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.
- Lesson Plan
- Introductory slides PDF
- Costanza 1997 Nature – PDF (Teacher resource for background reading)
“Croptions” Game Materials
- Student Game Board PDF
- Student Croptions Menu PDF
- Student Score Card PDF
- Teacher – Game Board and Pieces to PRINT – PDF
- Teacher – Game Board and Pieces to EDIT – PPT
- Teacher – Menu and Scorecard Spreadsheet to EDIT – EXCEL
- Teacher Resource – Costs for Climate and Pest-Disease Cards – DOC
Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Dani Fegan, Susan Magnoli, and Bonnie McGill, 2015