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Schoolyard Ecology

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Thinking about the flow of matter and energy with students is one of the key ways of exploring ecosystems. In these lessons, students construct their own understanding of ecosystems through investigations in their schoolyard, developing ideas about ecological processes and functions


    The Schoolyard Ecology lessons include easy-to follow lessons and protocols for exploring ecology with your students, both in your schoolyard and in neighboring ecosystems:

    • Stream Phenology
    • Soil & invertebrate investigations
    • Social science of the schoolyard
    • Movement of water

    Many of our protocols also include how-to videos, so that you can learn how to set up your own pit-fall trap, make track plates, or conduct beat sampling.  

    The Cary Institute has been conducting ecosystem investigations at regional schools and on its own  grounds for three decades, and believes that the best way to understand ecosystems is to explore them first-hand!  The materials in this section have been developed through a range of projects, as well as our own experiences teaching students at the Cary Institute.