Contrasting student and scientific views

The word energy is provided every day by students in expressions like, ‘I have actually run the end of energy’ or ‘I need some more energy’. Students’ daily use the this term can often reason confusion for students when learning to use the correct scientific term. Most students recognise that nearly all organisms require a source of energy to survive, duty and reproduce. Students room strongly affected in this area of scientific research by the media and their everyday experiences.

You are watching: Ultimate source of energy in an ecosystem

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Confusion around specific terms is likewise addressed in the focus idea presenting scientific language.

Students regularly have problem interpreting food chains, particularly where the diagram offers arrows to represent energy exchange. Students might see the arrows together referring to a flow of matter (stuff) up a food chain. This is a problem as matter is recycle in an ecosystem yet energy is not. Students likewise have a restricted understanding of resources of power in marine ecosystems, basing many of their knowledge on their experiences of floor ecosystems. Students space often very egocentric, and also believe that all biology exist solely for the benefit (or annoyance) the humans. For example, student cannot suggest a advantageous purpose for mosquitoes or spiders.

Research: Driver, Squires, Rushworth & Wood-Robinson (1994)

There is likewise a widely held conception by students that energy accumulates together one move up v a food chain and also therefore the height predator would have actually accrued every one of the power from the producers and the various other consumers lower down in the food chain.

Students are confused about where plants acquire their food from and also will often believe that it originates from the environment (mainly native the soil and also water) quite than from plants manufacturing it themselves. This is because many students have had actually gardening experiences that involve watering and including nutrients (fertilizer) come the soil. Students room usually aware that plants usage carbon dioxide however are frequently unsure why and are confused around its joining in the weight boost of a plant and manufacture the food.

Research: Driver, Squires, Rushworth & Wood-Robinson (1994)

Scientific view

Energy is transferred in between organisms in food network from producer to consumers. The energy is used by organisms to lug out complicated tasks.The vast majority of power that exists in food web originates from the sun and is converted (transformed) right into chemical power by the procedure of photosynthesis in plants. A tiny proportion of this chemical power is transformed directly into warmth when compound are broken down throughout resp​iration in plants. The majority of the chemical energy stored in plants is transformed into other creates by an assortment the consumers, such together cows, rabbits, horses, sheep, caterpillars and other insects eat plants.Some that the save chemical energy in a producer such together grass is stored together chemical energy in the fat or protein in the very first order consumers that eat the grass. This power is easily accessible for higher order consumers. At each stage of a food chain, many of the chemical power is converted to other forms such together heat, and also does not stay within the ecosystem.

Critical to teach ideas

The construction of diagrams through students enables them come represent and also clarify their expertise of energy movement in an ecosystem and also the revolutions involved.Energy described in the organic sciences is the very same as power referred come in all other domain names of science.The vast majority of energy in food web originates from the sun.Energy is no recycled in ecosystems and also each ecosystem requires a continuous input of energy to sustain it.There is some power transformed at every level of the food chain or food net in one ecosystem.In an ecosystem, energy is commonly transformed native one form to another.

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Explore the relationships between ideas about energy in ecosystems in the Concept advance Maps - (Flow of matter in Ecosystems, flow of energy in Ecosystems)

It is necessary that college student are aided to build an expertise of the clinical terms ‘food’ and ‘nutrients’ and also explore their partnership to energy and also matter . The ax ‘energy’ as provided when working v food web is similar to the power that is disputed in other domain names of science. A an essential idea to build is that power progresses through the food internet (or food chain) from its source, the sun, undergoing recurring transformations. The is also an essential to build the idea the a food web deserve to be complex and is made up of a variety of interrelated food chains.

Teaching activities

Practise using and build the perceived usefulness the a scientific model or idea

Students need to be encouraged to observe and discuss instances of food chain where energy is transformed and matter conserved. Think about undertaking tasks that assist students to build an knowledge of the source of the vast majority of energy in every ecosystems and the energy transformations that take place as the progresses with the food web. Student could likewise undertake a variety of activities that concentrate on identifying the changes that power must undergo as it progresses v an ecosystem.

One method is because that students to inspection the interactive ‘food webs’ website in ~ the complying with link:

While attempting the tasks students can acquire experience at identify the most likely positions that various organisms will have in the food webs castle explore. As a follow up task, ask student to reduced out pictures of biology from magazines the are most likely to be connected in the exact same food web or locate photos on the internet (or school intranet) for them to construct a PowerPoint or motivation food web display. Asking students to identify and also discuss the attributes of your food network that have been simplified as soon as comparing castle to situations that may exist in the actual world.

Promote reflection on and clarification of existing ideas

Students can examine a food net where organisms are threatened, removed or die. They might then track exactly how the energy transformations are transformed in the food chain (or food web). They can also track how sources of energy for others room changed.

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Further resources

Science associated interactive learning objects can be uncovered on the FUSE Teacher sources page.

To accessibility the interactive finding out object below, teachers need to login come FUSE and also search by Learning resource ID:

Ecosystem balance – Students discover how plants and animals interact in 3 Tasmanian ecosystems: a dried forest, rainforest and seaweed community. Castle view types descriptions that the plants and also animals the live there. They can increase or to decrease the population of a varieties and to compare the impacts on other varieties within the ecosystem.Learning source ID:  FRZ5RA