Biodiversity

This activity can be done all year round.  Students are divided into groups of approximately 10. Time frame for this activity is approximately 2 hours.

This set of activities is set up differently than most of the activities at the Arboretum. The students are divided into groups and they do all the activities as a group in one area of the Arboretum. Each group of students does the same measurements and data collection in very different areas of the Arboretum. The students look at Abiotic, nonliving characteristics, and Biotic, living characteristics, of their mini-biomes. At the end they come together to compare their results so the students can see that the data from the field are different from the data in the oak-hickory, or piney forest demonstrating the diversity found at the Arboretum.

Activity

Students become scientist by studying different areas of the Arboretum with scientific instruments. They make observations and collect data that gives a thorough picture of the mini-biome they are working in.

Materials Needed

  • worksheet, pencil, clipboard, pH tests
  • thermometers, water, moisture probes
  • light meters, bottle,s sling psychrometers
  • baby wipes, trowels

Procedure

1. Abiotic investigation—take readings on ambient temperature, soil temperature, soil pH, relative humidity, and light

2. Soil investigation—determine if soil is loamy, clayey, or sandy

3. Biotic investigation—micro-hike, bird watching, and plant density

See the Docent worksheet

Alabama Course of Study for Science

This activity meets goals specified for grades:

  • K–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20
  • 1st–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25
  • 2nd–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26
  • 3rd–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 13, 32, 39, 40
  • 4th–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 41, 43, 46
  • 5th–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 30, 48

Learning Outcomes

Students will become involved in the research process and understand why certain pieces of data are important to understanding the environment of the mini-biome they study.

Instrumental Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • use and read scientific instruments.
  • read and record the measurements made by the scientific instruments.
  • observe and describe the plant and animal life that is evident in the mini-biome.
  • discover, discuss, and determine soil structure.