Interdependence and Adaptation KS4

This is a series of resources which can be used to teach the topic "Interdependence and Adaptation" at KS4.  It fits best with the AQA Science A specification but could easily be adapted for other specifications.

It is envisaged that lessons would run in the following sequence:

1. Food chains and webs, predators and prey (revision of a KS3 topic) using the article "Food Webs Uncoupled".  This could be followed by one or more of the activities/investigations from "Competition and Predation".  The factors affecting the size of a population can be addressed at this point.  The article "Predators, Prey and Populations" could be used as an extension task.

2. Adaptations and competition.  The adaptations of different plants and animals enable them to be effective competitors.  The "Adaptations video" provides a good stating point for pupils to find out about some adaptations of organisms.  Some background information about the adaptations of whales, dolphins and seals is given in the article "Diving Deep", whilst "How plants grow" has an extended activity on the adaptations of plants.  Alternatively, students could be asked to research different organisms to produce a poster or a presentation on their adaptations to their environments.

3. Extremophiles.  Students need to be able to explain how some organisms are adapted to live in the most extreme conditions.  They could be asked to use the three website in the list to research examples of these organisms.

4. Indicator species of pollution.  Use the final two resources on the list to investigate how different species of lichens and invertebrates can be used to monitor pollution in the air and rivers respectively.

Links and Resources

Food Webs Uncoupled

This Catalyst article about food webs and food chains can be used either as an introduction to the topic, or as a review at the end of the lesson.  Students could be given time to read the article and produce either a list of the key points or a revision guide/poster to aid them when they are revising for exams.  NB Students should already be familiar with the majority of this content from KS3.

publication year
2000 - 2009

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Competition and Predation

This series of lessons is designed to take pupils through some of the factors influencing population size.  Although the resource itself is quite dated, the ideas and questions posed are relevant.  One or more of the investigations could be undertaken, given sufficient time and resources.  Alternatively, the activities on pages 18-19 (One thing leads to another) 20-22 (Final questions) will help pupils to understand the interdependence within a food chain and how the populations of predators and prey can change.

publication year
1970 - 1979

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Predators, Prey and Populations

This Catalyst article could be used to give further examples of relationships between predators and their prey.  It gives specific details about blue tits and spruce bark beetles and their predators.  The article would be best used with a higher set as background reading or for an extended project into the factors affecting a population size.

publication year
2000 - 2009

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Diving Deep

This Catalyst article provides some detailed information about the adaptations of marine mammals to their environment.  It can be used as an illustration of the types of adaptations that organisms have, or just as some background reading, but it is best suited to higher sets.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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How Plants Grow

This resource enables students to find out about the adaptations of a variety of plants and to select the best adapted plants for different environments.  It could be spread over two lessons (or more!) or one or two of the activities selected for use during a single lesson.

publication year
2000 - 2009

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