What is the difference between a biome, ecosystem, and habitat? What is a food web? What is the energy pyramid? What is symbiosis? How do different species interact? What in the world is amensalism or antiobiosis?! These are some of the things we covered in our latest biology unit!
How We Started Our unit on Biomes: This semester we started with an overview of the main biomes. The kids could come up with the names for all of them, though not the more specialized words (like taiga or chaparral.) In our biology packet, we have several different notebook pages on the main biomes. The kids did the “fill in the blank” version as we highlighted some of the main features of each biome (there’s also one that is completely filled in, one that just has the biome name and students can write in their own information, and a matching page (which my kids did a couple of weeks later):
In the packet, there are full-sized (8 1/2 by 11) photos of each biome. I chose to print 4 per page which worked well for our needs. I laminated them and cut them apart.
What are the major biomes?
- Alpine Tundra
- Boreal Forest or Taiga
- Deciduous Forests
- Tropical Savannas
- Tropical Rain Forest
As we kicked off our unit, I had the kids choose a biome and they each did research and give a 3 to 5 minute speech on what they learned. They actually loved that! LD did deserts; DD did hers on the savanna; and ED did rain forests.
We then did an activity on rain forest plants, which I talked about in this post (and which I also explained in the packet).
From there, we went on to talk about the three main climate zones (and how that relates to the tilt of the Earth on its axis). And then we started to talk about the abiotic factors of each biome — ie. the physical, nonliving factors that shape an ecosystem.
The kids spent one day on the anatomy of a cat and dog. You’ll find those sheets in this packet as well:
From there we discussed the difference between habitats and ecosystems. We talked about the difference between producers and consumers (autotrophs and heterotrophs). And, we talked about the different feeding relationships: herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, detritivores and decomposers.
Our unit would definitely not have been as amazing without the breathtaking footage and fascinating stories about the animals of our planet!! We watched the BBC documentary Life (affiliate link) also narrated by David Attenborough as we studied the different biomes, feeding relationships and biological relationships. This series was the perfect complement to our studies because it really looked in depth at “some of the more colorful strategies the world’s creatures employ to procreate, evade predators, and obtain nourishment. This enthralling BBC series examines “the lengths living beings go to to stay alive.” We highly, highly recommend this documentary:
We spent time talking about food chains, food webs, and the energy pyramid.
Once you pay for this packet, you will immediately receive a link to download this file (which will open in a browser window). You will also receive an email from Sendowl (the service I use), which will have a link you can click on to download the Biology Unit. (It will say, “You can download your digital products…” with a clickable link.) Of course, if you have any issues just email me at — liesl at homeschoolden dot com. You can also reach me by replying to the email from SendOwl or using the contact form on the blog. And you can also reach me over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.
You might also be interested in some of our other packets and printable:
Earth’s 4 Major Systems (FREE!): Atmosphere, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere (free printable) – When we started our Biosphere unit, we went over the 4 major Earth systems again using these notebook pages. These pages review the 4 major ecosystems and is a good introduction to any unit on earth science, Earth’s atmosphere, biomes, ecosystems & animal habitats, or an ocean unit.
Earth Science Unit: In this unit we covered the solar system, the layers of the Earth, plate tectonics, the ring of fire, earthquake activity and volcanoes.
Simple Machines Packet - This packet include our hands on activities on levers, wedges and more.
Digestive System Unit – This packet includes hands on activities about digestion, the length of the digestive tract and more
Rock and Minerals Worksheets - Worksheets plus our hands on activities on the three types of rocks
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