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

Day 2: Preparing for Fieldwork


Students become familiar with what animals and animal signs to look for outdoors, then practice field research skills and methods.

Lesson Overview

- are familiar with some of the animals and animal signs they might see outdoors
- know how to gather evidence of what animals eat
- know how to set up a study plot and where to look for animals within the plot
- are able to use humane techniquest for capturing and observing small animals
- have sharper observation skills, and understand the difference between an observation and an idea
- are ready to behave like scientists outdoors

Two 40-minute sessions
Classroom and outdoors

Session 1

For the Class:

  • overhead transparencies of animals and animal signs
  • set of field equipment:
  • pointed metal or wooden stake, about 60cm long
  • 2.5 meter cord tied to a metal ring that fits over the stake
  • clear plastic spoon
  • plastic spoon
  • cotton swab
  • index card
  • small eraser or piece of chalk

Session 2

For each student:

  • hand lens
  • item to observe



See the Preparing for Field Work document in Lesson Resources for further details.

Lesson Resources
NYS Standards
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
ELA 1- Language to collect and interpret information and understand generalizations
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
5A Diversity of Life
5D Interdependence of Life
5E Flow of Matter and Energy
12A Values and Attitudes
12D Communication Skills

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