This Ecological Succession lab will have students observing the changes in an abandoned hay field over a 100-year time period by counting tree symbols and calculating the percentages of tree species over time. They'll then construct 2 line graphs of the percentages that they've calculated, one for the understory and one for the canopy. Students will observe the changes as the field changes from low shrubs like blackberry to tall trees like sugar maples and beeches.
This lab is great for an introduction to ecological succession, or it can also be used to review percent calculations and graphing exercises with some real-world applications.. The analysis questions will really help students to understand succession, climax communities, and the changes that can occur.
The only materials your students will need are calculators, rulers and colored pencils.
My students enjoy this lab, even the graphing part!