(Comparing a native vs. planted forest)
Topic: Trees / Forest Ecology / Social Studies
Age Group: 6th grade
1. Identify characteristics of planted and native forests
2. Identify differences between planted and native forests
3. Understand bio-diversity through quadrant investigation
4. Describe the benefits and necessity of bio-diversity
List of All Materials Needed:
- Yarn 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"
- Outdoor setting
1. 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?
2. Discuss that healthy ecosystems depend on variety in order to stay "balanced" and healthy.
3. 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.
1. 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
2. Divide students into groups of 2-3 students.
3. Give each group a quadrant and a collection container.
4. 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
5. When students seem to have exhausted the variety of plants, or time runs short, have all students return to you.
6. Tape student samples of different plants in appropriate columns
1. Compare column variety; discuss habitat/food needs that are met by one forest type vs. the other
2. 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