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Disturbance in Ecosystems: Choose Your Own Adventure

Author Information

  • Name: Brianne Palmer
  • Position and Institution: PhD Candidate, San Diego State University
  • Contact:
  • Available for contact for questions and classroom visits: Yes
  • Year contributed: 2020


  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Science Domain: Life Sciences
  • PE Code: MS-LS2-5


Disturbances are common in ecosystems and are vital in determining what plants and animals can live there. However, this is very dependent on the type and frequencies of a disturbance. In this lesson, students will explore how different types of disturbances change the ecosystem though a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style activity. By exploring how fire, drought, and invasive species change a forest ecosystem, students should understand both the positive effects of disturbance when it occurs in moderation and how subsequent and severe disturbances drastically degrade ecosystems. The end of the activity will ask students to reflect on what they have learned and consider the disturbances in ecosystems near their homes. The goal is to have a more cohesive understanding that disturbances themselves are neither good nor bad but may have unpredictable consequences.


  • Fire
  • Climate change
  • drought
  • disturbance
  • ecology


sandiego/disturbance_in_ecosystems_-_choose_your_own_adventure.txt · Last modified: 2020/10/31 11:18 (external edit)