Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Fascinating Factors

Kathy Rigling
Orange County Schools


This activity is a fun and engaging way to introduce biotic and abiotic factors by the use of nature observation , peer discussion and the production of a collage.


The student knows the nonliving (abiotic) and living (biotic) aspects of an ecosystem.


-Various nature magazines
-Construction paper


1. Gather an ample supply of nature magazines.
2. Locate an area of the campus appropriate for a short observational walk.
3. Have cooperative groups previously selected.
4 .Place supplies (glue, scissors, paper) at group work stations.


Note: Prior to this lesson, the students should be familiar with the major ecosystems of the world.

1. Place students into cooperative groups of 3-4 students

2. This lesson will be introduced by taking a 5 minute walk outside. Direct the students to observe as many living and nonliving things that they can as they walk with their cooperative groups.

3. Back in the classroom each cooperative group should discuss the differences between living and nonliving things.

4. Introduce the terms: abiotic and biotic. Each group is to come to a consensus to define those terms using the information gathered during their observations.

5. Discuss the terms as a whole class. Students give several examples of each type of factor.

6. Distribute nature magazines to each group.

7. Individually students are to cut out photos of biotic and abiotic factors. They will need at least 10 photos of each type of factor. The photos should all be found in the same type of ecosystem (ie: rainforest, desert etc…).

8. The students need to create a collage with the photos labeling one side as abiotic factors and the other side as biotic factors. Note: Each student in the group should work on a different ecosystem. The student must label the top of the collage with the name of the ecosystem shown.

9. After students are finished with their collage they are to informally share them with their groups. The teacher should circulate during this time providing positive and guiding feedback.

10. Collages will then be collected with the best examples to be displayed on the classroom bulletin board.


As a formative assessment, each student will create a collage using magazine photos showing abiotic factors on one side of the collage and biotic factors on the other side. The photos should be representative of one particular ecosystem (ie: rainforest, desert etc…)
The student must correctly place at least 10 examples of each type of factor on the proper side of the collage .Each example must be found in the same type of ecosystem. A collage will be considered commendable with at least 9 appropriate factors of each type correctly placed.(Note: appropriate means that it is the correct type of factor and belongs to the same type of ecosystem as the other factors shown on the collage).A collage will be considered acceptable with at least 7 factors of each type correctly placed. A collage will be considered acceptable with changes if less than 7 factors of each type are correctly placed. The student will then receive positive and guiding feedback to enable them to correctly revise their collage.


Students who need extra practice may create a diorama showing a specific ecosystem and 5-7 abiotic and biotic factors found in that ecosystem. They should make a key identifying factors as biotic and abiotic.
As a follow-up to this activity the students could write a 5 paragraph essay describing the biotic and abiotic factors shown in their collage and explaining possible ways that they interact with each other. In their paragraph they should include possible ramifications if one of the factors in their collage was no longer available.
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