Lesson Plan sustainable foundations best draft

Lesson Plan sustainable foundations best draft
Aprovecho KIDS Lesson Plans
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Sustainable Foundations
Food
Ecosystems
Human Habitat
Evening Program (shadow puppets)
Aprovecho
Living, learning, organizing, and educating to inspire a sustainable culture.
80574 Hazelton Rd. | Cottage Grove, OR | 97424
ph. 541.942.8198 | web. www.Aprovecho.net | email. [email protected]
Aprovecho KIDS Program
K-12 Students Investigating & Discovering Sustainability
Aprovecho is a research, education, and demonstration center offering engaging
hands-on learning experiences for youth in half-day, full-day, multi-day, and
overnight sessions. Students participating in the KIDS program will have
the opportunity to investigate real world problems and look for real world
solutions to resource conservation and sustainability. As students examine
these topics they will began to understand what actions they can take to promote
a healthier planet.
The goal of the KIDS program is to facilitate students in discovering how to
create a sustainable future. Students will investigate concepts, techniques, and
issues to determine sustainable practices.
The program is divided into four units:
Sustainable Foundations: Students will understand the concept of meeting
the needs of the current local and global population without compromising the
needs of future generations. They will be aware of the interdependence of all
things and the importance of how we design and manage water, land, and energy
resources.
Human Habitat: Students will learn ecological construction principles for
residential and commercial buildings, utilizing and conserving water, optimizing
the use of energy, and natural building techniques. They will explore how different
practices effect the environment.
Ecosystems: Students will understand that an ecosystem is a complex set
of relationships among the living resources, habitats, and residents of an area.
It includes plants, trees, animals, fish, birds, microorganisms, water, soil, and
people.
Food: Students will explore the relationships between themselves, their food,
and the environment. They will understand where food comes from and recognize
how the practices that are used to grow their food affect both themselves and their
environment.
For more information on the Aprovecho KIDS program, or to enroll your class
contact: Jeremy Roth | [email protected] | 541.946.3194
Table of Contents
Click on the title to see the lesson
Sustainable Foundations
Sustainability Scavenger Hunt
Sustainability Game
What was Here Before Us
Weather Instruments
Stream/Pond Survey
Watershed Model
Ecosystem Investigation
Super Soil
Water Pollution
Global Warming
Shrinking Habitat
Water Shortage
Sustainable Foundations
THROUGHLINES
Sustainable Foundations: Students will understand the concept of meeting the needs of the current local and global population
without compromising the needs of future generations. They will be aware of the interdependence of all things and the importance of
how we design and manage water, land, and energy resources.
GENERATIVE TOPICS
Sustainable Foundations: Students will learn the core areas of sustainability: whole systems design, long-term thinking, awareness of
impact and balance, and principles for creating healthy environments. This knowledge will foster a relationship of environmental
awareness and stewardship.
UNIT LEVEL UNDERSTANDING GOALS
PERFORMANCES OF UNDERSTANDING
1. Designing Systems: Students will understand
the importance of thinking about how systems
interact with one another as well as how they
interact within the community.
1. Designing Systems: Students will participate in designing systems in a
variety of different areas including food, water, and energy.
2. Planetary Rhythms: Students will learn how
water, geology, soils, and weather affect our planet
and our lives.
3. Land Stewardship: Students will learn
methods of land and water management. Students
will also learn about the importance of these
practices to maintain a healthy environment.
4. Ecological Thinking: Students will look at
multiple perspectives to view how the execution of
a decision may impact the community and its
resources.
Aprovecho KIDS Program Unit Overview
2. Planetary Rhythms: Students will explore bodies of water including oceans,
lakes, and rivers to see how water impacts our environment. Students will also
look at soil and geology to discover the lay of the land and its influence on other
systems. Students will examine the weather and the atmosphere and how it
affects the planet.
3. Land Stewardship: Students will explore techniques in restoration and land
and water management that will enable them to educate others in the importance
of promoting and implementing healthy ecosystems. Students will also learn
about the significance of these practices to maintain a flourishing and balanced
environment.
4. Ecological Thinking: Students will analyze how different environmental
situations such as air pollution and greenhouse gases affect our planet and our
community. Students will problem solve to create solutions that can have a
positive effect on our culture.
For more information contact: Jeremy Roth | [email protected] | 541.946.3194
Sustainability Scavenger Hunt
Subject: Sustainable foundations
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Sustainability
Objectives: Students will identify ways of life that are sustainable
Background Information: Sustainability means to use natural resources without
destroying the ecological balance of a particular area
Materials: Digital cameras, projector and computer, sustainability scavenger hunt
worksheet
Activities: Students will receive a 25-minute tour of Aprovecho. After the tour the
students will be broken up into groups. Try to have groups no larger then 4. Each
group will be given a camera. They will need to take pictures of the items on their
scavenger hunt. Tell them that each item on their list will have many different
solutions. Your job is to find of as many as possible and then take a picture of
them. Be creative with your answers. When time is up ring the bell for them to
return. Once everyone has returned gather the cameras and download pictures to
the computer. Each group will present their answers.
Sustainability Scavenger Hunt Questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Ways to collect water
Things used in building
Ways to create energy
Things that you can eat
People doing a sustainable activity
Things used to heat or cool
Things you can change about your current lifestyle to be more sustainable
Discussion Questions: Have each group present the pictures that they found and
why they chose it.
Wrap up/Reflection: Were any questions particularly hard? Were you surprised
by what you found?
Sustainability Game
Subject: Sustainable Foundations
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Sustainability Balance
Objectives: Students will learn about what ecological balance means by trying to
reach equilibrium in a simulated game
Background Information: Sustainability is utilizing natural resources without
destroying the ecological balance of a particular area.
Materials: Each group of three students will be given a packet with all the
materials that they need in it, calculator
Activities: Students will use the cut outs of energy, food, water, and home to
create a simulated environment. Using the cut outs students will have to balance
energy, food, land, water, and money.
Discussion Questions: Did you find this difficult? Were there some changes that
you made that were easier then others?
Wrap up/Reflection: Is there anything that you did in this game that you would
want to try at home?
