North Pole Ecosystems Inquiry Lesson with Projects

Looking for a fun way to connect real learning to the winter and holiday season? You get real learning about the actual ecosystems of the North Pole. Plus, one of the projects has a fun Santa’s North Pole spin.

You will love how easy this experiment based lesson makes teaching science through inquiry and phenomena! Perfect for grades 3-5 science and STEM.

An engaging way to learn about ecosystems, especially in those weeks around winter break and Christmas.

Try the FREE Project!

You get:

•Teacher Planning Guide with ideas and examples

•Sample Teacher Planning Guide for a model project

•Project Week Lesson Plan

•Mystery Challenges (Activate and Build Schema)

•Mystery Challenge Think Sheet

•Research Scavenger Hunt

•Read All About It Informational Text

5 Projects each including:

•Project Rubric

•Student Project Guide

•Student Presentation Guide

•Reflection Guide (CER Writing)

Project List:

Here are a few standards based projects that provide deeper understanding and mastery of Ecosystems. I have added one fun project to connect real learning with creativity for a special winter/Christmas themed project.

1.Develop a model of the food web showing the flow of energy through the organisms of the North Pole Ecosystem.

2.Research and develop a guide to the structures and functions of organisms that allow them to survive the North Pole environment.

3.Develop a model showing the interactions within this North Pole ecosystem including how organisms survive by interacting with biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) factors.

4.Research and make a claim about the effects of environmental changes on organisms living at the North Pole. Changing temperatures and water levels are a couple of environmental events at the North Pole.

5.Create a guide to the Ecosystems of Santa’s North Pole. Include real and/or fictional animals and plants. Think about organisms, landforms, bodies of water, temperatures, precipitation, interactions, and food webs within the ecosystem. 

Daily Learning Activities:


•Mystery Challenges with Student Think Sheet (quick intro to get students thinking about the topic)

•Research Scavenger Hunt to build a better understanding of how mass and distance affect gravity and its gravitational pull. This can be done through research or from the included informational text

•Experiment Planning Guide to Brainstorm a list of ideas of ways to test changes in matter with an experiment

*Monday activities can change for each project. More time for research, additional reading, or vocabulary. since there is one set of mystery challenges and one informational text and 5 projects.


•Select a favorite idea to plan and start the project. Use the included guide.


•Project Work Day


•Project Work Day

•Create the Presentation


•Presentations to class

•Students will reflect on the week of learning using the Reflection Guide page CER writing.

Learning through inquiry and phenomena is a natural way to explore and engage in the science standards. Projects and experiments are a great way to achieve higher depth of learning which will also give your students a higher level of mastery.

You can use this in any way throughout your lesson or even as your lesson depending on your teaching style. I like to give students a base knowledge which acts a working knowledge or schema for completing a project like this. Each of my regular lesson sets give students a basic knowledge of the concept plus key vocabulary terms. My lesson sets even provide labs and critical thinking to prepare students to make the best of their project.

These lesson sets work well before or during an inquiry and phenomena week.

A teacher guide is provided so you can easily lead students through exploring natural phenomena in Science.

Student Guides are provided for independent work on testing the hypothesis of their experiment.

Standards Covered:

NGSS 5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

NGSS 3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.*

TEKS 5.12 (A) observe and describe how a variety of organisms survive by interacting with biotic and abiotic factors in a healthy ecosystem;

(B) predict how changes in the ecosystem affect the cycling of matter and flow of energy in a food web; and

(C) describe a healthy ecosystem and how human activities can be beneficial or harmful to an ecosystem.

TEKS 5.13 (A) analyze the structures and functions of different species to identify how organisms survive in the same environment; and

TEKS 4.12 (B) describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy through food webs, including the roles of the Sun, producers, consumers, and decomposers; and

TEKS 3.12 (A) explain how temperature and precipitation affect animal growth and behavior through migration and hibernation and plant responses through dormancy;

TEKS 3.12 (B) identify and describe the flow of energy in a food chain and predict how changes in a food chain such as removal of frogs from a pond or bees from a field affect the ecosystem;

Don’t forget to grab the Winter Holiday & Christmas Science and Literacy Activity Set for even more Winter Holiday learning and fun!! It’s loaded with interesting informational texts making unique connections between Science and the winter season and holidays. PLUS, it includes some STEM challenges and simple science skill practice.

Leave a Reply