Schoolyard Ecology

Eco-Inquiry, an ecology curriculum for grades 5-8 helps teachers transform their classrooms into centers of ecological research.

Day 2: Stalking the Unseen


Students hear a story of a scientist who studies microbe decomposers, then plan and take a trip outside to collect items for culturing microbes.

Lesson Overview

Students will be able to: realize that scientists study decomposition to create knowledge that people can use to make wise decisions about how to manage land so it stays fertile, give examples of biotic and abiotic items, find evidence of decomposition outdoors.

Session 1 - 1hr and Session 2 - 1hr
Classroom and Outdoors

Session 1

For the class:
- petri dish or other clear container with flat bottom and cover|
- newsprint sheets for class lists
- sandwhich size ziplock bags
- small eraser or piece of chalk

Session 2

For the class:
- newsprint for leaf continuum

For each pair of students:
- 2 sandwich size ziplock bags
- masking tape or permanent marker
- 2 hand lens (optional)
- ruler (optional)


See Lesson Resources below for further details.

Lesson Resources
NYS Standards
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
5D Interdependence of Life
5E Flow of Matter and Energy

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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