Student Exploration: Prairie Ecosystem
Vocabulary: carnivore, consumer, ecosystem, equilibrium, extinct, food chain, herbivore, organism, population, prairie, producer
Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.)
An ecosystem consists of all organisms (living things) in an area, plus the natural landscape.
A prairie is flat or gently rolling grassland with few trees, such as in parts of central United States and Canada.
Organisms often found in a prairie ecosystem include prairie dogs, swift foxes, black-footed ferrets, and of course the grass itself.
Which organism (grass, prairie dog, ferret, or fox) do you think is a producer (does not depend on other organisms for its food)?.
Organisms that depend on other organisms for food are consumers. Which consumer you think is a herbivore (eats plants only)?.
Which consumers are carnivores (eat meat)?.
Gizmo Warm-up: Life on the Prairie
The population of prairie dogs is all the prairie dogs living in the village. In the Gizmo, what are the starting numbers of
Click Advance year 10 times. On the Data tab, look at the Bar graphs and the Line graph. Do the populations change very much, or are they in equilibrium (stable)? Explain.
Get the Gizmo ready:
Be sure Show population is selected.
Question: How is grass important to a prairie ecosystem?