K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Student understanding of ecosystems will be enhanced and they will learn the skills necessary to show data on Microsoft Excel and to present a program on Microsoft PowerPoint.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

4 days


  • Textbook
  • Data compiled on a chart and a graph after playing a game of "Oh Deer"

Technology resources

  • laptop computers
  • desktop computer, connector, and TV (optional)
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint


  • Students will have already completed the necessary background about ecosystems that comes from lecture/discussion, tasksheets and lab activities. The latter will have included the population game called "Oh Deer," simulating at least a ten-year period of population counts. The data gained will have been used to create a chart of the data and a bar graph, both on paper.
  • For those who are unfamiliar with this game, we played the following variation of Oh Deer!:
  1. Move the student tables and chairs to the sides of the room, leaving plenty of free space from the front of the room to the back.
  2. Divide the students into two groups, the deer and the resources of life (water, food and shelter). There should be about twice as many resources as there are deer.
  3. Have the students who will be deer in the first round move to the front of the room and the resources to the back of the room.
  4. The two groups should turn so that they face away from each other. Each resource then decides if he wishes to be food, water or shelter. The deer decide which of the three things they need. If a student is food he puts his hands on his stomach. If a student is water, he places his hands on his mouth. If a student is shelter, he puts his hands on his head.
  5. While facing away from the Resources, the deer also do the matching action for the necessity that he has decided he needs this turn.
  6. The students turn toward each other and each of the deer approaches and captures the resource needed. If a deer can find a match, the resource becomes a deer. If a deer cannot find a match, he dies and becomes a resource.
  7. When a student is a deer, he or she represents a population of one hundred deer. Each round can represent a year and should be repeated for at least ten years. This should give enough time to show a fairly stable pattern.
  8. The teacher copies the deer population on the board so students will have this data to copy when the game is over. (Remember: Each student who is a deer in a particular round represents one hundred deer.)


  1. Students will constuct a table of the data from "Oh Deer" on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The data used in my class will come from the chart and table already completed by playing "Oh Deer!". (If the game has not already been played, now would be the time so that students have the necessary population data.) A major skill needed will be centering across selections for the table title and for Year of Study and Population columns.
    • The ten years of study will be recorded in a column under Year of Study. The population figures will be in a column under Population.
    • Students will then click a cell below the population numbers. Center across selection (two cells), "average population." Click the cell that follows these. Use the formula bar to insert a formula for averaging the populations. This number will be displayed in the cell that was clicked.
    • Students will now use the "Chart Wizard" and select the basic 2-D bar graph. Continue through this and title as "Oh Deer" and label the X axis as "Year of Study" and the Y axis as "Population." Click ‘separate sheet’ to make it easier to work with the graph than if it is on the same spreadsheet as the table. Click ‘Finish.’
    • Students need to click sheet one and highlight the numbers under ‘Year of Study’ from the table. Copy and paste special onto the X axes of the graph.
    • Show students how to format the different areas of the graph (chart area, plot area, axes numbers, bars, etc.) The final graph will be customized as the student wants in color, scale, pattern, 3-D or 2-D type of graph (some may prefer a line graph).
  2. Use of PowerPoint.
    • Each student will select a major ‘biome’ and will complete four slides on Microsoft PowerPoint. The biomes are arctic-tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, grassland, tropical rainforest, and desert.
    • Enter PowerPoint and choose a design template. Click O.K. and then select the first slide model as a title slide. On this slide type in the name of the biome in the first text box and the student’s name in the second one.
    • Insert a new slide. Title it Climate. Now refer to the section in the text that offers information about your biome. Locate climate. Now use a search engine to find sites related to your biome. In each site browse for any information about the climate that is not in your textbook. Remember, just look for information about the climate for right now. Return to PowerPoint. Now type the text for climate onto the slide.
    • Insert a new slide. Title it "Flora". Return to the net and browse for information about plants in your biome. Repeat the steps in part ‘C’ above.
    • Insert a new slide. Title it "Fauna". Return to the net and browse for information about animals in your biome. Repeat the steps in part ‘C’ above.
    • If pictures, graphs, etc. were seen in the above searches that the student wants to add to the slides, he may return to that and copy and paste onto the slide it applies to. Also, clipart can be found on the Microsoft website and pictures may be found on Webshots. Slides 2–4 should each have a clipart or picture that illustrates the text on that particular slide.
    • Now show students the ‘slideshow’ category on the top toolbar. First show how to determine the slide transition effect, sound, and timing. Now from ‘slideshow’, locate custom animation and show how to determine effect, sound, timing etc. Students may want to alter their text by using the PowerPoint ‘drawing’ toolbar.
    • The slide shows are complete. Let students view the work of other students.


The scale used to assess the performance for the two activities will be:

4—exceeds expectation

3—meets expectation

2—approaching expectation

1—below expectation

The percentage out of a possible 4.0 average will then be converted to a grade on a 100 point scale.

Rubric for the "Oh Deer" table and graph:

  1. Centering of table and column titles.
  2. Completion of columns (years and population)
  3. Average of the populations.
  4. Title for the graph.
  5. Axes values and labels.
  6. Customizing of the chart area, plot area, and bars.

Rubric for the four biome slides (PowerPoint).

  1. Text content.
  2. Text grammar.
  3. Chosen clip art and pictures for each slide are related to the text of that slide.
  4. Customizing and animation.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Science & Technical Subjects

        • Grades 6-8
          • 6-8.LS.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Grade 6

        • 6.TT.1 Use technology and other resources for the purpose of accessing, organizing, and sharing information. 6.TT.1.1 Select appropriate technology tools to gather data and information (e.g., Web-based resources, e-books, online communication tools, etc.)....
      • Science (2010)
        • 6.L.2 Understand the flow of energy through ecosystems and the responses of populations to the biotic and abiotic factors in their environment. 6.L.2.1 Summarize how energy derived from the sun is used by plants to produce sugars (photosynthesis) and is transferred...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Computer Technology Skills (2005)

Grade 6

  • Goal 3: The learner will use a variety of technologies to access, analyze, interpret, synthesize, apply, and communicate information.
    • Objective 3.05: Enter/edit data and use spreadsheet features and functions to project outcomes and test simple "what if..." statements in content assignments. Strand - Spreadsheet
    • Objective 3.06: Select and use chart/graph functions to analyze and display findings in content projects, citing data sources. Strand - Spreadsheet

Science (2005)

Grade 6

  • Goal 7: The learner will conduct investigations and use technologies and information systems to build an understanding of population dynamics.
    • Objective 7.01: Describe ways in which organisms interact with each other and with non-living parts of the environment:
      • Coexistence/Cooperation/Competition.
      • Symbiosis.
      • Mutual dependence.
    • Objective 7.03: Explain how changes in habitat may affect organisms.