PROVIDES
(per Year)
NEEDS
(per Year)
COSTS
Energy: 11,232 kWh
Water: 25,550 Gallons
Veggies, Fruits, Grains:
6,775 Pounds
Meat & Eggs: 547 Pounds
Milk: 91 Gallons
Family in
home
Well water
pump
Unlimited Water
Grid
Electricity
Hookup
Unlimited
Electricity
Rainwater
storage tank
15,000 Gallons of
Drinking and
Irrigation Water
Installation:
$5,000
Cost to run
pump $.01 per
gallon
$0.08 per kWh
Installation:
$5,000
Installation:
$7,000
Feed Cost:
$1,200
Fish in
greenhouse
tanks
750 Pounds of
Meat
Big pond
72,000 Gallons of
Irrigation/Livesto
ck Water
Cow in
pasture
4,015 Gallons of
Milk
630 Pounds of
Meat
18,250 Pounds of Feed /
Grass
21,900 Gallons of Water
Purchase of
Cow: $750
Garden beds
1000 Pounds of
Vegetables, Fruits,
and Grains
20,000 Gallons of Irrigation
Water
Purchase of
Seed: $40
Little pond
18,000 Gallons of
Irrigation/Livestoc
k Water
3750 kWh of Electricity
Installation:
$4,000
Installation:
$2,400
Purchase of
Chicks: $80
Feed Cost:
$650
Chickens and
run
1,200 Eggs
50 Pounds of Meat
Fish for
ponds
450 Pounds of
Meat
Installation:
$300
Solar
electricity
panels (8)
Generates 2628
kWh of Electricity
Installation:
$3,600
Wind turbine
Generates 1900
kWh of Electricity
Installation:
$6,000
What was here before us?
Subject: Land Stewardship
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Native peoples and culture
Objectives: Students will look at the land and explore what could have been here
before us.
Background Information: They Kalapuya’s lived in the Willamette Valley. The
Kalapuyas were hunters and gatherers. Women did most of the gathering, while
men were the hunters. Salmon, trout, and eels were part of their diet as were
birds, small game, deer, bear, and elk. Grasshoppers and a type of caterpillar
were considered delicacies. Other food items included hazel nuts, berries,
tarweed seeds, and wapato. (Zenk, page 547-548) Camas root was the Kalapuyas'
most abundant and important staple. This "bulbous root plant resembles an
onion in shape and consistency but is considerably more bland in taste,"
according to "Cooking up Camas," an article in Historic Marion. A member of the
lily family, "camassia quamash" still grows in the Willamette Valley; it is known
for its beautiful blue springtime blooms. Kalapuya women dug the camas with
forked wooden sticks and then roasted and dried the root in pit-ovens. This
mixture was also pressed into cakes or loaves for later use as food or as a valuable
trade item.
Kalapuya women were skilled basket makers who wove storage containers,
basketry hats, and large mats for floor covering. Men made tools and weapons
such as bows and arrows; they also made dugout canoes and paddles from cedar,
fir, or cottonwood logs. The Kalapuyas wore a variety of clothing. Men wore a
loincloth or no clothing at all during the warmer months. "Men's apparel for
travel and chilly weather included leggings and moccasins, cloaks, buckskin
trousers and shirts, and fur caps made from the intact skins of small animals or
from the head-skins of larger animals such as deer, cougar, and gray fox." (Zenk,
page 548) Women wore skirts or aprons made of shredded cedar bark, rush or
grass, or animal skin. In the winter women wore long buckskin dresses and
basketry hats. (Zenk, page 548)
"In the summertime, (Kalapuyas lived in) the shelter of a grove of trees or a brush
windbreak. With the major harvests complete and the fall rains imminent, the
winter houses were refurbished and re-occupied." (Zenk, pages 548-549) The
winter houses were usually rectangular in shape and made of bark and/or planks
laid upon a framework. A central fireplace heated each house. Often more than
one family shared a house with partitions marking each space. (Zenk, page 549)
Discussion Questions:
Have students look around them. Ask them what do they think was here before
them. Was this place a forest? Was it managed? How do you think that they could
have managed it? What was the people’s life like who lived here before us? Did
they live sustainably? What did they eat? Wear? Sleep in? How did they stay
warm? Did they have things to make themselves more comfortable?
Activities:
Debris Hut Shelter
Materials: sticks of all sizes, 1-3 logs, lots and lots of twigs and leaves
This is the best type of the shelter from among all. It is warm and strong and not
so difficult to build. If you are in a cold climate, where shelter is essential for your
survival, you should build this type of
shelter.
To build this shelter, follow the steps:
1. Make a tripod with two short stakes and a
long ridgepole, by placing one end of
ridgepole on top of a sturdy base or
by tying it to a tree at about waist
height.
2. If you decided on a tripod, it is good to
secure the ridgepole with additional
poles – it needs to hold firmly as it
will support the whole shelter.
3. Prop large sticks along both sides of the
ridgepole to create a wedge–shaped
ribbing effect, just like in the picture
on the right. Ensure the ribbing is
wide enough to accommodate your
body, gear that should be protected
from the weather and that it is steep
enough to shed moisture.
4. Place finer sticks crosswise on the ribbing. These form a latticework that will
keep the insulating material like grass, pine needles or leaves from falling
through the ribbing into the shelter.
5. Add light and, if possible, dry soft debris over the ribbing. You will want the
insulating material to be at least 1 metre thick - the thicker the better. Now
you can see how strong the ribbing must be to hold this weight of debrits.
6. Just as with the lean–to, you should place additional poles on top of the
insulating layer to prevent it from being blown away.
7. If the climate is cold, you should cover the entrance to the shelter. You can
consider building a door, which should be windproof, or simply pile
insulating material at entrance – you will drag it inside to cover the
entrance.
Basket weaving
Materials: Dried grass, yarn needles (one for each student), raffia or yarn
Step 1: Form a bundle of grass
Dampen a pencil-thick bundle of dried marsh grass.
Step 2: Wrap the end of the bundle with raffia
Tie raffia to one end of the bundle and wrap the loose end around
the bundle about 10 times as you move up its length. Leave a
small gap between each wrap.
When you reach the end of the raffia, lay the end of the first raffia along the
bundle of grass, and then place the end of the new strand next to the ends of the
old strand. Wind the new raffia around the old until the old raffia is covered.
Step 3: Coil the bundle
Bend the bundle around itself tightly so that it forms a coiled circle
with the wrapped end at the center and the loose end free.
When you need to add more grass to the bundle, insert the stem ends
of new grasses, a few at a time.
Step 4: Extend the coil
Wrap the raffia three times around the uncovered part of the coil,
and then use a threaded needle to connect the raffia to the wrapped
part with a figure-eight stitch. Pull the stitch tight. Continue sewing
figure-eight stitches until the coil is covered and closed.
Step 5: Repeat the same pattern
Extend the loop, wrapping the next section of the bundle with
raffia and sewing it to the loop underneath with a figure-eight
stitch. Continue binding and wrapping at 1-inch intervals as
you enlarge the circle.
Build the coils up gradually over each other at the desired angle to add height to
the basket.
Step 6: Finish the basket
Attach the final coil end to the previous one with a figure-eight
stitch, and then wrap the raffia around the final two rows and the previous row.
Thread the raffia back through the figure-eight stitch and cut it free.
