Skip to main content
STEM ready

Cycling of Matter and Energy in an Aquatic Environment

Driving or Multi-dimensional Question:

How can The Boils WMA be managed in a way to allow the natural cycling of matter without harm caused by the people who visit this fragile ecosystem?

Unit Summary:

This PBL focuses around a field trip to an important ecological area to the community. Through this unit students develop ownership of their public lands as well as the standards.

Hook Event:

Students should visit in person or virtually a local natural area. If a field trip is not practical the virtual tour plus a guest speaker can be very powerful. The intent of this hook event is to build a personal commitment to the site.

Culminating Event:

Student teams will present a plan to improve/protect the cycling of matter at The Boils WMA. These presentations will be digital in nature and shareable across many platforms.


Science Standards:

BIO1.LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
3) Analyze through research the cycling of matter in our biosphere and explain how biogeochemical cycles are critical for ecosystem function.

Math Standards:

A1.N.Q.A.2 Identify, interpret, and justify appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling.
A1.N.Q.A.3 Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities.

ELA and Other Standards:

ELA Standards:
9-10.SL.CC.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric; identify any fallacious reasoning and/or exaggerated or distorted evidence.

Additional Standards (Social Studies, Art, Physical Education):
U. S. History – US.49 Identify and explain the following New Deal programs and assess their past or present impact: (E, H, P, TN) · · Civilian Conservation Corps ·· Tennessee Valley Authority ·· Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Daily Activities

For more information on this lesson, please see the Lesson Resources below

ActivitiesDescriptionResources and Materials
Activity One1. Review of Nutrient Cycles1. Activity 1 – 5 Explanation Sheets
Activity Two2. Benthic Organisms and Local Fish Species2.  Edpuzzle – Great site for review video with built-in quizzes.
Activity Three3. Student Models of the Biogeochemical Cycles of Your Site3.  Angler’s Guide to Tennessee Fish
Activity Four4. Site Solutions Share Fair – Digital Presentations

4.  Great site by the Harpeth Conservancy with details on many common fish.

5.  Snorkeling Student Activity U.S. Forestry Service
6.  Tennessee Wild Side Video/Page of Field Day

Technology Integration: The student capstone presentations will be digital. Photos and data will be shared digitally.

Community PartnersContribution to Learning ExperienceContact Information
Tennessee Wildlife Resource AgencyTWRA partners with us on a trip to our chosen site. 
U.S. Forest ServiceU.S. Forest Service provides lots of resources concerning snorkeling with students. 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceU.S. Fish and Wildlife is a great resource for speakers and potential supplies. 
Friends of Dale Hollow National Fish HatcheryThe Friends of Dale Hollow National fish hatchery is a local resource. 
TVA – Grant and Support  

Capstone Presentation:

Students in each period will present and argue the validity of their plan to keep the cycles protected at The Boils WMA.
Chosen presentations will be shared with the local Chamber of Commerce, TWRA, and local parks and recreation.

Lesson Resources