In this unit eighth graders will be studying fresh water ecosystems. This unit is geared to help students understand the dimensions, usability, ethics, and importance of freshwater ecosystems. The students will be learning details of the fresh water ecosystem and what makes that ecosystem unique compared to others. Students will be studying the great diversity that God has created among the plants and animals of the freshwater ecosystems in their local area and around the world. It will include learning specific characteristics of each habitat in the ecosystems, the components of water, the communities that inhabit the ecosystem, navigation skills, graphing skills, and the effects of pollution. This unit is designed as a science unit, but it is integrated with math, social studies, Bible, technology, art, and language arts over a three-week time frame.
“In the beginning…God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teams, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21). He commands humans to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28) God created everything perfect, including each unique ecosystem. When sin entered the world, everything, including ecosystems, became tainted with sin. Human pollution and exploitation made it impossible for the birds and the sea creatures to experience the freedom, harmony, and unity that God intended in their natural habitat. Christians are called to work towards shalom, and should have a goal to work toward restoration of God’s creation by following Jesus Christ.
God is sovereign over every part of creation. Teachers must provide a broad knowledge base so that students will attain a multi-faceted understanding of the world around them. Schools need to develop a curriculum that enables students to take part in redeeming culture. The goal is to teach students how to conserve and protect diversity in different types of ecosystems, specifically fresh water, and to show them how pollution and waste can directly impact God’s creation.
This unit is applicable to eighth grade students because they are called to be stewards of God’s creation, too. Eighth graders are adolescents who are transitioning to a new developmental stage between a child and an adult. Students at this age should be challenged with responsibility to care and subdue creation, and they should see how they fit into God’s creation. Life is bigger than their friends, family, and themselves, and they need to see the entity of God’s creation and gain an appreciation for it.
By the end of this unit, students will understand the different components of a fresh water ecosystem, and they will see and understand the importance of caring for God’s creation. The main goals consist of the following activities: to learn the physical components of the ecosystem; be familiar with different fresh water ecosystems around the world; examine or test species, water, and soil; understand and devise a plan against pollution and erosion; use statistics and graphing to compare ecosystem growth or regression over the years. This unit is an interactive unit that will incorporate hands-on and outdoor activities, and it will excite students to learn about creation and its components. The topics and ideas will work together, so eighth graders can see the ‘big picture’ of creation.