Wild edibles
Background Information: Harvesting techniques and knowledge of edible plants
are essential for this lesson. It may also add to the activity by taking about
utilitarian uses of plants for example ocean spray is used to make arrow shafts
and western red cedar is used to make baskets, clothing, and fire starter.
Materials: Familiar Trail with wild edible plants
Activities: instructor will give specific criteria on behavior and expectations in
the forest. Instructor will tell students that they may not put anything in their
mouth that has not been okayed specifically by the instructor for them. Students
may not pick up any plant, fungus, or other material during this walk, so they do
not consume anything unsafe. Students will walk around the instructor. They will
learn what plants are edible and what plants are poisonous. Instructor will
identify each plant that each student consumes. Instructor will also point out
poisonous plants and common plants.
Making cordage
Materials: Some sort of rope or plastic bag and one of the following (enough for
each student): (Bast) Dogbane, Milkweed, Nettles, Hemp, Flax; (Leaves) Cattail,
Yucca, Agave, Douglas Iris; (Bark) Willow, Maple, Basswood, Cedar; (Root)
Leather Root, Beach Lupine; (Whole stem) Tule, straw, Juncus.
After preparing a bundle of fiber half the thickness of the finished cord, place
your hands six to twelve inches apart and about one third of the way from one
end. Twisting the fibers clockwise with both hands, wind the bundle tight
(making single-ply cordage).
Bring your hands closer together and keep twisting. The kink should rotate on its
own in a counterclockwise direction (Fig. 1a & b). Twist until two or three
rotations occur (Fig. 2a & b). This is the start of a two-ply cord. At this time you
can attach the end to something (or someone) which can rotate (free-end) and
keep twisting with both hands turning clockwise OR you can attach the end to
something solid (fixed-end) and begin twisting and counter-rotating (see below).
Counter-rotating, one form of fingertwisting, involves each hand applying a
clockwise (S) twist into a ply, while
passing the right ply over, and the left ply
under (counter-clockwise or Z-plying). In
Figure 3a, your left hand twists ply A
clockwise, while your right hand does the
same with ply B'. At the same time, you
pass ply B over and behind your left
thumb and lock it in place with your
remaining fingers, as in Figure 3b. You
then take A in your right hand and B in
your left and repeat, over and over and
over again. These two methods are
particularly handy with larger and coarser
materials such as cattail and tule ropes.
Finger-twisting finer material for cordage is usually done completely in the hand,
with the finished string being wound on a bobbin or netting needle as you go.
Your left hand acts to control tension while your right hand does the twisting.
Begin as in Figure 1, then place the Y (the point where the two plys come
together) between your left thumb and fore finger. Take the lower of the two ply
strands and twist it tightly clockwise until it begins to kink. Lock the twist in by
closing your remaining three fingers over the strand (see Fig. 4a.). Then, while
holding the twisted ply A securely, twist ply B with your right thumb and
forefinger. As you twist, you should feel the completed string begin to twist
counter-clockwise (step Fig. 4b.). Follow this motion with your left thumb and
forefinger while maintaining even tension and a symmetrical Y. Next move your
left thumb up to the fork in the Y as before and repeat steps 1 and 2 until you
need to add more fiber.
Splicing If you began your cord off-center, then one side will run out of fiber
first. As you get to within about 3 inches of the end of this short ply, prepare
another bundle of fibers the same size as you began with, but taper the end of the
bundle for about 4 inches. Lay this bundle parallel to the bundle being replaced,
and sticking out about an inch beyond the Y (Fig. 5).
Continue twisting the cordage as before. You should
also add in if one ply be-comes thinner than the
other, or if both plies become thinner than they
started. In these cases add just enough fiber to bring
them back to correct size. Ideally, your cord should
stay the same size throughout, although aboriginal
cordage did vary about fifty percent in nets. Bow
strings and fish lines under heavy pull should be very
even. It is also possible to add to both sides at the
same time by bending a bundle of fiber in half and
placing the Y of the bundle into the V of the Y, but it
is harder to keep from making a lump at this point.
After your string is finished, you can cut or burn
(carefully) off the overlap ends to make your string
less fuzzy.
NOTE: dry surfaces tend to slip, so you should keep your hands and the fiber
damp while you are working. Squeeze out excess water though or your string will
be loose when it dries.
Wrap up/Reflection: Do you think that the native people may have done similar
activities? How does a person survive today’s world? Does it look different?
Weather Instruments
Subject: Weather Instruments
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Weather
Objectives: Students will learn what instruments are used to forecast the weather,
and build these instruments
Background Information:
The Thermometer: Thermometers are used to measure exactly how hot or
cold it is outside. Place the thermometer so it is protected from the direct rays of
the sun. To get the extreme temperatures of the day, check the thermometer in
the early morning hours and at mid-afternoon.
Materials: clear, plastic bottle (11oz. water bottle works), water, rubbing alcohol,
clear plastic drinking straw, modeling clay, food coloring
Activities:
Although this thermometer will not tell you the temperature, it will show you how
thermometers work.
Make a thermometer
Fill about 1/4 of the bottle full with equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. Add
a few drops of food coloring. Put the straw in the bottle, but don't let it touch the
bottom. Use the modeling clay to seal the neck of the bottle, so the straw stays in
place. (Make sure the straw does not touch the bottom of the bottle.) Hold your
hands on the bottom of the bottle and watch the mixture move up through the
straw.
Explanation:
Why does this happen? Just like any thermometer, the mixture expanded when it
was warmed. This made the mixture no longer fit in the bottom of the bottle. As
the alcohol expanded the colored mixture moved up through the straw. If they
bottle were to get extremely hot, the mixture would have come up through the top
of the straw.
Background Information:
Barometer: Barometers measure the air pressure, which is sometimes referred to
as barometric pressure.
Make your own barometer
Materials: glass mayonnaise or canning jar, balloon, straw, toothpick, glue, index
card
Activities:
Stretch a piece of balloon over the glass jar.
Glue a straw sideways from the center of the balloon to the end of the jar.
Glue a toothpick to the end of the straw.
On an index card write ‘High’ on top and ‘Low’ on the bottom near the toothpick's
point. Watch and see what happens.
Explanation:
Barometers keep track of air pressure. When air pressure is high (which means
fair weather), the toothpick will point up because air will be pressing down on the
balloon. When air pressure is low (which means stormy weather is coming), the
toothpick will point down because air inside the jar will be pushing up against the
balloon.
Background Information:
The Rain Gauge: The rain gauge measures how much rain falls. Rainfall is
measured by the depth of water that would lie on the ground if none of the rain
escaped. Place your rain gauge out in the open.
Materials: Plastic water bottle for each student, paper clips, cutting tool,
measuring cup, marker
Activities:
•
•
•
•
•
Cut the top off of your plastic bottle. Cut about a quarter of the way down,
to where the bottle begins to have a consistent diameter. Be careful to cut
the edge as smoothly as possible, salvaging both pieces of the bottle.
