Tag Archives: trophic levels

Ecology resources for students: Part 1

Good afternoon!

I’m back with another set of bookmarks for students and teachers. Because I’ve taught the IB Environmental systems and societies course for several years, this set of online resources is closest to my heart. Some of these links are here simply because I think they’re cool or fun. Many may also be applicable for studying biology and chemistry as well. Let’s get to it:

Happy learning!


Mr K

One last revision note before the test…

Here’s the last part of revision for the test coming up at the end of this week. I’ve saved the Keynote from class as a PDF, which you can view and download below.

What’s on the 9th-Grade Biology Test?

We are 1 week from the summative unit test in grade 9 science, which means it’s time to start revising. Here’s a list of the major topics you’re likely to find on the test.

  • Cell structure and function
  • Plant vs animal
  • Biological molecules
  • Energy flow through ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycles within ecosystems
  • Photosynthesis and respiration
  • Food webs
  • Levels of organization
  • Trophic levels

There will be several skills assessed on the test: recalling scientific facts (vocabulary and definitions, labeling diagrams), explaining scientific concepts, analyzing results, and evaluating trends in experimental data. Make sure you know this stuff well!


The Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles

Biogeochemical cycles trace the movement of matter and nutrients through living organisms (“bio-“), planetary systems (“geo-“) and chemical reactions (“chemical”) throughout every part of Earth. The carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle are possibly the 2 most important biogeochemical cycles on Earth. Here are a few fun videos to help you learn about these two essential cycles in our study of life and ecology.

First, a nice explanation of the carbon cycle:

Second, a little carbon music video:

Third, click on this link to BBC Bitesize Science for a very well-thought-out activity about the carbon cycle. It incorporates photosynthesis, respiration, biological molecules, and trophic levels.

Fourth, this animated tutorial found at W.H. Freeman thoroughly explains each step in the nitrogen cycle. While not super exciting, it’s well-done and includes a brief 3-question quiz.

Fifth, CrashCourse Science at YouTube offers us this entertaining and educational video about the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles (You don’t have to know about the phosphorus cycle in this class, but it’s helpful if you take more advanced biology courses):

Energy and Nutrient Flows in Ecosystems

I found this presentation while looking through some stuff over at Slideshare.net, which is a pretty good resource for school notes if you haven’t found it yet. The teacher for this class includes almost everything that we need to know about the differences between the movement of energy and nutrients through and within ecosystems, respectively.

The key points I want you to remember about this topic are as follows:

  1. Energy enters, flows through, and leaves a system.
  2. Nutrients cycle repeatedly within the system.
  3. Most of the energy at any trophic level is lost before it can be used by the next trophic level.
  4. Energy is lost 3 main ways:
    • heat
    • waste (feces and tissue loss)
    • used for respiration

The video below is also fairly helpful. What I like about it is the blank energy and nutrient diagram he fills in as he moves through the ecosystem. It’s a nice approach to a possible future test question (hint, hint).

What’s on the Biology Quiz?!?

Image Credit: by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator, via school.discoveryeducation.com

Image Credit: by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator, via school.discoveryeducation.com

I’ve heard this question a bunch of times already this week, and it’s only Tuesday morning! If you’ve been paying attention in class, you should already have a pretty good idea of what will be on the quiz. If you haven’t been paying attention, I’m going to give you a couple of hints in this post.

Quiz Dates

  • 9A + 9C: Friday 4 October
  • 9B: Monday 7 October

Quiz Format

  • Criterion C1: Explaining Scientific Information
  • Level 1-2 Questions: Matching definitions with vocabulary, labeling diagrams
  • Level 3-4 Questions: Identifying and correcting True/False statements
  • Level 5-6 Questions: Describing and explaining scientific concepts.

Quiz Topics

  • Cell structure and function
  • Biological molecules
  • Ecological pyramids
  • Food webs
  • Trophic levels

Biology – key vocabulary

proteinsimage source: filebox.vt.edu

Welcome to the biology unit, kids! I’ve added a couple of helpful documents to this post, which you will want to refer to as we move through our unit on the organization of life on Earth.

The first document, G9 Biology Vocabulary, is an outline of the major concepts in this unit. It’s basically a big list of important vocabulary words. I’ve intentionally left out the definitions, examples, and explanations, because that’s what you need to add – that’s how you learn! You should download this document and add to it as we cover different topics during the unit.

The second document, G9 Biology vocabulary matchup, is the collection of cards we used in class. You’ll find vocabulary terms and definitions organized into columns and sorted by topic. This will be a nice reference in case you miss something during a class.