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Lesson Three: Fallen Giant


  • Students will know that the types of organisms in an ecosystem depend on abiotic factors such as light, water, temperatures, and soil.
  • Students will know that the number of primary consumer depend on available edible plants.
  • Students will know that the amount and diversity of plant growth influences the types and diversity of life that can be supported in an ecosystem.
  • Students will know that seasonal changes and human influences affect the number of organisms which can be supported by an ecosystem.
Time Required
One class period

Materials Required
Notebook3_FallenGiant worksheet in Redwood Forest Ecology science notebook
Lesson3_Readings_FallenGiant handout (1 per group)

1.  Have students paste Notebook3_FallenGiant worksheet into their Redwood Forest Ecology science notebook.
2.  Begin the lesson by reading this mystery prompt to the class:

A giant has fallen and lies silently amidst other giants. Where is this giant? What caused this giant to fall? Is this giant dead? What will happen to it now?

3.  Divide class into groups of four.
4.  Each student is assigned two pages from Lesson3_Readings_FallenGiant and takes notes as they read.
5.  When finished reading each student shares information and clues from their excerpt with their team members for recording on the Redwood Forest Ecology Notebook page.
6.  Each group then discusses and proposes a solution to the mystery prompt.
7.  Groups present solutions to the class.
8.  The class discusses all solutions and can take a poll on most plausible solution if desired.
9.  Students record in the Redwood Forest Ecology Notebook the biotic and abiotic factors, the seasonal and human influences and other unique characteristics of the redwood forest ecosystem.

Extension Activities
Ask students to write a summary of what happened in the activity. Explore more interactive Web resources at