top of page

Non-living Life: GIS Week 3

DCIs: LS1.A: Structure and Function; LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in EcosystemsLS4.C: Adaptation

SEPs: Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking; Construction Explanations for Science

CCCs: Patterns; Systems and System Models; Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles, and Conservation; Structure and Function

CA EPs & Cs:

Time: 1 - 2 Days, 45 minutes each 

Prep: Review Lesson Plan, download and share GPS data*

Anchoring Phenomena

Essential Question

What role does the California condor play in the California ecosystem, and how do changes in the ecosystem impact condors over time?


Day 1

Warm up: Condor chick nest cam clips

  • Have students write what they notice.  Have students write questions related to the video on Post-Its to add to the Question Board.

1. Class Discussion​ (Can be centered around the nest cam clips; what biotic or abiotic factors do you see in the video?)

  • What are biotic factors (living or comes from something living) in the condor’s environment?  (Possible answers: trees, plants, other animals, bacteria, fungus, dead animals, fur, bones, shells, etc.)

  • What are abiotic factors (non-living) in the condor’s environment? (Possible answers: rocks, sun, wind, mountains, water, roads, pollution, shells? etc).​

  • The teacher should create a list for the class as they share.

2. GIS Activity Week 3 - Using a GIS – Google Earth (Week 3 Data)

  • Guiding Question: How does the California condor’s environment affect their behaviors? (like soaring long distances)

  • Have students use their GIS Datasheets

  • Have them collect data for their assigned condor for Week 3.

  • Teacher will enter the student’s data into the Teacher Database.  Or have a student representative from each group enter the data into the Teacher Database.

  • After the activity, have students write 1-2 additional questions that they have (based on what they observed from the GIS activity) on Post-Its.  Have students add their questions to the question board.

3. In groups or partners, discuss how the abiotic and biotic factors in the condor’s environment relate to its behaviors.

  • Possible examples include:

    • soaring all day (wind pushing up off mountains and thermal lift help the condors fly – this is why the birds are always over mountains not over valleys.  An example of this is holding your arms up v. putting your arms out the window of the car)

    • ​Do they visit water? Visit man made structures?

    • What about their nesting sites?

  • How do abiotic factors affect your behavior?

    • Extend: Have students write or draw a description of their life if one abiotic factor did not exist​ (a world without wind)

*To request access to GPS data contact FWS Park Ranger:

bottom of page