Ecological terms teaching resources

Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about ecological definitions (GCSE and Key Stage 3)

The study of ecology, like many disciplines within science, is ladened with a vast number of new words. Many of these words represent ideas that cannot be seen e.g. niche, ecosystem and abiotic factors and so require really careful teaching. This ecosystem in a bottle shown below could serve a useful framework to begin thinking about some of these ideas.

Key ecological terms

Understanding key terms in ecology

GCSE activity and worksheet on defining key words used in ecology. A picture of a pond is used to support student understanding of key ecological terms. The activity can be used to assess prior knowledge or to strengthen understanding of terms by asking students to relate a definition to an example. (PDF)

Video clip to assess whether students understand key ecological terms. Students watch the linked video of the Lion King. They identify examples to explain the following terms: species, population, community, habitat, ecosystem, niche, abiotic factor, biotic factor, competition. You can adapt this activity to assess a variety of ecological terms.

  1. Carbon cycle
  2. Ecological terms
  3. Food chains
  4. Habitats
  5. Nitrogen cycle
  6. Sampling techniques and fieldwork