Ecosystems Tour Lesson Plan

Learner objectives: Materials: tape recorder, blank tape, binoculars, camera , maps of school grounds, photographs of various areas around the school, audio tapes made on previous trips , each student will have, pencil clipboard, magnifying glass, Mill Street Ecosystem Journal
Skills: Evaluation

Lesson Description:

This walk will take place at least 5 times in August, October, December, March, and May. The duration and focus of each trip will vary depending on the season. Let parents know in advance and have kids dress appropriately. Also, identify kids with allergies to bee stings or other allergies.

The first two visits will provide background knowledge. Teachers will question and guide. Students will help decide what is to be recorded, it is not necessary for all to take part in recording during the early walks. Repeated visits will help students understand the concepts of succession and life-cycles.

Lesson Sequence:

Classroom Preparation: 

  1. Teacher will briefly describe where the tour will take us, what we'll be doing and looking for.
  2. Review maps, photographs and selected audio tapes and journal entries made on previous trips.
  3. Students predict changes that may have occured since previous visit.
  4. Students will pose questions to be answered during the tour.
  5. Students predict what animals they might see on this trip 
  6. Discuss respect for the property of others and respect for flora and fauna.
  7. Discuss the role that current weather might play on today's trip
  8. Emphasize that this is a scientific walk. Set the mood and expected behavior for activities.

Eco-Tour activities:

  1. Visit as many of these locations as feasible. In some places a quick look and listen will be sufficient. If possible divide students into groups and assign specific "tour stops" to each group.
    • Flagpole planting
    • Butterfly garden
    • Tree area in front of building.
    • Oak tree stand on southwest corner of property
    • Trees near front playground and front of school
    • Prairie
    • Construction area
    • Trees/undergrowth on northern property line
    • Farmer's field
  2. Activities may be very limited by the weather, but try to do at least the following. Use tape recorder to record observations. Transfer to journals after returning to building
  3. When weather permits do the following in each area:
    • Stand quietly.
    • Close your eyes.
    • What do you hear?
    • What do you smell?
    • How does the air "feel"?
    • Open your eyes give a general discription of the area
    • What has changed since our last visit?
    • What individual parts of systems are visible - leaves, branches, undergrowth, grass?
    • What is the ground like?
    • Are there any animals around?

Classroom activities:

  1. Compare new pictures with previous.
  2. Discuss accuracy of predictions.
  3. Discuss changes which have occurred.
  4. Listen to audio tape.
  5. Students make journal entries including at least one drawing of one area that was visited.

Unit designed by: Lisa Connell, Bev Johnson and Karren Wcisel - Spring, 1997

Karren's Curriculum Resources