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Outdoor Research Excursion

Unit Plan: Who Eats What?Lesson: 3 Time: One outdoor session (1.5 - 2 hours) and one indoor session (40 min). Setting: Classroom and Outdoors
3-5, 6-8Schoolyard Ecology
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Students visit thier study site to look for animals and clues about their food resources. The next day they process their findings.


Students will be able to:

- point out evidence of what animals live on the study site and what they eat
- know how to catergorize things in nature, and use the terms biotic and abiotic
- make some general statements about the biodiversity and food resources on their study plots, and on the site as a whole
- understand that their site is an ecosystem


Session 1

For the Class: Supplementary field equipment (optional)

  • trays (e.g. cookie sheets, foil pans, dishpans) lined with white paper
  • whistle
  • camera
  • several metal soupspoons
  • field guides
  • compass
  • sweep nets


For each group of 3-4 students:

  • pointed metal or wooden stake,  about 60 cm long
  • 2.5 meter cord tied to a metal ring that fits over the stake
  • cup of flour in a baggie
  • shopping bag
  • copy of the Who Eats What guide


For each student:

  • clear plastic cup
  • plastic spoon
  • cotton swab
  • index card
  • hand lens
  • map template

Session 2

For the class:

  • newsprint sheets for class lists
  • 2 pieces of oak tag for master map (optional)

Lesson Files

Outdoor Research Excursion
Who Eats What Guide

Benchmarks for Science Literacy

5A Diversity of Life, 5E Flow of Matter and Energy, 12D Communication Skills

NYS Standards

MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science, MST 7- Problem solving using mathematics, science, and technology (working effectively, process and analyze information, presenting results), ELA 1- Language to collect and interpret information and understand generalizations
Next Generation Science Standards

Science and Engineering Practices

Planning and carrying out investigations

Cross Cutting Concepts


Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS2A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
New York State Science Learning Standards

Performance Expectations

MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms in a variety of ecosystems.

Hogan, Kathleen. Eco-Inquiry: A Guide to Ecological Learning Experiences for the Upper Elementary/Middle Grades. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, PO Box 1840, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, IA 52004-1840., 1994.