Life Cycle - Natural Environment (1A)
Post Lab 

  • Discovering how organisms live.
  • Comparing individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems.
  • community
  • ecosystem
  • individual
  • population
  • worksheet
  • crayons 

Students use a worksheet to compare how individuals live together.


An individual can be defined as one plant or one organism, which is a member of a population of other like individuals. Most organisms are individuals and are distinct from other individuals in a population. The ecology of organisms is concerned with the way that individual organisms interact with their environment. However, an individual cannot live completely in isolation away from other like organisms, it is dependant upon other biological life and the surrounding physical environment.

The term environment refers to all the external factors affecting the life of an individual organism or a population of organisms. All living (plants and animals) and non-living (air, water and land) things are part of the environment. Studying the whole environment at once is an immense task, so the environment is broken into sections we call ecosystems. An ecosystem is a group or community of living things interacting with one another and with their non-living surroundings.

An ecosystem can be as large as a forest, or as small as an aquarium. It can even be your classroom.

  1. Each of your students are individuals, but interact with the rest of the student's or populations. Ask them how they interact, because individuals and populations do not live alone in nature but in association with other organisms in a natural environment.
  2. On the worksheet have the students identify whether the picture is an individual, a population, a community, or an ecosystem. If you have coloring books on different animal or plant communities and individuals you may want each child to do a different picture and have them hang then up under a sign that says Individuals, Populations, Community, and Ecosystems.
  3. We suggest that the students number a sheet of blank paper and list the answers, so you can re-use the sheet. The answers are: Individuals (1,3); Populations (2,7); Community (4,5); Ecosystems (6).

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