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In this outdoor investigation students will further their understanding of the concept of species diversity within and between ecosystems. Working in small teams, they first document the biodiversity of wildlife in the schoolyard by selecting and mapping those areas expected to hold the greatest number and variety of species.
Part two takes place in a local park or other near-by natural area to offer a comparison for their findings from the day before. Students are guided in their investigation by a number of questions provided on “biodiversity clue cards” Once the survey has been completed, students discuss their findings and each team selects two of their findings to identify by scientific name and investigate further. The class will pool this information and create a taxonomy chart to summarize the biodiversity they encountered in the investigation.
This activity supports science curriculum outcomes related to habitats and interactions within ecosystems. It is an excellent outdoor, experiential activity to enhance the learning by producing a field guide relevant to the students' own community.
It could also be extended through visits to other local habitats such as wetlands or forests to compare and contrast plant and animal species.
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