Ecosystems: Communities

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11383

What would you call your family, pets, and the people who live around you? Different species with different jobs working together in the same place make for a good ecosystem essay and fun project!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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What is a community? Who — and what — lives in your community?

A community is multiple populations of species living in the same habitat.

In the previous Related Lessons of the Ecosystems series (right-hand sidebar), you learned about habitats, niches, and populations. A community is a combination of all three of those things! A community has populations of different species, and the different species have various niches. All populations that make up a community live in the same habitat.

So far, you know:

  • a community is multiple populations of species living in a habitat
  • a population is a single group of species living in the same habitat
  • a habitat is the physical place where a species lives

Did you remember all that information?

Great! Tell a parent or teacher two of the abiotic (nonliving) factors that make up a habitat.

squirrel in a tree

A community combines everything you have learned so far!

It is a combination of populations and niches all mixed into the same habitat. Take a look at where you live. If you live in an apartment complex, the people living in the same building with you are part of your community. You may be the same species (humans), but there may also be fish, dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, and many more critters living among you in your apartment complex.

All of the different species living in your apartment complex have different niches (jobs). Your entire apartment building is its own community. If you live in a house in a neighborhood, you are part of a community, too! The people and pets living in the houses in your neighborhood make up different species. The animals living outside of your home are different species as well. Every person and animal has its own niche. Your neighborhood is a community!

bunny in a garden

Another interesting community you can find on Earth is located in the forest. Bears, coyotes, foxes, chipmunks, squirrels, and lots of other animals share the forest. What would happen if every animal in the forest community only ate berries? Imagine if the bears, coyotes, foxes, chipmunks, and squirrels all ate berries. What would happen to the berry bushes in the community? Would the animals be able to survive? Why or why not? Share your ideas about what you think would happen.

Did you say all the berry bushes would be eaten and the animals would starve? Nice job! The same is true for animal niches as well. If all the animals in this forest community had the same niche, they would not be able to survive. Each animal has its own special job.

Think back to the animal and plant business cards you made. Did your plants and animals have different jobs? Of course they did! All the plants and animals in the community need to have different niches. This keeps the community healthy and thriving.

African watering hole

Can you think of another example of an animal community? Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

When you are finished discussing the animal community you chose, move on to the next section.

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