Genesis 2:8-"And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there He put the man whom He had formed."
The first ecosystem ever to exist was that of the Garden of Eden. An ecosystem is all the living(biotic) and non-living (abiotic) organisms that live in an area. Unlike the ecosystems we will be studying through these lessons, this ecosystem was perfect. There was no death; animals did not eat each other. There were no poisonous insects, plants or animals. There were no thorns on plants that could harm them. Everything lived in perfect harmony with each other.
Circle Puzzle warm Up- Getting the big picture
To introduce students to the big idea of the biosphere, biomes, and ecosystems, we have created this circle puzzle. You can find the template for this circle puzzle in our The World in His Hands curriculum.
Another way to show the differences between these terms is to use different sized balls. I brought an exercise ball to class (leave it slightly deflated so it doesn't roll), (2) 9 inch beach balls, 4 wuffle balls and 8 foozballs/ping pong balls.
The vocabulary words for this lesson are:
There are some wonderful flashcards inside The World in His Hands curriculum along with several ideas of how to play games with them. Since I introduced most of the vocabulary words during the circle puzzle activity, I simply introduced flora, fauna, habitat and ecology to them.
The activity that I played today was 'Swat the Word'. I grouped students in groups of three. After giving them instructions on the expectations with the fly swatter, I would place a group of vocabulary words in front of them. When I read the definition, they would swat the correct word that goes with the definition that I called out.
Now that the students are familiar with the vocabulary terms, they are able to apply and practice them. Today's read aloud comes directly from Genesis 1 in the Bible using the listening guide On page 4 of The World in His Hands curriculum. We read 'The Beginning: a Perfect Home' from the Jesus Storybook Bible today during class. As I was reading, we would stop and match up the different parts of the ecosystem with the Garden of Eden.
Did you know the Garden of Eden was the first Ecosystem? In creating the world, He provided for all six essential parts of a healthy ecosystem: water, energy, habitats, living organisms, niches (roles to play), and balance. God saw everything He made and indeed it was very good (even the spiders) This meant that is was without flaws or defect. Both man and animals could eat any fruit from the trees so they were all vegetarians, there was no death. Even the insects God made did not sting, bite, or bother Adam and Eve. After sin entered the world, there was death, competition, food chains, overpopulation and extinction. ((The bolded words are highlighted in the listening guide for the students.))
The students had such great questions! One student asked, "What happened? Why isn't it like that anymore?" We then went further in the history in Genesis and realized that when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin and death entered the world and thus we have insects that bite, thorns that prick, and animals that eat other animals. Another student was really trying to understand that if animals didn't eat meat, what did they eat? So then, we talked about all the 'flora' that was available to them in the Garden of Eden.
As students finish the lesson, I typically pose one question to review a key concept. For this lesson, I asked, "How many parts of an ecosystem can you name? (water, energy, habitats, living organisms, niches, and balance)
The world in His hands curriculum