Environment 6: Grade 10

Grade 10: Eco Curriculum


B. Atmosphere: weather and climate (Context: The World)
■ The atmosphere
• heating of the atmosphere;
• moisture in the atmosphere;
• impact of humans on the atmosphere and weather (e.g. the ozone issue, global warming, acid rain, the
greenhouse effect – use case studies from African states);
• deserts: formation, distribution, arid processes and resultant landforms.

C. The structure and changing landforms of the Earth
Context: The World
■ Gain an understanding of the time perspective within the geomorphical context.
■ Internal forces:
• plate tectonics, faulting and resultant landforms, earthquakes and vulcanism;
• response of humans to these hazards and opportunities.
■ External forces:
• weathering and erosion: processes that shape the Earth’s surface;
• the influence of weathering and erosion on human activities;
• the significance of the resultant landforms;
• the impact (positive and negative) of humans on weathering and erosion processes.
■ Rock types, formations, characteristics, uses and associated landforms.

Food Production

Revise the definitions of producers, consumers and decomposers
Explain how the leaf and its tissues play a role in meeting the requirements of photosynthesis

The importance of photosynthesis
Discuss importance of photosynthesis in terms of
 provision of energy for all living organisms
 maintaining the correct balance of O2 and CO2 in the atmosphere
Discuss consequences of large scale removal of vegetation such as in deforestation

The process photosynthesis
Briefly describe the process of photosynthesis as the following (no further biochemical details):
1) Light Phase – chlorophyll traps light energy from the sun and uses this energy to split water molecules to form energised hydrogen and oxygen. The energised hydrogen atoms are released and then passed on to the dark phase. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere. Some energy trapped by the chlorophyll is used to form the energy carrier, ATP
2) Dark phase – use of the energised hydrogen from the light phase and CO2 to form hydrocarbons, ultimately to form sugars like glucose and later starch. Energy for this formation comes from ATP from the light phase
Discuss the factors that could affect the rate of photosynthesis


Energy Release

Define cellular respiration
State the ‘Law of Conservation of Energy’ and how it relates to cellular respiration
Explain how breathing, gas exchange and cellular respiration are different but related processes
Differentiate between photosynthesis and cellular respiration as anabolic and catabolic processes, respectively



Biosphere, biomes and ecosystems

Define the terms biosphere, biome and ecosystem
Explain biosphere as hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere
Describe examples of biomes found in South Africa with reference to:
 climate
 organisms found there

Practical study of one ecosystem
(At least one hypothesis testing practical should be done in this section)
Discuss the biotic components of an ecosystem e.g.:
 plants (e.g.  number of plants, adaptations to environment, muti plants, invader plants)
 animals (e.g. number of carnivores, herbivores, invaders/pests)
 decomposers (fungi and bacteria;  biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances)
Discuss the following abiotic components
 temperature
 water
 light
 soil
 physiographic factors
 Conduct an investigation involving one or more of the abiotic components listed above

Interaction between biotic and abiotic components
Discuss the interaction between biotic and abiotic components in an ecosystem selected from one of the biomes in South Africa (e.g. effect of light/water, etc. on the growth of plants and activity of animals)
Energy flow within an environment

Explain what is meant by energy flow.
List major components of the pathway of energy flow as: producers, consumers (herbivores and carnivores), decomposers

Food chains and food webs
Use the organisms found in the selected ecosystem to explain how the following will be formed
 food chains
 food webs
Describe the impact of human activities on the existence of food chains and food webs

Nutrient cycles
Briefly outline the following nutrient cycles (no inorganic chemistry details are required):
 water cycle
 nitrogen cycle
 carbon cycle
Discuss the way in which one or more of our natural resources can be used in a more sustainable way eg. water, soil, wood, plants, animals
Discuss the uses of one or more natural resources in cultural practices eg. water for baptism; cows for lobola; reeds for craft making

Biodiversity of plants and animals and their conservation

Define the terms biodiversity and conservation
Outline the biodiversity that exists with regard to:
 habitats
 modes of nutrition
 structural adaptations
Study of a biome
Define a biome
Review the variety of biomes that exist (from Environmental Studies)
Briefly describe the selected biome and list the challenges that face organisms that live here
Describe the diversity of organisms that exist in a selected biome
Compare, through a practical study,  the similarities and differences that organisms show in order to survive in water and on land (using at least one example of an aquatic and a terrestrial plant and animal)
Highlight the advantages of structural adaptations of organisms to the environment for survival, in contributing to biodiversity

Significance and value of biodiversity to ecosystem function and human survival

Energy flow and energy relationships
Review energy flow through an ecosystem (from environmental studies)
Use data to briefly describe the effect of environmental imbalances (eg. drought, disease) on food chains, food webs, energy flow and biodiversity
Explain the influence of biodiversity on the number of food chains in an ecosystem
Explain how the number of food chains increases the complexity of the food web in an ecosystem
Explain how the complexity of a food web contributes to ecosystem survival

Provision of living and non living resources for humans
Define natural resources
Name the living and non-living resources in an ecosystem near you
Discuss ways that humans utilise these resources
Explain how humans can use these resources in a sustainable way
Investigate how some community uses living and non-living resources for cultural purposes

Threats to Biodiversity

What is meant by loss of biodiversity
List consequences of a loss in biodiversity

Threats to Energy Relationships
and continued provision of human
Discuss any two natural factors that may lead to loss of biodiversity such as…
• floods
• earthquakes
• fires
• tsunamis
• volcanic eruptions
• cyclones
• tornadoes
• droughts
Discuss any two human activities that may lead to loss of biodiversity such as…
• Habitat Destruction
• Deforestation
• Silviculture/Commercial Forestry
• Poaching and Hunting
• Overfishing
• Traditional medicine/muti-trade
• Introduction of alien species
• Global warming
• Ozone depletion
• Commercial agriculture
• Ranching
• Pollution,
• Dune mining

Preventing threats to biodiversity
Conduct research to find out
• Species that have become extinct
• species that are endangered
• factors that lead to species becoming endangered or becoming extinct
• strategies to prevent extinction (arbor day, world environment day, etc.)
• legislation as a strategy to overcome threats to biodiversity, e.g. legislation controlling fishing, legislation for protected species, legislation over pollution control