Harnessing Microbials: Lesson Plan

Summarize how the abiotic factors of biomes affect the ability of organisms to grow, survive, and carry out photosynthesis, then learn more about how researchers in North Carolina are studying one abiotic factor, soil, and how the microorganisms it contains help contribute to the health of plants.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • NCES.6.L.2.3 — Summarize how the abiotic factors (such as temperature, water, sunlight, and soil quality) of biomes (freshwater, marine, forest, grasslands, desert, tundra) affect the ability of organisms to grow, survive, and/or create their own food through photosynthesis.

Learning Outcomes

Time Allotment Needed: 5 days (block schedule)

  • Students will identify and describe abiotic factors such as temperature, water, sunlight and soil quality of different biomes
  • Students will summarize how the abiotic factors of biomes affect the organism's ability to grow, survive, and carry out photosynthesis

Essential Questions

  1. What is an abiotic factor? What are examples of abiotic factors?
  2. How does temperature affect the ability of organisms to grow and survive in different biomes?
  3. How does water affect the ability of organisms to grow, survive, and carry out photosynthesis in different biomes?
  4. How does sunlight affect the ability of organisms to grow, survive, and carry out photosynthesis in different biomes?
  5. How does soil quality affect the ability of organisms to grow and survive in different biomes?

Essential Vocabulary

  • Abiotic factor
  • Marine biome
  • Tundra
  • Biome
  • Grassland biome
  • Forest biome
  • Freshwater biome
  • Desert biome
  • Photosynthesis

Engage

Students will read about biomes at World Biomes and complete the Biome Word Search as an introduction to the different types of biomes. Print a copy of the Biome Word Search for each student prior to starting Engage.

Explore

Students will work collaboratively to gather information about different biomes and their abiotic factors. Divide students into groups and assign each group a single biome from the following list to research: lake, river, estuary, open ocean, coral reef, temperate deciduous forest, tropical rain forest, grasslands, desert, taiga and tundra. Students should complete one of the following tables as they research:

Biome Chart

As students conduct their research, they should define and record appropriate vocabulary terms.

Explain

After students have completed their research from the Explore section and learned more about biomes, each group will present the biome they researched to the rest of the class. After each group completes their presentation, allow students to ask questions. Ask students to compare and contrast the different biomes when all presentations are complete.

Extend

Students will read the UNC-TV Reporter's Blog Dirt on Dirt, then view the NC Science Now video Harnessing Microbials. Scientists at Novozymes at Research Triangle Park are taking a closer look at soil and the microorganisms it contains. They are working on producing solutions of microorganisms that can coat seeds or be added to soil to help increase plant fertility, increase yield, and decrease the affects of harmful pests on plants. After reading the blog and watching the video, students should answer the following questions. They can discuss their answers with a partner or in small groups.

  1. What is soil made of?
  2. What is topsoil?
  3. Why are organic matter and other living things important parts of soil?
  4. How do the soil microbes that scientists at Research Triangle Park are working with help plants survive?

Evaluate

Students will take the information they learned through their research in the Explore section and work independently to create a poster that describes their biome. Encourage students to use photos from magazines or websites to give their posters dimension and color. The posters should include the following information.

  • description of the abiotic factors of the biome organisms that live in the biome
  • how temperature affects the ability of organisms to grow and survive in the biome
  • how water affects the ability of organisms to grow, survive, and carry out photosynthesis in the biome
  • how sunlight affects the ability of organisms to grow, survive, and carry out photosynthesis in the biomes
  • how soil or sediment quality affect the ability of organisms to grow and survive in the biome

Evaluation Rubric