Remove the bottle cap and turn the top part of the bottle upside down,
placing it into the bottom part. Connect the two halves with paper clips.
Place the plastic bottle rain gauge in a location where it will easily collect
rain without impediment from surrounding trees, plants or buildings.
Help your rain gauge stand upright by placing it in a sand or gravel filled
bucket. Simply make a hole in the sand or gravel large enough that half the
bottle gauge sits into the pit. Use the gravel or sand to support the edges of
the bottle gauge.
Measure out different amounts of water and mark them on your rain gage.
Background Information:
The Psychrometer: The psychrometer is used to determine relative humidity.
The relative humidity is the percent of water vapor in the air at a given
temperature as compared with the amount it could hold if it were saturated. For
example, air with a 50% relative humidity in just "half full" of water vapor.
The psychrometer consists of a dry and wet bulb thermometer placed side-byside. The relative humidity is determined by the difference between the dry and
the wet thermometer. In order to accurately determine the relative humidity, you
will need to use the relative humidity table.
Materials for each group: pint-sized milk carton-empty and clean, water, two
small thermometers, cotton shoelace, gauze, or cotton ball, string, clear tape
Activities:
The air is filled with invisible water vapor, but how much? This tool will allow you
to measure and find out.
1. Cut a piece of shoelace 1 inch long (2.54 centimeters) and pull it (or gauze or
cot- ton ball) over the bulb of one thermometer. Tie the shoelace in place so it
won’t fall off. Tape the thermometer to one side of the carton and get the shoelace
wet.
2. Tape the second thermometer to another side of the carton.
3. Punch two holes in the top of the carton (where the expiration date is
stamped). Thread a long piece of string through these holes and tie the ends
together to form a large loop.
4. Go outside and swing the carton overhead while holding onto the string. Do
this for one minute.
5. Quickly look at the temperatures on the two thermo- meters.
Write them down.
What’s going on
The temperature of the thermometer with the wet bulb is
always lower than the temperature of the thermometer with the dry bulb. This is
because water is evaporating from the wet bulb thermometer and cooling it
down. The difference between the two temperatures gives a clue to the amount of
water in the air. The bigger the difference the drier the air. The relative humidity
is 100% when it is raining and almost 0% in the driest deserts.
There’s more: Use the chart given here to
calculate the relative humidity of the air. If
you have room and can safely swing the
apparatus, try measuring the humidity in
the bathroom before and after you take a
shower.
Background information:
The Wind Vane: The wind vane is used to indicate the direction from which
the wind in blowing.
Materials: Sewing needle ~1 inch long for each student, small bar magnet. (refrigerator
magnets may work if you don't have a bar magnet), a small piece of cork or cut
out the bottom of a Styrofoam cup, or you can use the plastic cap from a juice
bottle or milk jug per student, a small glass or cup of water to float the cork and
needle per student, compass rose for each student
Wind sock materials: Cup or cardstock paper, crepe paper or tissue paper,
scissors, glue, hole punch
Activities:
How do you think we can figure out the direction of the wind? If you get your finger wet
and hold it up, often you can tell which direction it is blowing in. This activity will help
you to figure out the direction the wind is blowing.
Making a compass
Your compass will work better if you first run a magnet over the needle about 20 times,
always in the same direction. This action 'magnetizes' is to some extent. Drive the needle
through a piece of cork. Cork from wine bottles works well.
Cut off a small circle from one end of the cork, and drive the needle through it, from one
end of the circle to the other, instead of through the exact middle - be careful not to stick
yourself! If you don’t have cork you can float the needle over the cap or Styrofoam.
Float the cork + needle in your cup of water so the floating needle lies roughly parallel to
the surface of the water.
Place your 'compass' on a still surface and watch what happens. The needle should come
to point towards the nearest magnetic pole - north or south as the case may be.
Put the compass rose under the cup. Now move the compass rose till the needle lines up
with north.
Make a windsock
Roll up a piece of cardstock paper and fasten it in a cylindrical position, add crepe paper
or lengths of tissue paper around the bottom edge and fasten. Hole punch 2 opposite holes
in the top to put string and hang. Decorate if you wish.
Take your compass, compass rose and windsock outside. Line up north on your compass
rose with your compass. Hold up your windsock to determine which direction the wind is
blowing.
Background Information:
The Anemometer: The anemometer is used to determine the wind speed in
miles per hour. You will use the Beaufort Scale to determine wind speed.
Materials: Beaufort Wind Scale worksheet
Activities:
Now that we have determined wind direction, use this worksheet to figure out
wind speed.
Wrap up/Reflection: What different instruments can you to measure weather?
What do the different instruments tell you? What did you learn from reading the
different instruments?
Stream/Pond Survey
Subject: Water
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Water Health Assessment
Objectives: Students will learn to assess pond and stream health conditions for numbers of trees,
any erosion, color of water, presence of rocks and more.
Background Information: Most natural resource management professionals first undertake a
site assessment of the area to gain a better understanding of on site conditions for watershed
health (stream and forestry health as well). Armed with this information, professionals can begin
developing a more comprehensive natural resource management plan for the area to bring it back
to healthy conditions.
Materials: Survey sheets, clipboards and pencils.
Activities:
Younger students,(grades 4-5), can work together as a class. Divide older students in groups.
•
•
•
•
Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students each.
Handout the survey assessment sheets (1 per group).
Spend a few moments going over the sheet with them.
Assign various spots to the groups of students and let them complete the assessment.
Wrap up/Reflection: Review what students found. Take a few moments then to discuss their
overall rating (if they think the stream or pond is in healthy conditions or not).
Pond/Stream Survey Assessment Data Sheet
Name(s):______________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Date:____________________________
Site Location:____________________________________________________________
Circle the answer you best feel describes the situation:
1. Stream/Pond side vegetation: Are there lots of trees/plants present?
Many trees (80-90%)
Some trees (40-80%)
A few trees (0-40%)
Note: Trees and plants along a pond or stream make it much healthier, and provide lots of
habitat for wildlife. Trees provide shade to cool the water, and drop leaves into the pond to
provide food for bugs and other aquatic animals.
Note: If no trees or plants are present (or very little), then this makes the area not very
healthy. There will be no shade and little or no food and habitat for the wildlife.
The more trees and plants the better!
2. Kinds of trees and plants present: Are there many different kinds of trees
and plants present?
At least 10 different kinds of trees and plants are present
At least 4-6 different kinds of trees and plants are present
Only 1 or 2 different kinds of trees and plants are present
Note: The more different kinds of trees and plants present, the healthier the stream or pond is
(Mother Nature likes to have as many different kinds as possible, this is known as diversity).
And, the more diversity the better!
