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Preparing for Fieldwork

Unit Plan: Who Eats What?Lesson: 2 Time: Two 40-minute sessions Setting: Classroom and outdoors
3-5, 6-8Schoolyard Ecology
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Students become familiar with what animals and animal signs to look for outdoors, then practice field research skills and methods.


    - 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 techniques 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


    Session 1

    For the Class:

    • display or photocopy 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


    Lesson Files

    Preparing for Field Work

    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

    NYS Standards

    MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science, 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.