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Ecosystems- Producers, Consumers, Decomposers Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan #2: Producers, Consumers, Decomposers

Lesson Plan

Producers, Consumers, Decomposers Lesson Plan (PDF)


  • Submitted by:  Vince Case & Steven Henley
  • Content Area:  Science, grades 4-5
  • Materials Needed: paper and pencil
  • Handouts Attached:  four square chart
  • Standard Addressed:  NGSS 5-LS2  Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy & Dynamics (see attached NGSS standards sheet for full information)
  • Skill to be Maintained:  Understanding the relationships of essential parts of an ecosystem(abiotic, producers, consumers, decomposers).  Observation skills activity.
  • Essential Question:  How do the main parts of an ecosystem interact with one another?
  • Academic Vocabulary/Word Wall words:  abiotic, producers, consumers, decomposers
  • Brain Drain or Warm Up Activity:  N/A

Basic Lesson Description and Procedure

  1. Students will review the definitions of abiotic and biotic things.
  2. Students draw a four-square chart and will label the chart during the video.
  3. Under the abiotic parts, students will learn the acronym “SAWS” that represent Soil, Air, Water, Sunlight.
  4. Students will understand that all energy in the ecosystem begins with energy from the sun in the form of sunlight.
  5. Students will connect the four ecosystem components with wavy energy arrows to demonstrate the flow of energy within and among the ecosystem parts.
  6. Students will learn about producers (plants that make their own food or energy with the sunlight).
  7. Students will learn about consumers (animals that eat food to get energy) and review different kinds of consumers (herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores).
  8. Students will learn about decomposers (living things that break down and get their energy from dead things).
  9. Students review each of these four main parts (abiotic, producers, consumers, and decomposers) to understand where energy on planet earth comes from.
  10. Students will complete an observation activity outside, with grown-up permission, or if not possible to go outside, students look out a window and/or their kitchen, to add observations of abiotic, producers, consumers, and decomposers (all 3 are biotic things) to their four-square chart.

Observation activity:

With permission of a grown-up, go outside, look out a window, or look in your kitchen-home-apartment to find at least 15-20 more examples (in total) of things that fit in the four categories.

Lesson Conclusion/Potential Practice at Home:

Students keep their 4-square charts for the next segment on ecosystems from the SMNHC to help them in the next lessons.


Just about any grade level can do this lesson and activity

Essential Parts of Ecosystems

Abiotic Factors, Producers, Consumers & Decomposers

Outdoor-Follow-up Activity


  1. Watch the Essential Parts of Ecosystems (Abiotic Factors, Producers, Consumers & Decomposers) videolesson
  2. Get a grown-up’s permission to do this 15-20 minute activity.
  3. Go outside your home-apartment if safe, or look out a window and in your kitchen.
  4. Find at least 15-20 more examples of natural abiotic and biotic things to add to your 4-square chart below.
  5. You can draw pictures and write words of things that you observe.
  6. Remember to look for things that are naturally-occurring and not human-made things that are additional examples of abiotic things, producers (plants), consumers (animals), and decomposers (things that break down dead things).






Producers (plants)







Consumers (animals)