Matter cycles. Matter for growth, maintenance and reproduction in all organisms cycles through the ecosystem and Earth processes. All life needs certain matter in order to stay alive. This includes nitrogen, phosphorus, and water; oxygen for many but not all animals; and carbon dioxide for plants, to name a few kinds of matter.
To understand, through guided visualization (part 1) and hands-on investigations (part 2), how matter cycles through an ecosystem. To gain an understanding of decomposition, a community of forest recyclers, and the critical role decomposers play in the food web and the cycling of matter.
This activity sets an exciting tone of exploration and discovery, encouraging an inquiry mindset in students that helps establish a community of curious, active learners. Students gain tools to explore the natural world—and are inspired to discover and attempt to explain the abundant nature mysteries that surround us. NSI works well at the start of a field experience, to get students excited about nature mysteries.