Note: If there are only 1-3 different plants or trees present, this means the stream or pond is
not very healthy (How could you change this? One way would be to plant more trees and
plants)!
3. Bank condition: What do the sides of the stream or pond look like?
Low bank/tree roots/rocks
Bank with some visible erosion
Steep banks/lots of erosion
Banks with concrete or other man-made structures
Note: Gently sloping banks with tree roots create a healthy stream and pond for wildlife (and
good water quality). There is no erosion and the water is not muddy (clear).
Note: banks with erosion and mud are not healthy conditions, and not good for wildlife
either. Soil washes into the water and pollutes it, causing aquatic animals to die.
4. Stream/Pond bottom: What does the bottom look like? Are there rocks?
Water plants?
Lots of big and small rocks (gravel)
Some rocks/gravel present
Little or no rocks present (mostly dirt on bottom)
If a pond: Are there any plants on bottom of pond? Rocks? Or mostly dirt?
Which?_________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Note: Lots of rocks and gravel (and plants) on the bottom of a stream or pond makes for
very healthy conditions. Rocks and gravel (and plants) help clean and purify the water,
as well as provide places for wildlife to hide and fish to lay their eggs.
Note: If little or no rock (or plants) are present, then the health of the stream or pond is
not very good.
5. Clarity of water: How clear is the water?
Very clear
A little clear
Not clear at all (too much dirt and mud)
Note: If the water is nice and clear, this means it is very healthy and the water quality is
good (lots of plants and rocks are cleaning the water).
Note: If the water is only a little clear or not clear at all, this means the stream or pond is not
very healthy and has too much dirt in it (Where might all the extra dirt be coming from)?
6. Shelter and Habitat: What kind of shelter is there for wildlife and aquatic
animals?
Lots of wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Some wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Little or no wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Note: Lots of wood/logs and rock means the stream or pond is healthy. Animals love this stuff,
they can live in it, play there and find safety as well.
Note: If little or no rocks/wood/logs or plants, the stream or pond is not very healthy.
Now, let’s rate the overall health of the stream or pond you just surveyed (you will have to use
your good judgment as a scientist to do this). Rate your area on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being
100% perfectly healthy, and 1 being 0%, or not healthy at all. A rating of 5 would be marginally
healthy (medium). What rating would you give?
List your rating here:_________________________
Now, explain why you gave it that rating.
Explain:_______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
If you gave your area a low rating, what would you and your team to do make the area healthier?
List some actions you could do here (maybe plant trees? Add some wood? Bring in more rock?)
What are your ideas? List your ideas
here:__________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Watershed Model
Subject: Water
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Watershed
Objectives: Students simulate a watershed and begin to understand how it functions.
Predict where water will flow in a watershed
Background Information: A watershed is an area of land. All water that falls on
the land area drains to a common outlet, such as the outflow of a lake, the mouth
of a river, or any point along a stream channel. Watersheds are usually named by
the main rivers or streams that drain them. Watersheds drain into rivers. All the
water that is not used by plants, people, animals, or evaporated will leave the
watershed at the outlet. The boundary between two watersheds is a divide, where
the water falling on either side of the divide flows in opposite directions. Divides
can be ridges but are often not obviously apparent. No matter how apparent,
however, it is topography which determines watershed boundaries. Not everyone
lives near a pond, stream, river, but everyone lives in a watershed.
Materials: 2 sheets of 8½ x 11 white paper (reuse paper that has writing on one side),
scotch tape, spray water bottle, water-soluble colored markers, water
Activities:
What is a Watershed? (have them brainstorm on the word). If they don’t know ask
them what a toolshed is. A place where tools are stored. That’s a start. Give them the
definition: A watershed is the land area that drains into a water body or drainage. (Use
hand motions: with hands out in front of you palms down move them down to a point in
front of you as you say the definition.)
So what marks the boundary of a watershed? The high points or mountain ridges
mark the watershed boundary. So that a drop of water just to left of that high point goes
into one watershed and the drop of water just to the right goes into another watershed.
A watershed could be as big as the 7 state Colorado River Watershed, as big as the Santa
Cruz River Watershed or it could be the land area in the back of your school yard where
water drains into a drainage ditch!
We are going to make an elevation map that will contains many partial watersheds and
some whole watersheds.
Put a piece of 8 ½ by 11 white paper (used on one side) down on the table in front of
you (white side up)
Crumple up a second piece of 8 ½ by 11 white paper (used on one side) with the
white side facing out
Uncrumple the paper until you can find all 4 corners (not all of the way flat again)
Tape all four corners down on the white piece of paper with scotch tape
Use water soluble magic markers. Use the green marker to draw a line along all of
the ridges (or up folded areas). Use a blue marker to draw a line along all of the
valleys (or down folded areas). Use a red marker to indicate any abandoned mines
with a * symbol. Use a purple marker to indicate cities with a crosshatched pattern.
Use a brown marker to indicate a farm with a colored in square symbol.
You have made a model of the land surface.
Predict how water is going to flow in your model when we spray them. What
direction will water flow? Why? Gravity works!
Are there areas on your model that have no outlet and will hold water? This would be
a closed basin.
Take your model outside and spray them with a spray bottle, in other words make it
rain on your model.
Discussion Questions: Did any of your cities flood? If there was pollution on your city
streets could it get in to your farm field? Could excess pesticide or fertilizers from farms
go in to your cities? Could old mines affect water coming into cities or farms? What is a
watershed?
Wrap up/Reflection: Further Thought: What do you think we manage when we talk
about watershed management? It’s really the land are or land use that we manage to
maintain water quality in a drainage or stream! Runoff is water that flows over the land
surface to a drainage?
Ecosystem Investigation
Subject: Ecosystems
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Investigating Ecosystems
Objectives: Students will investigate a major component in three different
ecosystems, describes similarities and differences in their monthly ecosystems,
and identify ways that the inmate abiotic components of an ecosystem effect the
biotic components.
Background Information: An ecosystem is a community of different species
interacting with each other and with the chemical and physical factors making its
nonliving environment. It is a system of interrelationships among organisms, and
between organisms and physical environment. Plants and animals and
environment interact with each other in various ways. For example, plants may
depend on insects or birds pollinate flowers and the earthworms to aerate the
soil; animals may depend on plants for food or shelter. However, plants and
animals also interact with nonliving element of their environment. In a local
environment, physical factors such as sunlight, moisture, temperature, and wind
influences suitability of an area for particular organisms. Those factors determine
the kinds of plants and animals that live here. Physical factors may be determined
by the environment geography, such as its proximity to water, elevation, or its
geological features. In addition, the resident organisms, particularly plants, may
effect the sunlight, moisture, temperature, and wind of the area. For example, the
tall trees of a redwood forest tend to block sunlight and thus create a dark, moist
environment, or microclimate of the forest floor that is suitable for shade loving
plants, but is too shady for other kinds of plants. Microclimate refers to a
narrowly restricted area within the ecosystem, for example, under a bush or a
small woodland opening.
