Schoolyard Tree Biodiversity

Grades: 
9-12
6-8
Topic(s): 
Biodiversity

This "Schoolyard Tree Biodiversity" unit was designed by a Baltimore County high school teacher, Dr. Carla Guarraia, as part of her Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study during the 2009-2010 school year. During this time period, Dr. Guarraia taught Biology, AP Biology, and Research Methods at St. Paul's School for Girls.

Dr. Guarraia's profile at St. Paul's School

Objectives overview

Students will generate data on trees within our own habitat to demonstrate relationships between biodiversity and evolution.

1. Students will research native and invasive trees.
a. Students will compare the red maple tree to the Norway maple tree
b. Students will compare the tree of heaven to the black locust tree
c. Students will consider the habitat, resource needs and reproductive strategies of both pairs.

2. Students will employ techniques to characterize and identify a tree.
a. Students will manipulate a compass, field tape and field guide
b. Students will estimate height and width of the tree and its crown

3. Students will delineate how biodiversity relates to evolution.
a. Students will discuss the importance of biodiversity
b. Students will relate their knowledge of biodiversity to their background knowledge on evolution
c. Students will evaluate the role of invasive species on biodiversity

4. Students will use the trees in their surrounding environment to evaluate the biodiversity of tree species.
a. Students will practice their skills of tree characterization to find and identify three pre-labeled trees
b. Students will characterize a plot with unknown trees

5. Students will propose adaptations and reproductive strategies that led to the current biodiversity of trees in their environment.

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