Standards Database Logo
Home | Browse | Search | Purpose | History | Process | Acknowledgment| Reference




Standard 8.Understands the characteristics of ecosystems on Earth's surface
  Level Pre-K (Grade Pre-K)
   1. Not appropriate for this level
  Level I (Grade K-2)
   1. Not appropriate for this level
  Level II (Grade 3-5)
   1. Knows the components of ecosystems at a variety of scales (e.g., fungi, insects, plants, and animals in a food chain or food web; fish and marine vegetation in coastal zones; grasses, birds, and insects in grassland areas)
   2. Knows ways in which humans can change ecosystems (e.g., clearing forests, widening channels of waterways, draining wetlands, wetting or suppressing fires)
   3. Knows plants and animals associated with various vegetation and climatic regions on Earth (e.g., the plant and animal life supported in a midlatitude forest in North America, the kinds of plants and animals found in a tropical rain forest in Africa, animals and trees that thrive in cities)
  Level III (Grade 6-8)
   1. Understands the distribution of ecosystems from local to global scales (e.g., the consequences of differences in soils, climates, and human and natural disturbances)
   2. Understands the functions and dynamics of ecosystems (e.g., interdependence of flora and fauna, the flow of energy and the cycling of energy, feeding levels and location of elements in the food chain)  A 
   3. Understands ecosystems in terms of their characteristics and ability to withstand stress caused by physical events (e.g., a river system adjusting to the arrival of introduced plant species such as hydrilla; regrowth of a forest after a forest fire; effects of disease on specific populations)
   4. Knows changes that have occurred over time in ecosystems in the local region (e.g., natural wetlands on a flood plain being replaced by farms, farmlands on a flood plain being replaced by housing developments)
   5. Knows the potential impact of human activities within a given ecosystem on the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles (e.g., the role of air pollution in atmospheric warming or the growing of peas and other legumes, which supply their own nitrogen and do not deplete the soil)
   6. Understands the life cycle of a lake ecosystem from birth to death (including the process of eutrophication)
  Level IV (Grade 9-12)
   1. Understands how relationships between soil, climate, and plant and animal life affect the distribution of ecosystems (e.g., effects of solar energy and water supply on the nature of plant communities)
   2. Knows ecosystems in terms of their biodiversity and productivity (e.g., the low productivity of deserts and the high productivity of midlatitude forests and tropical forests) and their potential value to all living things (e.g., as a source of oxygen for life forms, as a source of food for indigenous peoples, as a source of raw materials for international trade)
   3. Knows the effects of biological magnification in ecosystems (e.g., the increase in contaminants in succeeding levels of the food chain and the consequences for different life forms)
   4. Knows the effects of both physical and human changes in ecosystems (e.g., the disruption of energy flows and chemical cycles and the reduction of species diversity, how acid rain resulting from air pollution affects water bodies and forests and how depletion of the atmosphere's ozone layer through the use of chemicals may affect the health of humans)

 A  = Assessment items available