for. Even when I was only less than a centimeter off in my click, it would not register and said my answer was incorrect. It took forever to complete these activities and the stress it caused far outweighed any benefits gained from completing the activities. Another downfall to this SciGuide was that it did not include information on the Nitrogen Cycle in its cycling of matter section. Knowledge of the Nitrogen Cycle is a requirement for students in my state and I felt that it should have been touched upon in this SciGuide. There were also a couple of questions in the assessments that had answers that contradicted the information presented in the SciGuide. For example, one of the questions on an assessment was to identify all the processes that emit carbon as a product. Photosynthesis was an option, which I clicked on because photosynthesis gives off carbon in the form of glucose, but it was considered incorrect. The fact that it didn’t consider that a correct answer made me somewhat question the credibility of the questions on the assessments. Aside from these minor flaws, I was overall very happy upon completing this SciPack and would recommend it to any science teacher looking to refresh their knowledge on matter and energy flow. It will give teachers of all grade levels tons of ideas on how to teach these concepts to their students in creative and fun ways.

Heidi Stevens  (Kapolei, Hawaii)
Heidi Stevens (Kapolei, Hawaii)

  • on Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:54 PM

I found this sciguide to be very interesting. It has been a while since I have thought about my world. On the news I hear about global warming and I know I should recycle, but I tend to disassociate myself from these HUGE issues. Though this is a middle school sciguide, I chose it because I found it interesting and important to look into. I think I can easily change a few things to fit into my second grade setting. I don't think it is every too early to start educating young minds about the importance of the earth and taking care of it. If we do not take action in preserving our earth, the carbon emissions are just going to keep increasing which is eventually be devastating. I would love to incorporate this sciguide topic into my habitat unit with my students. They are all aware of the basics of how plants grow and what animals and humans need to survive, but talking about what happens to our environment if the flow of energy were to change would be awesome. I really think they could see how our choices greatly affect the world we take for granted. I can't wait to introduce this to them :)

Elena S
Elena S

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