Engage: Welcome to The Neighborhood

Take a moment and look at the two images above. The larger image is lava from a volcano. The smaller image is of a fern growing in the lava. How do you think the fern got there? How is it growing? Is there something special about the fern or the lava? Can other plants grow in little or no soil? What's the story here?

Watch the following video, and pay close attention to the explanation of how bare rock can become a complex ecosystem.

Stages of Primary Succession - YouTube.mp4

Loading Video...
Source: 
Published by Novanet and download from You Tube

Explain: Putting It All Together

Ecologicalsuccession.mp4

Loading Video...
Source: 
This video was downloaded from You Tube.

The video above is a brief tutorial about ecological succession. You can use the vocabulary from the video to play the following succession vocabulary matching activity.

Elaborate: There Goes the Neighborhood

It might be easy to understand terrestrial succession now that you have had a chance to become more familiar with it. What about areas of water, such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans? Do these bodies of water ever change over time? To find out, play the Pond Succession game below.

Teacher Notes

Instruction

This resource can be used for instruction in the following ways:

  • You can use a single computer and projector to deliver whole-class instruction.
  • Implement instruction in a setting that includes a combination of teacher computer/projector and individual student computers (in either a computer lab or other 1:1 environment).
  • Assign specific activities for students to do outside of the school day as part of a "flipped classroom" to allow for application, practice, and additional support during the school day.
  • Integrate the resource into tutorials.
  • Share the links with parents in order to inform them about what their child is learning in school.
  • Assign the resource to students who are unable to participate in the traditional classroom environment.

Differentiation of Content Approaches

Succession is often a difficult concept for students to grasp. After all, to "see" succession, you would have to intentionally watch an area change over a period of time, and students may not understand the implications, even if they observed changes.

Let's look at a few suggestions to extend or differentiate the lesson.

Engage: Welcome to the Neighborhood

Students observe a picture of bare rock and a second picture of fern growing in rock. Students then view a video that explains how pioneer plants make an area habitable for more complex plants.

Strategies that you may want to consider are listed below.

  • Ask students to design questions about succession that pairs or small groups of students could research in the resource or on the web. 
  • Assign a field study where students observe an area in their neighborhood over a designated time frame, make predictions of changes, and document observations.
  • Display a Hawaiian Island mature forest, and ask groups of two or three students to create an explanation in writing about how the area went from bare rock to tropical paradise.

Explain: Putting It All Together

This section includes a YouTube tutorial video and a succession vocabulary game.

Strategies that you may want to consider are listed below.

  • Place students in groups of two or three, and challenge them to design a vocabulary memory game using the vocabulary in this section.
  • Ask students to partner with someone for a vocabulary guessing game. Ask partners to stand shoulder to shoulder. One student faces the screen and the other faces away from the screen. Project one vocabulary term at a time on the screen. The students facing the screen provide hints to their partners to get them to identify the word. They raise their hand every time their partner identifies the word correctly. After four terms, ask the students to reverse roles and repeat the process.
  • Use the "Alternate Frayer Model" document in the "Related Items" section below.

Elaborate: There Goes the Neighborhood

In this section, students participate in an animated activity where they learn how succession of a lake occurs. The animation requires students to sequence drawings of lake succession into a logical order. A checkpoint question helps students check their understanding of the concept.

Strategies that you may want to consider are listed below.

  • Ask students to design a series of questions to ask about terrestrial and marine succession, primary and secondary succession, etc. Collect the questions, and reassign them to individuals or small teams of students to research and share with the whole class. 

**Note: These questions may be different than those written in the Engage section since the students have learned more detailed information about succession.

  • Ask students to tell the story of succession in a way they choose. Options could include a storyboard, a descriptive essay, a video, an infographic, etc.

**Note: If your students wrote an explanation of succession as referenced in the Engage section, it might be interesting to compare the first explanation with the final product from the Elaborate section.

 Related Items:

There are additional resources at the bottom of the page. Some can be used as extensions for advanced learners or support for learners challenged by the concept of succession.