Science Lesson – South Central Region

Lesson Plan Idea

My lesson plan idea originally involved using geology connecting it with how different phases of the rock cycle produces rocks with different characteristics that had been used to prehistoric tools. however since this is not my science area of interest I decided to change my plan.

Instead I will be creating a lesson plan about the local coastal ecosystem with a focus on an important keystone species, the sea otter, and how its near extinction could have had and still has major impacts on the alaskan coast as we now know it.

  1. Intended audience? Alaska region – grade, course, etc
    1. My intended class would likely be a high school,
      although it could be easily scaled for middle school biology/life science class.
  2. About how much class time to do this lesson?
    1. The lesson I’m hoping to design would hopefully take about one class period with some pre-learning or homework
  3. What’s the essential question?
    1. My essential questions are:
      1. What is a keystone species?
      2. How does a keystone species influence the local ecology?
      3. What are some human impacts that may effect a keystone species ability to survive?
  4. What source material would students use
    1. Read through this:
    2. Or this:
    3. or watch this great 20 min video:

Now for the hard part, what are the kids going to do. I’m not quite sure about this yet. Any feed back would be great, but I was thinking about giving students options to illustrate the Keystone species concept through art or for those less artistically inclined they can write something.

Any thoughts?

3 thoughts on “Science Lesson – South Central Region”

  1. Sweet! For an activity, you could make like a giant food web with the students (like with yarn) and see how cutting out one species affects all others that are dependent on it.
    I helped with an overfishing lesson once where students caught “fish” (popcorn) with “boats” (straws). We then looked at a food chain and saw how destroying one essential population killed everything above it and led to imbalances below it. It could be tailored to sea otter extinction through the Russians with a stretch, I believe.


  2. Great subject – let’s think about what the students do. I suppose there’s a lesson (with blocks?) on how a keystone works in an arch. At least that helps them understand the metaphor.

    I’m also wondering if you could have a American Idol -like contest with different species competing for the title of Keystone Species. Students could work together to develop the judging criteria.

    It would be loads of fun and they could develop live (or digital) presentations to make their case. Another group of students (or adults) could be the judging panel.

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