Student Exploration: Forest Ecosystem
Vocabulary: consumer, decomposer, inorganic, organic, organism, population, producer
Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.)
When a rancher puts cattle in a pasture, what happens to the amount of grass in it?
If someone adds millions of small fish to a lake, how would the number of big fish change?
The Forest Ecosystem Gizmo™ shows you the effects of adding organisms to, or taking them from, a forest. An organism is any living thing. To start, do the following:
Press Reset on the Gizmo.
Click Advance year a couple times to see two years of growth.
Remove all deer from the forest by clicking the minus (-) button until none remain.
Click Advance year a couple more times.
Select the DATA tab. Select Pictograph and click the Tree to show the size of the tree population for the past several years. How did removing deer affect the tree population? Why do you think this happened?
Under Choose organism, select the Mushroom. How did losing deer affect the mushroom population? Explain why this occurred.
Get the Gizmo ready:
Select the FOREST tab.
Question: What role do trees play in the forest?
Form hypothesis: Where do you think trees get the nutrients they need to grow?
Predict: Based on your hypothesis, how will the tree population change if ALL other organisms (deer, bears, and mushrooms) are removed from the forest?