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T21 Project Goals

2009 New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards



5.3: All students will understand that life science principles are powerful conceptual tools for making sense of the complexity, diversity and interconnectedness of life on Earth. Order in natural systems can be modeled and predicted through the use of mathematics.

5.4: All students will understand that Earth operates as a set of complex, dynamic and interconnected systems, and is a part of all-encompassing system of the universe.


5.3.6.C Interdependence

5.4.6.F Climate and Weather

5.4.6.G Biogeochemical Cycles

Essential Questions

Enduring Understandings

·         What are the important aspects of our local environment?

·         How do we as students affect our local environment?

·         How does our environment affect us?

·         How do we as students, rely on our local environment?

·         How does scientific knowledge benefit, deepen and broaden from scientists sharing and debating ideas and information with peers?

Weather is the result of short-term variations in temperature, humidity, and air pressure.


Various human activities have changed the capacity of the environment to support some life forms.


The number of organisms and populations an ecosystem can support depends on the biotic resources available and on biotic factors, such as quantities of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition.


All organisms cause changes in the ecosystem in which they live. If this change reduces another organism’s access to resources, that organism may move to another location or die.


All animals and most plants depend on both other organisms and their environment to meet their basic needs


An ecosystem includes all of the plant and animal populations and nonliving resources in a given area. Organisms interact with each other and with other components of an ecosystem.


Personal activities impact the local and global environment.


Classroom Applications

Technology Integration

5.3.6. C.1: Explain the impact of meeting human needs and wants on local and global environments


5.3.6.C.2: Predict the impact that altering biotic and abiotic factors has on an ecosystem


5.3.6.C.3: Describe how one population of organism may affect other plants and/or animals in ecosystem.


5.4.6.F.1: Explain the interrelationships between daily temperature, air pressure and relative humidity data.


5.4.6.G.2: Create a model of ecosystems in two different locations and compare and contrast the living and nonliving components.


5.4.6.G.3: Describe the ways that humans can improve the health of ecosystems around the world.

Instructional Guidance

·         Step by step scientific method format to evaluate an environmental problem of our local environment.


Technology Integration

Students will use technology to research, collaborate, and create, including but not limited to the following:

·         Students will conduct online research of an environmental issue of their choice.

·         Students will utilize blogs, wikis, discussion boards, and/or email to collaborate and share ideas and findings.

·         Students will utilize online graphic organizers to interpret and represent data.

·         Students will utilize a digital media of their choice (Glogster, podcast, Google sites, etc) to convey findings and results.


Formative: Unit and Chapter tests on Weather, Ecosystems, and Ecology


Summative: See final project rubric for culminating activity.

As students, how can we reduce our ecological footprint in an effort to improve our local environment?
Throughout this year in science, students should keep the following essential questions in mind.
  • What are the important aspects of our local environment?
  • How do we, as students, affect our local environment? How does our environment affect us?
  • How do we, as students, rely on our local environment?

Many of the lessons and lab activities we complete in science class this year will help you answer these essential questions. Other important questions to consider will be addressed in the following units:
  1. What natural resources can be found in our local environment? What are alternative energy sources? What are the advantages/disadvantages of using these? Unit 5 - Natural resources (Chapter 11) 
  2. What factors create weather? What are the general weather patterns in our local environment? For example, storms, wind, tides... How does weather affect humans? How do humans impact weather patterns?   Unit 6 - Weather (Chapter 12)
  3. What are the important biotic and abiotic factors in our local environment? How has our environment changed in the past? What is your prediction for future changes? Units 7 & 8 - Ecosystems (Chapter 7)
Websites that may help:
Scientific method:
US EPA website
National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration
The Institute for Policy Studies
The Nature Conservancy
The Weather Channel
Kids for Saving Earth