• Understand the organization of ecosystems

  • Describe interactions between organisms

  • Identify biomes of the world

Key Concept

  • Within an ecosystem, organisms interact with one another and with nonliving things in their environment.


Tier 2 environment
Tier 3 biome
food chain
Test Words prediction

21st Century Skill

  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills: Write the words independently and collaboratively on the board. Ask students to explain what these words mean when they are applied to how people work. Invite students to give examples of times they have worked collaboratively to complete a project. Then read the text in the sidebar as a class. Ask students to consider the text and the examples they shared to answer the following questions: How do sharing your ideas and considering people’s responses to those ideas challenge you to be more creative? How does sharing responsibility for completing a task increase a group’s productivity?

Interactive Strategy

  • Biomes Map: Have students predict where world Biomes located. Gather information from the text and label where biomes are located. Check student responses using PowerPoint.

Writing Practice

  • Using Reference Sources to Understand Meaning

  • Identify Stages of a Food Chain

  • Have partners exchange their predictions about biomes and tell why the predictions did or did not match the text.

Before Lesson

Determine students’ readiness for learning by discussing prior knowledge about how organisms interact with their environment. Remind students that the word organisms includes not only animals but also plants and even microorganisms. Ask students to start by thinking about the environment outside their school. Then have them consider environments that are very unlike the school environment. Lead a discussion with the class about how the nature of the environment affects the organisms that live in it.


Ask students to think of examples of ways they interact with their environment at home, at school, or at work. Remind students that they interact with other people, with furniture, with appliances and other machines, with the air they breathe, and with the water and food they ingest. Discuss cause-and-effect relationships among these interactions and what the consequences of removing items from these environments might be.

Guided Practice

  • Communities of Living Things
    • Organisms in the Environment
    • Energy Cycles
    • Biomes
      • Deserts
      • Tundras
      • Grasslands
      • Tropical Rain Forests
      • Temperate Forests
      • Oceans
      • Freshwater Areas
    • Protecting Biomes
    • Ecology

Core Skill

Analyze Author’s Purpose: Reviewing the way the text is structured can be helpful in analyzing an author’s purpose. Have students review the information about biomes on this page and the next. Ask students whether they think the author had a purpose in organizing the biomes in the order shown. Have students provide the reasoning behind their answers.

Understand Text: Read the text as a class. Then ask students to think about the ecosystem models they created and the labels they used to identify organisms in their models. Ask students to explain the relationship between the labels in their models and jargon. Invite students to share other examples of texts they have read that contained jargon. Ask students to explain the value of identifying and interpreting jargon before they use a product.


Using Reference Sources to Understand Meaning: Tell students that a thesaurus is a good reference source. Have them look up vocabulary terms they do not know to locate synonyms that are more familiar. Have them use those synonyms in meaningful sentences, and then replace those familiar terms with the lesson vocabulary term.

Identify Stages of a Food Chain: Have students select a particular biome, such as a desert. Have them create a diagram of a typical food chain within that biome. The food chain should include a producer, an herbivore, and a carnivore. Invite students to present their diagrams to the class in a creative way.

Lesson Review