a native vs. planted forest)
Topic: Trees / Forest Ecology / Social Studies
Age Group: 6th grade
Identify characteristics of planted and native forests
Identify differences between planted and native forests
Understand bio-diversity through quadrant investigation
Describe the benefits and necessity of bio-diversity
List of All Materials Needed:
Quadrants--enough for 2-3 students per group (8-12 quadrants)
Plastic containers to
collect samples (8-12 containers)
Poster board divided
into two columns titled "Native" and "Planted"
Ask students what kinds of foods they like to eat. Focus on
the variety and what it would be like if they only had one type of food. What
if that one food source was suddenly gone?
Discuss that healthy ecosystems depend on variety in order
to stay "balanced" and healthy.
Take students to where native and planted forests are next
to each other; ask for student descriptions of each. Focus on diversity of
native versus lack of diversity in planted.
Demonstrate how to do a quadrant investigation in a grassy
area. Show how many different species there are if you look closely. Discuss
habitat/food needs that are met by different grasses and plants in your
quadrant vs. if there was only one type of grass
Divide students into groups of 2-3 students.
Give each group a quadrant and a collection container.
Assign half the students to the planted forest, and half to
the native forest to lay their quadrants down, and collect small samples of each different plant within their quadrant
When students seem to have exhausted the variety of plants,
or time runs short, have all students return to you.
Tape student samples of different plants in appropriate
Compare column variety; discuss habitat/food needs that are
met by one forest type vs. the other
Ask students to share ideas about what threatens a forest's
health and "balance" --disease, insect infestation, exotic
species--and why a diverse forest is better able to recover from such threats