Disappearing Act

Content Type:
Time to Complete:
15 minutes

Supervisor Farah needs help explaining what is happening to the carcass of a rattlesnake. What is causing it to seemingly disappear?

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Standards Covered

MS-LS1-7. Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism. MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

Anchoring Phenomena & Topics Covered

decomposition; scavenger, decomposer, carbon, matter

Real World Connections

This quest helps students understand the role decomposition plays in the ecosystem. Students may look into what decomposers and scavengers live in their community and how they benefit the local ecosystem.

Teacher Guide

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Slithering Away

Farrah asks students to observe the decomposing rattlesnake and make observations of not only the carcass but of the surrounding environment,

Break it Down

Students have a conversation with Farrah to further break down what they observed. Where does the matter go? 

Show the Flow

Students create a flow chart to demonstrate their understanding of the process of decomposition.

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