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Caritas Creek Virtual Retreat Program

Lesson 2

Connections and Interdependence 

"There is only Christ. He is everything and he is in everything."  

Students will join our enthusiastic staff as they explore the redwood forest ecosystem looking for organisms. They will create a model to track how energy flows and matter cycles through our planet by studying a specific organism. This activity gives students a way to look at how organisms are connected to ecosystems through the cycling of matter and the flow of energy. By the end of the activity, students will be able to make distinctions between how matter and energy are used and transferred and will be encouraged to apply this important crosscutting concept to the world around them. Our Virtual Retreat Facilitator will use the video clips of our Naturalists teaching in the forest in conjunction with other educational resources to keep students engaged and excited about learning. They will lead discussions related to Pope Francis’ Encyclicals, Laudato Si and Fratelli tutti and relate the messages to the theme of the lesson, “Connections and Interdependence.”




Life Sciences/ Matter & Energy


Energy & Matter: Flows, Cycles & Conservation


Developing & Using Models


Students will:

  • Describe pathways of energy and matter in organisms.
  • Share ideas and create a model in collaboration with one another and with the instructor.
  • Begin to understand how matter cycles and how energy flows within an ecosystem.
  • Identify energy and matter wastes produced by organisms.
  • Be able to identify a variety of local forest community and habitat members and discuss their different roles. 
  • Find it progressively easier to recognize similarities between human, plant and animal communities.
  • Witness and experience the fragility of various natural and social systems and begin to adopt a protective demeanor toward them.
  • Find it increasingly difficult to identify anything that is NOT connected to them.
  • Discuss Pope Francis’ Encyclicals, Laudato Si and Fratelli tutti and relate the messages to the theme of the lesson, “Connections and Interdependence.”

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