Materials: trowel, yardstick, thermometer, strip of paper, compass
Activities:
ask students to the place they enjoy visiting. Atom to think about these questions:
what did you particularly enjoy about the place? Whether the people? The
physical space? What did you do? What living things major place enjoyable?
Name any nonliving things that major place enjoyable.
Help students see that any place has been living in on living parts that work
together to make an ecosystem. Explain the students will investigate ecosystems
at three different study sites to find out how living and nonliving elements affect
each other.
Divide your group into six teams. Explaining each team will investigate and
report observations of a different component of three different study sites. Give
students instructions a copy of the worksheet, and materials. This will provide a
“guided exploration” of the sites. Go over the Ecosystem Investigation
Directions. Later teams will transfer their observations to the data chart. . Make
sure all students know how to read a thermometer and use a compass.
Soil Moisture
Equipment: trowel, garden spade, or stick Use a trowel, garden spade, or stick to
scrape the ground. Gather a small sample of soil from
under the surface. Feel the soil. Is it wet, moist and forming a ball, or dry and
crumbly? Does it feel smooth or gritty like sand? What color is it? Smell it and
describe the odor. Examine the soil sample for other items such as evidence of
plants and animals. Record your observations on the Ecosystem Investigation
Worksheet.
Temperature
Equipment: yardstick, thermometer Measure the temperature one inch deep in
the soil, at ground level, and at one yard (three feet)
above the ground with a thermometer. If the site is a pond, stream, or lake,
measure the temperature one inch deep in the water, just above the water, and
one yard above the water. Record your observations on the Ecosystem
Investigation Worksheet.
Sunlight
Equipment: none Describe how much sunlight reaches the ground at this site.
Use descriptive words such as dark,
shady, bright, medium light, or others. Record your observations on the
Ecosystem Investigation Worksheet.
Wind
Equipment: strip of paper, compass Have a group member hold a strip of
paper lengthwise at arm’s length. Does it hang straight down or is it moved by the
wind?
Determine from what direction the wind is blowing by using a compass. Hold a
compass waist high with the direction-of- travel arrow pointing away from your
body, making sure the magnetic needle floats freely. Turn the dial so the north
sign (N) is pointing in the same direction as the direction-of-travel arrow. Turn
your body so the red, magnetic end of the needle points to N (north).
Next, turn so you and the direction-of- travel arrow are facing the direction the
wind is coming from (the wind should be in your face). Without moving the base
of the compass, rotate the dial so the north sign (N) and the red, magnetic end of
the needle are lined up. Read the wind direction at the point where the direction
of travel arrow meets the dial. Record your observations on the Ecosystem
Investigation Worksheet.
Plants
Equipment: none Observe the many different sizes of plants (large trees, small
trees, shrubs, grasses). Do not try to
identify them! What type of plant is most common at this site? Describe where
each kind of plant is growing in relation to the others. Record your observations
on the Ecosystem Investigation Worksheet.
Animals
Equipment: none Explore the site for animals and signs or evidence of animals
(insects, birds, reptiles, fish, frogs,mammals, scat or animal droppings, tracks,
burrows, or chewed leaves or twigs). Record your observations on the Ecosystem
Investigation Worksheet.
Discussion Questions:
• How did temperature vary between the field, forest, and stream sites?
• Describe the differences in the wind at the field, forest, and stream
locations.
• What factors determine the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground?
• In which location (ecosystem) did you observe the most (number) plants
growing? What does that area offer so more plants grow there? Did one
area have more kinds of plants growing than the others? Why or why not?
• Describe any relationships you observed between plants and animals.
• List the animals and evidence of animals that were found at each location.
Field, Forest, Stream. Were any animals found at only one location? List
these animals and the locations where they were found. Why are some
animals found at all three locations, while others are found at only one?
Wrap up/Reflection: Which of the six elements we studied seems most
important for determining the character of the environment at each site? What
makes you say so?
Super Soil
Subject: Forest Floor
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Soil
Objectives: Discover what characteristics of soil make the soil fertile.
Background Information: Soil mixture is more than just dirt. Soil mixture up
water, air, minerals, organic matter, and living organisms. In proper balance,
these ingredients form a healthy soil that fosters plant growth.
organic matter consists of plant and animal material that bacteria are breaking
into small parts. This process is called the composition or decay.Organic material
is most often found in the top few centimeters of soil. Soils with considerable
organic content are brown and black, and have a loose, crumbly consistency.Such
soils easily absorb and retain air and water and are rich in minerals necessary for
plant growth. Organic material also provides an excellent environment for
burrowing organisms, which help keep the soil loose. At the organic matter
decomposes, it makes additional nutrients available to plants.
A deficiency of organic Matter in soil is a common problem and agriculture fields
and backyard gardens. Farmers often plow under a cover crop of ryegrass or
alfalfa into the soil to increase the sales organic content. Home gardeners often
that organic supplements to garden soil before planting vegetables and flowers.
The alum-profile test separates the soil into its different components(Organic
matter, dissolved minerals, and dissolve minerals, in order of their density: latest
on top.)Using this test, the youngsters test their local soil and compare the
organic content to that of commercial art the youngsters will probably discover at
the local soil is no organic matter. Gives them determine how much organic
matter (Compost, manure, or leaf mold)they must add to the local soil to match
the organic content of the commercial mix.
Materials: Each team of two needs:
two clear plastic vials about 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches high, one digging
tool, 1 cup of commercial garden mix, 2 cups of organic material (Manure,
compost, peat moss, leaf mold)
For the group:
one waterproof pen, one small jar of alum, 4 liters of water,Paper towels, extra
vials
Vials should be marked one fourth of the way from the bottom
Activities:
Show the commercial garden next to the youngsters, and tell him that it is an
excellent soil for growing vegetables and other plants. Explains the youngsters
that they will use the soil as a standard and compare other soils to it.
Play now the site boundaries to the youngsters, and explained that they will be
collecting soil samples. Divide the group into teams of two, and give each team in
digging tool and a paper towel. Ask each team to bring back a handful of style on
a paper towel.
When everyone returns asked the kids to compare the color, smell, and texture of
a commercial mix with their own samples.
Making the alum-profile test
introduced the Alan test as another method of comparing soil samples. Use a
commercial mix to demonstrate the test. For a large group, prepare two or three
demonstration vials. The vials will serve as standards of comparison for the
youngsters to use with the test of their soil samples.
The test-filled bile to the one-quarter mark with the soil to be tested. Have them
add a pinch of alum.
Fill vial of water, cover the vial with your palm, and shake the vial vigorously. Set
the violent flat surface, and let the material settle for at least one minute. Be
careful not to disturb the vial.
