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GLOBE Project


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Worksheets
  • Lesson Plans, two 45-minute class periods

Regional Focus

North America, Africa, Europe



Temperature and Precipitation as Limiting Factors in Ecosystems

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  • In this activity, students will read graphs to understand the influence of temperature and precipitation on different ecosystems and learn which of these factors limits growth the most.
Teaching Tips


  • The lesson has very clear directions and great visuals.
  • The grouping and discussion strategies will enhance learning for a broad range of learners.


  • Prior to the lesson, students should know how to read line graphs and have familiarity with different land cover types.


  • Pre-teaching vocabulary will be helpful for English language learners.
  • The activity could be enhanced if educators indicate that seasonal patterns are changing and builds some connections toward an understanding of global climate change.
  • Classes could research how temperature and precipitation levels are changing due to climate change in the different regions from the activity. Students could discuss how these changes may affect plant growth there.
  • Other helpful resources include this video on ecosystems, this video on the importance of soil in plant growth, and this video on ecological farming practices.
Scientist Notes
Temperature and precipitation are the two most important factors in determining vegetation growth. This resource utilizes real data so that students may discover which factor limits vegetation growth in specific locations and climates. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-1 Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
      • HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
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