Monday, January 9, 2012
The Empty Lot: What Can you Find in a Square Meter
Have your students head outside on a nice day. Mark off one-square-meter squares, using string or yarn. These will be your students "lots". The lots can be on a variety of terrain - grassy areas, parking lots, etc.
Before students explore their lots, have them guess how many different living things they'll find evidence of in their lot.
Have students carefully examine their lot to see how many different living things they can find (or evidence of living things). They can carefully move leaves and grass aside, but shouldn't pull anything out of the ground. And, they should try to replace anything they move to the best of their ability. Students may also wish to use magnifying glasses to make closer observations.
Student should keep a list of the things they find - naming the ones for which they know the names and providing careful illustrations for the ones in which they don't know names. Upon returning to the classroom, students can use their observations and reference books to identify the unknown objects.
Were your students surprised by the number of living things they found? How did the different terrains vary in their living components? What impact do human habitats have on other creatures' habitats?
By the way, The Empty Lot is illustrated by Jim Arnosky, who has written (and illustrated) a plethora of picture books about nature. He's well worth checking out if you're looking for some books to accompany any studies of animals or plants.