Build understanding of past and current ecosystems
Understand factors that affect animal survival in an ecosystem
Discuss the baby elephant's ecosystem
What is an ecosystem? An ecosystem is a community of living organisms and their non-living surroundings in a given area.
A community, like a pond, can be an ecosystem if an organism has all it needs to survive--water, food, shelter, and space. A forest can also be seen as an ecosystem. Climate affects ecosystems. Climate is the typical weather of an area experienced over many years that includes sunlight, rainfall, wind, snow, temperature.
Ecosystems found in a large geographical region that has its own distinctive climate, plants and animals are called a biomes.
Ocean, freshwater, desert, mountain, forest, grassland, rainforest, tundra are some biomes.
LIVING/Biotic: Plants, Animals, MicroorganismsProducers/Consumers, Herbivores, Carnivores, Omnivores, Scavengers, Decomposers
NON-LIVING/Abiotic: Air, Water, Rocks, Soil
We live on a dynamic planet. You are visiting the Cleveland Museum of Natural History this week and will be seeing how our planet has changed over time. You will see prehistoric dinosaurs, mammoths and mastodons. Next week, you will see live elephants at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
NOTE: Verna Aardema's Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain is a wonderful story to all share. It illustrates interdependence of living and non-living elements in an ecosystem.
For older students:
Biomes and Ecosystems by Barbara Davis
From: A MAMMOTH WORLD. Authors:Witze, Alexandra Source: Science News; 11/24/2018, Vol. 194 Issue 10, p22-27, 6p, 10 Color Photographs, 1 Graph (access Infohio.org)
"Ernie" is the largest fossil mastodon ever found in North America at the Gray Fossil Site in Tennessee.
Experts believe mammoths and mastodons probably went extinct because of some combination of human hunting and climate change, with those factors varying around the globe. Different species winked out at different times in different locations; most vanished by around 11,000 years ago as the great northern ice sheets receded and temperatures rose.
Metroparks' Connections to Africa Kit includes - a cast of an elephant foot and elephant tooth. We will share these casts, and elephant poop! - and provide a hands-on inspection of real ancient fossils from our area and a dinosaur craft to take home.