Student Feature: 7th Grade “Backyard Biosphere” Articles

Seventh grade students in Mrs. Maxwell’s and Mrs. Huetter’s Science class recently participated in a biosphere and ecosystem project, which was featured on Newsworthy Notes. 

Now, the students have written articles on this project, and the Science teachers selected six student articles to be featured right here on Newsworthy Notes. 

The assignment: Write a first person narrative as if you are writing a science article on your biosphere project to submit to a magazine. Use descriptive words and incorporate vocabulary since you are the expert!

Great work seventh graders! Here are the outstanding students articles that Mrs. Maxwell and Mrs. Huetter selected to be featured.

7-2’s Biosphere

By Brooke


      In science class we have been creating a backyard biosphere. We decided this would be a good way to practice ecology. Creating the environment for our organisms was hard work. We needed a variety of different materials as well as ample abiotic and biotic factors. Through hard work and a community effort, our biosphere began to take shape.

      My entire class contributed to this project. The habitat turned out amazingly well. The organisms were very interesting. We had mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, a locust, ants, and two different species of lizards! We named our biotic factors too!

      Our ecosystems had abiotic factors as well. There was lots of dirt, rocks, there was a plastic water bowl, etc. Gathering these things may not have been as exciting but it was just as important. These factors provided shade and shelter for the biotic factors.

      We had to take care of our “backyard” everyday. We took turns feeding the organisms, spraying the plants, and all teh otehr things necessary to take care of our habitat. It was a great  learning experience. Each day, we added little and big crickets, mealworms, and food scraps.

       It was exciting to watch the different behaviors of the organisms and the changes inside our ecosystem. We created logs to help keep track and updated them daily. We took turns recording each day. It was a different experience and was very captivating.

       This was a really rewarding experience, and it was very fun to take part in learning about different species, their habitats, diets, and more. I feel that I really got something out of this project. I can’t wait to observe a biosphere in nature!


Science – Mini Biome Observations

By Talyn



     On August 27, 2013, Mrs. Maxwell’s class (7-2) assembled a mini biome in an aquarium.

     “It had four different types of lizards in it, Desert Spiny Lizard, Western Banded Gecko, Ornate Tree Lizard, and the Desert Grass Whip Tail Lizard.”

      The Western Banded Gecko and the Desert Grassland Lizard died, I think.

      “Now these lizards had it pretty easy since they weren’t in any sort of competition, so with more food and no exercise or scavenging, the Desert Spiny Lizard looked like it had gained some weight.” 

     (My partner named it Patricia, girl/boy? Who knows?)

     7-2 took care of our mini biome. We fed, watered, misted and the food was even live. Some of the kids were afraid to touch the bugs (including me). e fed the lizards crickets, mealworms and ants. The crickets, mealworms and ants ate fruit scraps and lettuce. A girl even caught a locust (giant grasshopper looking bug) that was outside of the Spanish (MPR) area. We misted the tank with an ordinary spray bottle. The lizards were caught from the wild and almost nothing was bought. Thanks for reading!


Experience Ecology With Me

By Cassie



       Learning about Ecology has helped me understand the complexity of the world around me. I’ve learned that the world isn’t something simple, the different ecosystems make up the world, and every ecosystem has different climate and different organisms.

         I first learned about producers, decomposers, and so forth. This prepared me for the learning ahead of me. The biotic and abiotic factors were one of the most complex things to comprehend. They aren’t just words; they divide the world into living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) organisms, thus teaching us the importance of plants and animals in an ecosystem.

       I studied the food chains of many places, including: Mt. Lemmon, Pond Waters, etc. and absorbed the knowledge given to me. I loved learning about “Food Chains” and “Food Webs”, which by the way aren’t the same thing. A “Food Chain” describes the energy flow of more than one organism, where a “Food Web” describes the flow of energy from one organism to the next, as they are consumed by a predator or as they consume prey.

      Making an ecosystem was fun, exciting, and educational. It helped me to understand that if even one adjustment is made to an ecosystem, some organisms can die, or be drawn to extinction: from starvation or any other events that can hurt an ecosystem. The “Food Chain” was so cool, just by observing the ecosystem every day; I could see the flow of energy. It was definitely my favorite part. 

      This adventure with Ecology has made me look at the world in a different way, we see the world as something already developed, but in reality it has to run itself each and every day. Our world depends on these organisms to run smoothly, and we need to recognize that when we think of our world. So, next time you go to the park or go and run outside, think of Ecology, and all it takes to get our world to run like it does.


Our Backyard Biosphere

By Madison



    In our class we are building a backyard biosphere. 

   “It was pretty hard to catch the insects because they would all hop away. I was not able to catch anything but I thought it was pretty amazing that my class caught crickets, grasshoppers, lizards and more.”

    It has been a very fun class time because we get to observe the animals.

    The lizards are eating the crickets and meal worms. We have to feed them five meal words, two large crickets and three small crickets each day because the lizards get hungry. The crickets are amazingly huge. They hop really high. We made a chart to keep track of how cold it is inside and outside and the movement of the animals. The average temperature is 20-degrees Celsius to 25-degrees Celsius, but 20, 21 and 22 is the main temperature.

      This project was very amazing. I enjoyed this project a lot. It was a lot of fun, was more fun than our other projects. I hope we do this again and get bigger lizards in our environment so we are able to see them and they don’t hide like our lizard we named Patricia, and our other lizard we have doesn’t hardly move. This project was amazing, and I hope I get to do it again.


Our Class Biosphere

By Sebastian




   We created a biome full of organisms. It was a project of ecology. The biome contains biotic and abiotic factors. Everything in the biome was part of a community.

    Each organism had a niche. The biome was very life like and realistic. It was very similar to a natural habitat. 

   “I was able to witness some of the things these organisms would do in a natural habitat. For example, a lizard was using camouflage by laying on a log the same color as himself.”

    It was an interesting experience witnessing the habitat and how the animals and insects interact with the biotic and abiotic factors. 


Ecology Article

By Bianca



   For two weeks, our seventh grade classes have been studying ecology. We made our own ecosystem. This contained ants, lizards, crickets, and meal worms. So it has abiotic and biotic factors.

    For these two weeks we fed our organisms. We put grapes and carrots. To make it a better environment, we added plants, cholla and rocks. Also, we kept track of the temperature and observed them and wrote it down.

    We learned about food chains and food webs. Our question was “How does energy flow through an ecosystem?” You would need decomposers, consumers, and producers. I learned a lot about this project, and I loved it!



A”Backyard Biosphere” in a 7th grade science class




A detailed poster of the large predators that inhabited one of the “Backyard Biospheres”