Lesson Plan

Ecosystems Explained

This integrated reading and science lesson is packed with content on ecosystems. Your students will use the reading strategy of synthesizing while comparing and contrasting information from various sources.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Information from Multiple Sources pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Information from Multiple Sources pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will use the strategy of synthesizing information from multiple sources.
  • Students will compare and contrast information found in multiple sources.
  • Students will be able to identify and describe some of the main features of an ecosystem.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
  • Review the terms compare and contrast. Utilizing a selected text on ecosystems, ask the students to make predictions using the cover and title. Introduce the following essential question: How do plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment contribute to an ecosystem?
  • Tell the students that they will be using the reading strategy of synthesizing as they compare and contrast texts. Synthesizing involves using information from multiple texts and combining this information in a meaningful way that is inclusive of multiple sources.


  • Compare and contrast a familiar topic and allow them to recount the comparisons in their home language (L1) or new language (L2).
  • Provide visuals of the vocabulary words in the essential question and post them near the written question.


  • Have ELs tell the definition of "compare" and "contrast" in partners in their L1 or L2.
  • Give them a social example of synthesizing. For example, when students talk about the same event with two different people, the details one person focuses on may be slightly different from the other person.