Natural Diversity

Science Activity

Students become aware of the diversity of nature in the northeast region of the U.S. by researching the life in different ecosystems.

BACKGROUND

An ecosystem is the scientific term for the combination of plant and animal life and its enviroment. In the northeast, several ecosystems are distinguishable, including marshes, tidal basins, forests, ponds, and ocean.

WHAT YOU NEED

WHAT TO DO

  1. Discuss the various biomes in the Northeast and use a map to indicate where they might be found.

  2. Tell students you want them to research one animal that might be found in one of these ecosystems (for example, forest: white-tailed deer, moose, skunk, cardinal; ocean: lobster, crab, cod).

  3. Pass out an information sheet to each student and discuss the kinds of facts students are to look for. Be sure students understand that "animal" can include birds, mammals, insects, fresh- and saltwater fish, and crustaceans.

  4. Tell students that after they have done their research and filled out the sheet, they are to make a color drawing or painting of the animal. Encourage them to show as much as they can of the animal's environment, such as plant life. Have them attach the information sheet to the completed illustration. (You may want to suggest that students make preliminary sketches before beginning their final drawing.)

  5. Have students group their work, on walls and bulletin boards, according to ecosystems. Letter, or have students letter, a sign identifying each ecosystem.

TEACHING OPTIONS

Create a large wall chart to summarize the information students have gathered. Organize the chart into biomes and have students enter their information in the correct columns.

Use the collection of animals in their respective ecosystems to explore the ecosystems further. Add information about weather, plant life, geology, etc.

Encourage students to learn if there are any endangered species in the northeast and to report on them.


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