Interactions in Ecosystems Science Games7 games
In this series of games, your students will learn about nature’s ecosystems and how their inhabitants coexist. The Interactions in Ecosystems learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom, as demonstrated by research.
Scroll down for a preview of this learning objective’s games and the concepts they drive home.
The combination of living things and the environment they live in is called an ecosystem. Ecosystems are affected by biotic and abiotic factors.
Abiotic factors are all of the non-living things in an ecosystem. These include things like climate, temperature, what nutrients are available, how much sunlight is available, pH levels, and much more.
Changes in abiotic factors can have strong impacts on an ecosystem. They can come from natural causes, like earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods. They can also be human-driven, like climate change, pollution, and deforestation.
Biotic factors are all of the organisms in an ecosystem. They compete for food, water, shelter, living space, and other resources in their environment. They are also interdependent, which means any change in the population of one species affects the other species.
For example, if a disease or environmental change causes the population of small prey animals to decrease, the small predators that eat them will experience a food shortage. If those small predators start to die out, it will affect the larger predators that eat them.
On the other hand, if there is an increase in plant-eating animals, that can cut down the population of plants. Plants turn sunlight into usable energy for the whole ecosystem, so this can greatly disrupt the entire environment’s food supply. If the plant population depletes too much, the herbivores cannot survive, and in turn, the carnivores that need to eat them die too.
A preview of each game in the learning objective is found below.
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