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Topics Explored: Ecosystems, Data Processing and Analysis, Agriculture

This case study explores the flow of energy through the ecosystems, agricultural production, and food choices. Answer key included. Teacher Edition updated 9.1.21.

Case Study: Eating at a Different Trophic Level (Teacher & Student Edition)

  • ZIP file containing 2 PDF files 
    (1 Teacher Edition and 1 Student Edition)

  • Next Generation Science Standards:

    HS-LS2-4 Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.


    AP® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:

    1.8 Explain how solar energy is acquired and transferred by living organisms.

    1.9 Explain how energy flows and matter cycles through trophic levels.

    1.10 Determine how the energy decreases as it flows through ecosystems.

    1.11 Describe food chains and food webs, and their constituent members by trophic level.

    8.8 Describe bioaccumulation and biomagnification. Describe the effects of bioaccumulation and biomagnification.


    AP® Environmental Science Practices:

    Practice 1: Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models presented in written format. 

    Practice 2: Analyze visual representations of environmental concepts and processes. 

    Practice 3: Analyze sources of information about environmental issues.  

    Practice 4: Analyze research studies that test environmental principles.  

    Practice 5: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, and graphs.

    Practice 6: Apply quantitative methods to address environmental concepts.

    Practice 7: Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems.


    IB® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:

    2.1.2  Distinguish between biotic and abiotic (physical) components of an ecosystem.

    2.1.3  Identify and explain trophic levels in food chains and food webs selected from the local environment.

    2.5.5  Define the terms gross productivity, net productivity, primary productivity and secondary productivity.

    2.5.6  Define the terms and calculate the values of both gross primary productivity (GPP) and net primary productivity (NPP) from given data.

    2.5.7  Define the terms and calculate the values of both gross secondary productivity (GSP) and net secondary productivity (NSP) from given data.


    AP® is a registered trademark registered by the College Board®. IB® is a trademark registered by the International Baccalaureate Organization®. This work/product/service has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the College Board® or the International Baccalaureate Organization®. 

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