Urban Ecosystems

When people think of ecology, they usually imagine studies out in the country. The next thing they think of is studies involving the relationship of plants and animals to one another. They also imagine studies that show how organisms relate to the physical environment -- air, water, and soil. People and cities usually don't come to mind when ecology is mentioned.

Day 8: An Analysis of a Schoolyard


Scientists draw conclusions based on data collected. Conclusions made by scientists are often used to support a recommendation to engage in a specific action. Living and nonliving elements of a schoolyard affect each other. Questions arise out of scientific experiments that lead to other experiments.

Lesson Overview

Students will reflect on the projec to date, compare their results to their hypotheses, and draw conclusions about their schoolyard.

2 class periods
  • Student handouts
  • Pencils
  • Data from previous lessons in this unit plan
  1. Have the class complete question 1 on the student sheet. 
  2. Display for the class the composite results of the Land Cover Types. Have the students compare these with their predictions, and to complete the Land Cover Type table. Ask them what it means to scientists if their hypothesis is right or wrong. Finally, display the composite class hypothesis and compare results.  
  3. Have students complete the remainder of the worksheet.  Feel free to discuss with the students their answers to question 7. Based on the information gathered, what are some of the things they might like to change about their school yard? Why? How might they go about making some of those changes.  You may wish to use this as a springboard from which the students might draft a letter to the school’s site council, or make a presentation at a PTA meeting discussing some of their results and related suggestions.
Lesson Resources
NYS Standards
MST 1 - Mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
1B Scientific Inquiry
1C The scientific enterprise

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

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