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3-5, 6-8 Schoolyard Ecology

Students' central challenge is to determine the food web of a local site. By investigating a familiar area, such as their schoolyard or a neighborhood park, students see their everyday environment as an ecosystem of which they are part. After exploring outdoor study plots, students design investigations to answer thier questions about animal feeding behaviors.  This unit develops students' communication and application skills through assessment activities.  Students set up outdoor study stations to teach others about food web clues, and create an exhibition to share their findings.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students recieve a request to survey animals and their food resources on a local site, then talk about what they already know and how they could find out more.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

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

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students visit thier study site to look for animals and clues about their food resources. The next day they process their findings.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students design and carry out indoor or outdoor investigations to learn more about animals' feeding interactions.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students create stations with interpretive labels that teach others about signs of animals and what they eat.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students make food chains for their study site organisms, and learn food chain terminology.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students sort items into food and non-food categories, then play a game to get enough food - nutrients and energy - to support six ecosystem organisms.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students make food webs of their study site, then trace how a change in one population could affect other populations within the web.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students write predictions of how a proposed change to their study site would affect the organisms that live there.

  • Grades: 3-5, 6-8

    Students plan, prepare, and present an exhibition of their work to an audience.