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Third Grade Science

Ecosystems Study Guide

Third Grade

Ecosystem – living and nonliving things that interact in an environment.

  • Living things – plants, animals, and humans.
  • Nonliving things – air, water, soil, and sunlight.
  • Living things depend on each other and nonliving things to survive: we need water, air, and soil (all are nonliving).

Habitat – a living thing’s home.

Food chain – model that shows how energy passes from one organism to another in an ecosystem.

Students need to be able to draw a food chain of their choice – all food chains begin with the sun and followed by some kind of plant.

Producer – an organism that makes its own food.

Consumer – an organism that eats other organisms.

Decomposer – an organism that breaks down dead plant and animal material and puts nutrients back into the soil.

Food web – several food chains connected together.

Predators – organisms that hunt other organisms for food.

Prey – organisms that are hunted for food.

Herbivores – organisms that eat mostly plants.

Carnivores – organisms that eat mostly other animals.

Omnivores – organisms that eat both plants and animals.

Students need to be able to give examples of herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. They have a worksheet with various pictures we completed together to use as a guide.

Climate – the pattern of weather in a place over a long time.

Students need to know the difference between climate and weather. Climate describes the weather pattern over a long time, while weather describe the current conditions.

Desert – climate is dry with very little rainfall; temperature is very hot during the day and drops quickly when the suns sets; soil is mostly sand; few plants and animals can survive here.

Tropical rain forest – climate is hot and damp; lots of rainfall; warm all year long; has more kinds of living things than any other land environment.

Temperate forest – winters are cold and dry; summers are warm and wet.

Tundra – climate is cold and dry; winters are long and icy cold and summers are short and cool; very little rainfall; the ground is frozen all year.

Ocean – a large body of salt water.

Earth has five oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern Oceans.

Adaptation – a structure or behavior that helps an organism survive in its environment.

Camouflage – blending adaptation.

Nocturnal – animals that sleep during the day and are active at night.

Mimicry – an adaptation where one living thing imitates another living thing to stay safe in its environment.

Hibernate – to go into a deep sleep; allows an animal to use less energy and survive when seasons change.

Migrate – to move from one place to another.

**Students should have numerous diagrams, foldables, and notes in their science notebooks that will provide all of the resources necessary to prepare for this test.