Ecology/Geography Classification

Brianne Messick
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This short lesson was designed in collaboration with a 7th grade Life Science teacher (Paul Jeffery). The idea behind the lesson is to help students better understand ecological and geographical classifications by teaching them at the same time in their Life Science class and their Geography class. Teaching the two classifications together will help reinforce the idea of classification. While this lesson would best be taught outdoors it can also be adapted to the indoors.

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Learning Goals

1. Students will identify and describe their region.
2. Students will classify the various aspects of region.

Context for Use

This lesson can be used in collaboration between a life science and world geography class in the middle level (7th-8th grade). It can be adapted in many ways to fit both the geography and science standards. It is also best done in the outdoors if possible, but again, can be adapted to fit the indoors using pictures of a neighborhood and other political realms.

Description and Teaching Materials

1. Outdoors
2. Clipboards
3. Piece of paper
4. Art supplies
1. Warm up the students by asked what they learned about in Science class (some students will not have had science yet but this will be a good preview and a good review for the students who did).
2. Then ask students to make a list of all of the places they call home in partners. If students get stuck ask if they were in a different country/state/city and someone asked where they were from how would they respond?
3. Explain that just as scientists use ecological classification such as species, population, community, ecosystem and biosphere to make sense of the natural world geographers use a similar classifications to make sense of the human or political world.
4. Take students outside and define the local communities such as neighborhoods. Have students define some human characteristics that are different in the school neighborhood vs. their neighborhood. Compare that to the sciences characteristic of species.
5. Then have students identify differences between cities and towns nearby. Again relate that to the science characteristic of population. Continue on with state, region, country and finally world review both human and natural characteristics of each.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This lesson is designed to be interdisciplinary with a life science class. It can be modified in many ways to meet the needs of the students and class for both geography and science.


1. Have students grab a blank piece of paper and a clipboard. Then fold the piece of paper in half. On one side have them write "science" and on the other side write Geography.
2. Explain that students are going to compare both the human and natural characteristics of a region. They will chose one geographical region such as, neighborhood, city/town, state, inter-country region (Midwest, New England etc.) and illustrate the various characteristics of that particular region they chose. For example if they chose state then they might have the MN gophers, or Vikings symbol, or people fishing as that would be characteristic of many people living in Minnesota. On the science side then they would draw natural characteristics of any of the ecosystems in Minnesota. For example if they chose Neighborhood they might draw a particular species found in their neighborhood like a squirrel or fox. If they chose country then they might draw pictures of a particular biome that covers part of that country.
3. This may be an in class assignment to be collected or students may finish at home for homework.


Interdependence among Living Systems
1. Natural Systems include a variety of organisms that interact with one another in several ways.
*Identify a variety of populations and communities in an ecosystem and describe the relationships among the population and communities in a stable ecosystem.

References and Resources