3-5 Activities

Communities & Ecosystems

The South Carolina Aquarium, in partnership with teachers, has created this online curriculum for teachers to use with their students in the classroom. The curriculum theme for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade is Communities and Ecosystems. The activities teach concepts that build on this theme. All activities are based upon South Carolina Science Standards, and each activity contains background information, procedures, materials lists, standards addressed, assessments, curriculum extensions and resource lists. We hope teachers will enjoy this resource!

If you are a teacher planning to bring your students to the Aquarium to participate in our Communities and Ecosystems (Food Chains and Adaptations) classroom program, we recommend completing the following activities before your visit. Those activities include: Communities and Ecosystems, Food Chains and Webs, and Adaptations

eco
Recommended Pre-visit Activity

Students will be given clues on cards regarding biotic and abiotic factors from three ecosystems within three different regions of South Carolina. They will use those clues to determine the regional ecosystem where they can be found.

food-chains-webs
Recommended Pre-visit Activity

The students will use organism cards to build a pond food chain. They will learn the name of each organism’s role in the food chain (producer, consumer, apex consumer, and decomposer). They will then take those food chains and build an interconnected pond food web to see the complex relationships between organisms in the habitat.

adapt
Recommended Pre-visit Activity

Students will compare household objects to the adaptations of animals to determine how animals and plants survive in their habitats.

sculpting

Students will explore the six geographic regions of South Carolina while taking special notice of each region’s elevation, average precipitation and overall basic geology.

plats

Students will use baking goods to simulate what plants do to produce their own food. After this introduction, they will conduct an experiment to see what happens to plant leaves that are deprived of sunlight.

consumers

Students will examine and categorize different food items that people eat to learn the concepts: consumer, herbivore, carnivore and omnivore.

food

The students will participate in an active game in which they learn the identity of organisms in two salt marsh food chains. They will discover the roles (niches) that the organisms play in each food chain. They will also examine the way that energy flows through the food chain, including the loss of energy.

dec

Students will conduct an experiment in which they observe: 1. the rate of decomposition of different organic and inorganic materials 2. the effect that worms have on the rate of decomposition of these materials and on soil quality 

rec

Students will conduct an experiment on decomposition by placing different types of food sprayed with water in glass jars, sealing the jars and observing what happens to the food over time.

helping
Recommended Post-visit Activity

Students will investigate and describe what the wildlife communities are like in and around their town, and what they may have been like before people started to live there. They will design and implement an action project to help wildlife communities.