Note to leader: and a complete profile, the organic matter for the dark layer
immediately below the top layer of water. Some organic matter may quote at the
top. Below this layer will be layers of minerals and sand, increasing in coarseness
as they get closer to the bottom. Suitable soil for this activity below inorganic
content, what either not produce the start player or produce a very thin layer in
comparison with a commercial mix.
Show the youngsters how the commercial soil separate into different layers,
reducing the profile.
Distribute empty vials to the youngsters, after the teams to make soil profiles of
the samples their collected at the site. Leave the commercial next vials out for the
youngsters to use as comparisons.
Have kids compare the profiles of their vials with the commercial makes files.
different or similar? How are the layers of material in the bile of the same or
different? If the kids don't notice the difference in the organic matter layers, point
out how much whiter the layer is in the commercial mix violin in their soil sample
files. Identified as top layer at your gimmick matter present in the soil. Tell the
youngsters what organic matter is, and explain its importance to the soil.
Now asked the kids to look for soil that is more like commercial mix than their
first samples were. Let them test the new samples with the Alum test.
Show the youngsters the organic material you have provided, compost, manure,
Pete Moss, or leaf mold. Tell the kids that this material is the kind of organic
matter that is often mixed with poor soils to improve them.
Challenge the kids to find out how much organic matter they must add to a
sample of local soil in order to get an alum-test result that closely matches that
of the commercial mix. Encourage each team to use a spare via] to measure the
organic supplement. Explain that they can mix different amounts of organic
supplement and local soils on a paper towel, and then conduct an alum test on
a sample of that mixture. (For example: A mixture of two vials of local soil plus
one-half vial of compost might give an alum test close to that of the
commercial mix.) Tell the youngsters that there ace good soils other than
commercially prepared mixtures.
Discussion Questions:
1. How different are the profiles of soils from different areas of the study site?
Why do you think they are different?
2. How much organic supplement did you add to the sample of local soil to get
an alum test similar to that of the commercial mix?
3. What do you think makes up the other profile layers?
4. How could you make or gather your own organic supplements to improve
your soil at home?
Water Pollution
Subject: Ecological Thinking
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Water pollution
Objectives: Students will learn how only one drop of pollution in a stream can pollute
the entire ecosystem.
Background Information: Most folks don’t realize that it only takes a small amount of
pollution to pollute vast quantities of water. For example, those few drops of oil from
your driveway that run into the gutter will eventually pollute the entire Pacific Ocean!
Students will see how only a few drops of pollution can really pollute a whole lot of
water.
Materials: Clear plastic buckets or pales: 2 - ½ gallon bucket, 2 - 5 gallon bucket, 1 – 10
gallon bucket, box of food coloring, 2 water bottle spray misters
Activities:
The ½ gallon bucket represents a stream or creek.
The 5 gallon bucket represents the Rogue River.
The 10 gallon bucket represents the Pacific Ocean.
The spray mister represents a cloud.
1. Have the students gather in a group. Place the 10 gallon bucket down on the
ground. Place the five gallon buckets, one on both sides of the ten gallon bucket.
Then place the ½ gallon bucket next to the five gallon bucket.
2. Have a student helper fill both of the ½ gallon buckets full of water and place
them back next to the five gallon buckets. Now fill both five gallon buckets about
1/3 full of water and bring back. Finally, fill the ten gallon
3. Get the red food coloring. Explain to the students that the red food coloring is
pollution. Using another set of students helpers, have each student place 5 drops
of food coloring in each 1/2 gallon bucket. Ask the students, “What just
happened?” They will see the food coloring (representing pollution) just polluted
the bucket of water.
4. Ask the students, “What is the name of the creek in this area?” Several answers,
but can be “Wolf Creek, or Coyote Creek.”
5. Now ask, “What does this creek run into?” Answer: Rogue River
6. Have another set of student helpers pour the water from the ½ gallon buckets
into the five gallon buckets (but they have to get the right answer before they can
pour the water). Students will now notice that the once clean water of the 5
gallon bucket is now also polluted and dirty from the 5 gallon bucket. Explain the
5 gallon just got polluted (and remember the 5 gallon represents the Rogue River)
because the creek (which was also polluted), just emptied into it.
7. Now ask students, “What does the Rogue River empty in to?” Answer: Pacific
Ocean.
8. Have students empty both 5 gallon buckets into the 1 ten gallon bucket (i.e. the
Pacific Ocean). Again, ask what happened? Review how since the Rogue was
polluted, it polluted the Ocean when it empties into the Ocean.
9. Now get the 2 spray mist bottles. Have students fill these up with water from the
ten gallon bucket. Tell them the sprayer is a cloud, and that it is now going to
rain. Have them spray the water on the ground or in the immediate area. Tell
them that what they are spraying is dirty, polluted rain, also known as “acid rain.”
Explain to students this is where acid rain comes from. Have other students
spray the mist bottles as needed.
This exercise can be repeated many times with different food color, and students will see
then how pollution really adds up and the water gets
Discussion Questions: What are some causes of water pollution? What can we do to
reduce the impact of pollutants in our water sources, soil, and air?
Water pollution part 2
Testing the water
Objective: Students will assess water quality based on pH, temperature, dissolved
oxygen, turbidity, and biodiversity.
Background
Temperature
Water temperature is a life or death factor for many animals, plants, and
microorganisms living water. Most route, which tried in cold water, will die if the water
temperature gets as warm as 77°F. In addition, their eggs will hatch if the 57°F. Cart, on
the other hand, are considered warm water fish. They can easily withstand water
temperatures as warm as 100°F.
Temperature also affects the salt oxygen, the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water.
Fish and other aquatic animals need the oxygen it is dissolved in water. When the
oxygen level falls below a certain point, they die. The rule is the warmer the water, the
less oxygen it can hold. As water temperatures rise, dissolved oxygen escapes from the
water into the air. Some animals need more dissolved oxygen than others. Therefore,
water that is considered deadly polluted for some fish, because of low dissolved oxygen
levels, may be perfectly safe for other fish.
Many such factors as whether, the seasons and man-made facilities, affect water
temperature. Another factor affecting water temperatures is a natural process called
thermal stratification. This occurs to some degree in all bodies of water. The lighter,
warmer water floats on top of the denser, cooler water. These two separate layers
provide different habitats where different types of animals aquatic plants live, mainly
due to the differences in temperature.
PH
pH is a measure of how acidic or basic something is. Scientists use the pH scale to the
fine degrees of acidity. The scale is represented by the numbers from 1 to 14. A pH of one
is extremely acidic while a pH of 14 is extremely basic, or alkaline. A pH of seven is
neutral, neither a acidic or basic. Pure water has a pH of seven. If you look at the water
quality information sheet, you will see how pH affects plants and animals. Bacteria can
live at almost any pH level, from 1 to 13. Both plants and animals, however, can survive
for very long and water that is below pH 6 or above pH 9.
