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The unit objectives will be met by developing three ecosystems: an aquarium, a terrarium, and a vivarium (a terrarium with animals). I feel the care and responsibility for large animals such as rabbits and Guinea pigs would be both limiting and overwhelming. Microcosms— self-contained communities—provide more opportunities for learning.
Teachers who use this unit are invited to be creative in developing an aquarium with tropical fish, a terrarium with a desert climate, and a vivarium with a bog with newts and African frogs. I have written the unit to be easy to follow the steps in developing these ecosystems, but there is great latitude for creative expression.
Science encompasses virtually every aspect of our lives. Using this unit as a start, the stage would be set to explore broader environmental issues such as endangered animals, Biosphere II, or of great importance, how individuals can make a difference in preserving ecology.
New Haven has a wealth of resources with programs in science for our city’s children. The unit includes information about these resources and several books written for the K-2 level full of great ideas for science activities. Also included are lesson plans and an extensive list of recommended reading for students.
(Recommended for Science, Art, and Language Arts, grades K-2)
Ecosystems Ecology Environmental Science Aquariums Terrariums