Exploring Ecosystems through Travel 5th grade ELA Unit 2

Exploring Ecosystems through
In this lesson students will explore the diversity of six distinct ecosystems.
They will use non-fiction trade books & websites to explore plants, wildlife, &
other distinguishing features for these places.
Students will create a travel brochure that highlights what they have
learned about various ecosystems.
Student teams will present brochures to the class.
Standards Met:
Skills addressed:
• Summarize information.
• Comprehend, analyze & evaluate
multiple sources of information.
• Interpret visual media.
• Synthesize information from multiple
sources into one document.
• Make connections between new
information & prior knowledge.
• Participate in group activities.
Web sites:
• All About Rainforests
• Rainforest Live!
• What’s It Like Where You Live?
• Tropical Rainforests
•Grassland Ecosystem Profile:
• Ask Earl
• Grasslands
• The Aquatic Biome
Activity One- Set the Stage:
In this initial activity, discuss the two major types of
ecosystems (aquatic& terrestrial) & how they are divided into
increasingly more specific categories (Slide 6).
Ask students to infer the ecosystem based on the animals
presented in the slideshow (Slides 7-12)
The goal of the activity is to stimulate
students' interest in exploring the
diverse ecosystems by asking them to
use clues to make predictions.
Tell the class that they are going to
learn more about these six ecosystems.
Salt Marsh
Which Ecosystem?
Which Ecosystem?
Which Ecosystem?
Which Ecosystem?
Which Ecosystem?
Which Ecosystem?
Activity 2:
Divide the class into six groups.
Provide students with the following scenario:
“You are a travel agent for “Explore Your World Travel Company”, a
eco-tourism company that helps people plan vacations to locations
around the world in order to learn more about different ecosystems.
Your job is to collaborate with your team to create an electronic travel
brochure in response to a letter from a potential client.”
Provide each group its assigned letter (Slides 15-21)
& a list of Internet resources &
non-fiction trade books.
Have the group divide the
labor out among themselves
in order to get the job done.
Dear EekoTravel Agent:
My name is Ella Ongtooguk. I live in Barrow, Alaska, with my
parents & my two brothers. I am in the fifth grade. Barrow is the
northernmost settlement in Alaska.
It is 340 miles north of the Artic Circle!
My family wants to surprise my oldest brother Sam with a college
graduation trip to a tropical rainforest. I would like your help in
planning this trip. Everyone in my family is very interested in
conservation, & we would like to learn everything we can about the
rainforest before we travel. Can you send us information?
We want to learn about the plants, the animals, the climate & the
problems of this unique ecosystem. We know that there are
rainforests all over the world. Could you send us a map of
locations so we can decide which one to visit?
In Barrow it is below freezing over 300 days during the year, & in
the summer the average temperature is 40 degrees. I think we
would greatly enjoy our experience in the tropical rainforest.
Thank you for your help.
Ella Ongtooguk
Dear EekoTravel Agent:
I would like to visit a prairie park. I started a Web site with prairie
photographs & would like to add to my collection. Some of the photographs I
already have include prairie dogs, pronghorns & the sweet coneflower plant.
I know that in the United States, the wild prairie has mostly disappeared &
that only a few spots of wild prairie remain. Most have been converted to
commercial farms. Could you send me a map of prairie locations in the United
I will be traveling with my grandpa. He wants me to see this ecosystem,
because he has memories of it from his own childhood. Can you send me
information about food webs? I want to see how the animals in my photos are
Thank you,
Dear EekoTravel Agent:
I have never seen the ocean, & my grandmother
has decided to take my sister & me on a trip this
summer to see this wonderful sight.
The aquatic ecosystem is so diverse that we had a
hard time deciding where to go. We've decided
that we want to see the Atlantic Ocean near the
I did a report in my fifth grade class on clown fish,
& my sister loves sea horses.
Please send us any information you can find on
this ecosystem.
Maria Elena
Dear Eeko Travel agent:
My family lives near Yellowstone National Park, so we
love to be outside. We have camped in the mountains & on
prairies, but one place we have never been to is an estuary!
My cousin, Leah, lives on the coast of North Carolina &
tells me that they have lots of estuaries there. I am trying
to convince my parents to take me there for summer break,
but I need more information to make my case.
What does the food web look like in an estuary? I really
don’t know what kinds of plants & animals we can expect
to see.
Any information you could provide would be great!
Haven Sanchez
Dear Eeko Travel agent:
I am a New York City native who has always wanted to see
the country. My best friend always talks about going
camping & fishing near her grandma’s pond in Tennessee. I
think that it would be fun to do!
I am amazed by the abundance of plants & wildlife that live
in the pond ecosystem. Since much of my life is filled with
crowded streets, I try to spend my vacations in quieter
Before I take a trip, I try to learn as much as I can about
ponds. I want to be sure I have the right equipment for
camping & fishing!
Please send me as much information about this ecosystem
as you can find.
Joe Miller
Dear Eeko Travel agent:
I was hoping that you would be able to help me plan a
vacation for my family.
We live on the big island of Hawaii. We are surrounded by
the Pacific Ocean & enjoy being outside. We surf, swim, &
hike every weekend.
I would love to surprise my children by bringing them to the
main land of the United States to visit North Carolina’s
Deciduous Forest!
My children have never seen the leaves turn colors & fall
off of the trees!
Could you please send me some information about the
forest? I would like to prepare my children for what kinds
of plants & animals they will see there.
Thanks for your help!
Ailani Kameia

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