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What's in the Water?: Biotic and Abiotic Elements in Aquatic Ecosystems

Source Institutions

    New Jersey Department of Education

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What's in the Water?: Biotic and Abiotic Elements in Aquatic Ecosystems

In this investigation learners explore the differences between, and interdependence of, living and nonliving elements in a water ecosystem. Learners identify biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) organisms based on sample photographs, then participate in a hands-on group activity about the the connections between the biotic and abiotic elements in a water ecosystem.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • flipchart or chalkboard
  • 4-5 pictures of aquatic ecosystem
  • shoebox or plastic bag
  • 30 index cards
  • ball of yarn or string
  • clock or watch with minute hand
  • student journals and writing tools


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
      • Biodiversity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All Rights Reserved, State of New Jersey, ©2006

Funding Source:

  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001


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