Monday, June 27, 2016

Biotic and Abiotic Free Sorting Activity

I know sometimes when we search for freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers we are just looking for small, quick additions to our lessons. I don't want my freebies to ONLY be a 2 minute lesson for your students, I would like if you could really create something out of it with your students. So.... I decided to do that this past year with one of my favorite freebies!

The Abiotic and Biotic Ecosystems Sorting Activity has been a free item in my store for years; however, I never really speak about it much - this is because I only ever used it as a quick little sorting game. This year, I wanted to see if I could make it into something more, so I took on the challenge and I really like how it turned out!

To start, download the item for free by clicking HERE
(You can choose between printing it in color or in black and white)


First I introduce the terms ABIOTIC and BIOTIC to my students. We talk about it, and I do a little quick PowerPoint with them.


Then they each get a file folder. We open it to the inside and glue "abiotic" to one side and "biotic" to the other side. The students then cut out the different words and sort them where they think they should go - abiotic or biotic. We don't glue until we have all discussed our findings to make sure everyone in the class is fully understanding the terms.

Below is what their folder should look like at this point.


Who loves getting their class OUTSIDE for a little bit for a change? Here in Florida, it might be really hot, but we love love love getting to go outside - especially when we are LEARNING while doing it!

We next get into pairs (you can choose not to do this in partners if you'd rather them work alone or in larger groups, that is fine!) and go outside. We walk around and the kids write down abiotic or biotic things that they find in our ecosystem. Below is an example of some of the things you can find on our recess field at school. We come inside after about 15 minutes and discuss our findings. You might want to give the students a minimum amount of each that they need to find, this way they are sure not to go outside and get too distracted. We also like to add items that we did not think of when we hear what others come up with. This is a great way to keep all students active in the class discussion when we get inside.


Lastly, the final part of modeling their understanding is their cover drawing. I tell them what I would like their cover to say; however, they can do the writing however they choose. Some get a lot more creative than others.

I then tell them that a large part of their grade is their final picture on the cover. They must choose an ecosystem from a list I put on the board (I put a list up because at this point, we are just starting our ecosystem unit and they don't have as much prior knowledge yet). The example below represents a student who chose the "pond" ecosystem. They then must label at least 3 of each (abiotic and biotic, 6 total - at least) in their drawing. See the example below to see what the final product can look like! The student below just needs to add an arrow to her grass and she would have 3 biotic labeled, as well!!  #soclose


I hope this looks like something that would be useful for your class! These folders look super cute hung up in the classroom, and they are also useful down the road throughout your ecosystem unit. You could even limit their sorting to a T chart on one side of the folder on the inside, and save the rest of the folder for more activities done throughout the ecosystem unit! Oh the possibilities!!! ENJOY!