Jun 102015
In this lesson students will explore the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, from basic ecological theory to their economic value. Provided with a short introduction to the types of ecosystem services and their importance, students will play a game where they must make decisions regarding how to invest a limited amount of money on their own for-profit farm—can they manage economic and ecological tradeoffs to design a productive farm that also enhances ecosystem services?


At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define “ecosystem services” and explain the difference between supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services.
  • Compare and contrast “ecosystem services” and “ecosystem function” and explain the importance of each
  • Using evidence obtained from a classroom activity, explain the biodiversity-ecosystem function hypothesis
  • Justify decision-making in a farming simulation as decisions relate to economic and ecological factors

Length of lesson: 50 minutes

Appropriate grade levels: middle and high school.