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Energized Ecosystems

Students will determine how energy is transferred through organisms in an ecosystem and be able to describe the process. Furthermore, students will explore the dynamic and important relationships that exist among organisms in an ecosystem. This lesson includes a lecture and two activities (Build an Elk & Build a Wolf).

Cross-cutting Concepts: Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects. A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.

Vocabulary: biotic, abiotic, autotroph, biodiversity, ecosystem, energy, producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer, and tertiary consumer.

Science Standards This Program Meets

5-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • Grade: 5th Grade
  • Discipline: Life Science
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
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5-PS3-1 Energy

  • Grade: 5th Grade
  • Discipline: Physical Science
Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
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About National Elk Refuge

National Wildlife Refuges are world-renowned as places to see great seasonal migrations of fish and wildlife, iconic animals like bison and bears, and ordinary creatures thriving in their natural habitats. The National Elk Refuge is one of over 565 National Wildlife Refuges in the United States. The education team at the National Elk Refuge offer a variety of environmental education programs that highlight natural history and life sciences. We look forward to working with educators in the community to achieve their science standards in a fun and engaging way. Join us on the Refuge or have us bring the Refuge to your classroom!

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Who We offer programming to all ages.
What Natural History & Life Science programs.
When Year-round
Where We offer programs onsite at the National Elk Refuge & Greater Yellowstone Visitor center or onsite at locations within Teton, Sublette, and Lincoln counties in Wyoming. Or in Teton County, Idaho.
Why Our vision is to provide teaching and learning opportunities about wildlife and conservation to enable students to make informed decisions about environmental sustainability and stewardship.