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Water and Decomposition

Grade Level: 6-12

Introduction: Students will use Canopy In The Clouds media to examine the effect of water on decomposition. Students will create an original procedure to test a scientific question about decomposition and then build and deploy decomposition bags in their local ecosystem. Mass of material inside the decomposition bag will be weighed over time to determine the rate of decomposition. This lesson can be used in combination with, or as a supplement to, the Decomposition Experiment lesson.

Objectives: Students will be able to 1) explain the importance of decomposition in the cloud forest ecosystem 2) evaluate the role of water in decomposition 3) measure the rate of decomposition in the local ecosystem.

National Science Standards: Science as Inquiry, Matter, energy and organization in living systems

Time: 3+ class periods: 1) one class for introduction, Canopy In The Clouds media viewing, and procedure planning, 2) one class for decomposition bag creation and deployment. Data collection may occur over several months, and 3) one class for final data collection, clean up, data analysis and conclusion creation.


Lesson Plan: PDF | DOC

Worksheets: PDF | DOC

Related Plans:

  1. Soil Basics: Function and Variation
  2. Nutrient Cycling
  3. Microhabitats: The Habitat of the Rotting Log
  4. Water and Decomposition
  5. Plant Rooting Strategies


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