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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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