Pollution Effects on Ecosystems
The student is expected to predict the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living organisms, including humans, such as the overpopulation of grazers or the building of highways.
The student knows that there are relationships, systems, and cycles within environments.
Ecological Effects: EXTOXNET, Cornell University (website) - Overview of the ways in which chemicals released into the environment affect ecosystems, from wildlife kills to forest decline.
How Can Water Pollution Affect Animals, Homes and Health? National Geographic (website) – Summary of the ways in which human activities and pollution impact aquatic ecosystems and human health.
Can Nutrients in Water Cause Harm? BioEd Online (website) - Students create pond water cultures and predict and investigated the effects of adding chemical or natural nutrients.
- Supporting Lessons
- Assessment Ideas
- Literature Connections
- Additional Resources
Bio Build-up: BioEd Online (website) - Students make a model of a simple food chain and observe how toxins can accumulate in consumers at the top. Predictions can be made about the different populations of organisms in the food chain if one or more of the consumers are removed.
Elaboration Lessons and Extensions
Types of Pollution: Virginia Department of Education (website) - Four types of human generated pollutions are examined. Click on the print version to review the lesson plan. Downloadable material cards are also provided.
Study the Effect of Pollution on an Ecosystem: World Wildlife Federation (website) - Guidelines for student investigative projects on the effects of a pollutant on one or more major organisms in a local ecosystem.
Have students predict what kinds of pollution could originate from each of the following locations and what types of environmental changes could occur, as a result of the pollution.
- Golf course or lawn
- Construction site
- Parking lots or roads
Where Does Pollution Come From? Cast, C. Vance (ISBN-13: 978-0812015713)
The Lorax. Dr. Seuss (ISBN-13: 978-0394823379)
Pollution: Problems & Solution. National Wildlife Federation (ISBN-13: 978-0070471054)
Water Pollution: True Books. Donald, Rhonda (ISBN-13: 978-0516273570)
Air Pollution: True Books. Donald, Rhonda (ISBN-13: 978-0516259987)
Noise Pollution and Whale Behavior Simulation: NOAA (website) - Click on the “Noise Pollution and Whale Behavior” activity on the bottom right-hand corner. A new window will appear with the simulation at the bottom. Students make predictions about whale migration based on variables that can be changed in the simulation.