In this activity your students will be closely examining an outdoor ecosystem. They will study and analyze the physical features of the ecosystem, the living organisms within the ecosystem, and the interactions between the biotic and abiotic components. Choose to use the traditional printable version, or the paperless, digital Google Apps version.
This resource is perfect for distance learning and for students in 1:1 classrooms.
What is included in this resource?
Most of our students pay very little attention to their environment. They may frequent a public park or live on a lake or pond, but rarely do they notice the complex web of interactions that are taking place right before their eyes. For these reasons, I find this activity to be very worthwhile and worth the time it takes to complete. Furthermore, a group of 4 or 5 students will have to work very closely together to complete this project. The benefits of group work and the reinforcement of social skills are certainly life lessons that will be utilized long after the subject matter is forgotten.
I use this lab when teaching my unit on Ecosystems. It is the perfect activity to use with my PowerPoint and Notes on Ecosystems.
This lab project is very easy to set up and very easy to clean up. No fancy materials are required, and yet, I find this to be one of the best labs that I use with my biology students. Students will carry out a very detailed study of a 5m x 5m outdoor ecosystem. Students will identify the living organisms in their ecosystem and answer a detailed set of 29 questions designed to prompt students to make good observations. Students will make food chains and food webs using the organisms in their ecosystem. Students look for abiotic factors, biotic factors, evidence of competition, camouflage, predator/prey relationships, limiting factors, etc.
This lab is appropriate for students in grades 8 - 12. The experiment and collection of data is easily completed by students in these grades. The differentiation in ability levels comes in the analysis questions. For younger students, it may be necessary to omit some of the analysis questions. Student handouts are completely editable to meet your needs.
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