Turbidity
Terminator verse in the amount of sediment or form particles suspended in water.
Circuit City is another indicator of water quality. Very muddy, dark or dense water is
called turbine. Turbidity is determined by a number of factors, both natural and manmade. Very green colored water may be overpopulated with algae. This could be the
result of extra fertilizers from agricultural runoff. I tan, murky color may be the result of
a heavy load of silt. Since is a very fine-grained sediment that does not easily settle out
or running water. Silt particles will settle out in the water sits undisturbed for a few
days. A body of water that is reddish color is full of suspended clay that has not yet
settled to the bottom of the water. A weak tea or coffee color and otherwise Clearwater
indicates decomposing leaves and bark. Tannin tannic acid from decaying leaves is a
major contributor to the turbidity of water. This same color may also be an indicator of
chemical pollution.
The macro invertebrates listed as intolerant pollution on the picture key to aquatic
macro invertebrates are especially sensitive to sediment pollution. Too much sentiment
sitting on the bottom can destroy the habitat for many bottom dwelling animals. Seven
is also directly smother these animals or their eggs and larvae. When smaller animals
are killed, the larger animals that depend on them for food will have to find food
elsewhere or die. In this way, sediments can destroy the food chain for food webs.
Materials: Pond/Stream Survey Assessment Data Sheet for each student,
thermometer, pH meter, dissolved oxygen meter, pH ranges that support aquatic life
worksheet, worksheet I and II, tolerant and intolerant worksheet, field guide to
invertebrates, collection tubs, hand lenses, and pacific coast tree finder books
Activity
In the early days of coal mining, canaries were brought into the mines and were a good
indicator of the air quality in mine shafts. Because canaries w ere more sensitive to
dangerous gases then humans, if the canary seemed ill or died it was an indication that
mine air was not fit to be breathed. This practice no longer takes place, but the reference
still has meaning.
In vernal pools, streams, and ponds, the presence or absence of certain organisms can
be an indication of high water quality. These organisms are called indicator species, and
make up abiotic index (number of living organisms found in an ecosystem). Water
ecosystems containing a wide variety of organisms usually indicates a healthy system.
Waters which contains few species, even though a large population may exist, is usually
an indication of poor water quality. Pollution reduces the quality of water and the
diversity of species that it will support.
Water quality is a term used to describe the ability of a body of water to support life.
Several characteristics of the water must fall within certain ranges if the water is to be
considered “safe” for people to drink or for wildlife to use. Lakes and streams and other
bodies of water can only absorb certain amount of pollutants before at the overall water
quality goes down. Then animals die and people get sick read
You will measure three characteristics of water: temperature, turbidity, mph. After
making your measurements you will have a better idea of the overall water quality of the
stream.
Students will go to a selected stream area and conduct a water assessment. They will
measure dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, and turbidity. Students will also identify
macro invertebrates and plants to assess the health of the stream. They will record their
findings on their worksheet.
Pond/Stream Survey Assessment Data Sheet
Name(s):______________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Date:____________________________
Site Location:__________________________________________________
Circle the answer you best feel describes the situation:
1. Stream/Pond side vegetation: Are there lots of trees/plants present?
Many trees (80-90%)
Some trees (40-80%)
A few trees (0-40%)
Note: Trees and plants along a pond or stream make it much healthier, and provide
lots of habitat for wildlife. Trees provide shade to cool the water, and drop leaves
into the pond to provide food for bugs and other aquatic animals.
Note: If no trees or plants are present (or very little), then this makes the area not
very healthy. There will be no shade and little or no food and habitat for the wildlife.
The more trees and plants the better!
2. Kinds of trees and plants present: Are there many different kinds of
trees and plants present?
At least 10 different kinds of trees and plants are present
At least 4-6 different kinds of trees and plants are present
Only 1 or 2 different kinds of trees and plants are present
Note: The more different kinds of trees and plants present, the healthier the stream
or pond is (Mother Nature likes to have as many different kinds as possible, this is
known as diversity). And, the more diversity the better!
Note: If there are only 1-3 different plants or trees present, this means the stream or
pond is not very healthy (How could you change this? One way would be to plant
more trees and plants)!
Identifying plants
Use the pacific tree finder to identify some of the trees and shrubs that you found at
this location:
Trees: Black Cottonwood, red Alder, Oregon ash, Pacific willow, Scouler Willow,
Northwest Willow, river willow, Sitka Willow, Hooker Willow, Cascara Buckthorn,
big leaf maple, paper birch, quaking aspen, port orford Cedar, bitter cherry
Shrubs: Salmon Berry, Ocean Spray, doubles club, Pacific nine bark, Pacific
Blackberry, water birch,Nootka rose, poison oak, swamp gooseberry, red current,
red baneberry, swamp laurel, Labrador tea
3. Bank condition: What do the sides of the stream or pond look like?
Low bank/tree roots/rocks
Steep banks/lots of erosion
Bank with some visible erosion
Banks with concrete or other man-made structures
Note: Gently sloping banks with tree roots create a healthy stream and pond for
wildlife (and good water quality). There is no erosion and the water is not muddy
(clear).
Note: banks with erosion and mud are not healthy conditions, and not good for
wildlife either. Soil washes into the water and pollutes it, causing aquatic animals to
die.
4. Stream/Pond bottom: What does the bottom look like? Are there
rocks? Water plants?
Lots of big and small rocks (gravel)
Some rocks/gravel present
Little or no rocks present (mostly dirt on bottom)
If a pond: Are there any plants on bottom of pond? Rocks? Or mostly dirt?
Which?__________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Note: Lots of rocks and gravel (and plants) on the bottom of a stream or pond
makes for very healthy conditions. Rocks and gravel (and plants) help clean and
purify the water, as well as provide places for wildlife to hide and fish to lay their
eggs.
Note: If little or no rock (or plants) are present, then the health of the stream or
pond is not very good.
5. Clarity of water: How clear is the water?
Very clear
mud)
A little clear
Not clear at all (too much dirt and
Note: If the water is nice and clear, this means it is very healthy and the water
quality is good (lots of plants and rocks are cleaning the water).
Note: If the water is only a little clear or not clear at all, this means the stream or
pond is not very healthy and has too much dirt in it (Where might all the extra dirt
be coming from)?
Turbidity
Turbidity refers to the amount of sediment or foreign particles suspended in water.
Turbidity is another indicator of water quality. Very muddy, dark or dense water is
called turbid. Turbidity is determined by a number of factors, both natural and manmade. Silt is a very fine-grained sediment that does not easily settle out of running
water. Silt particles will settle out in the water sits undisturbed for a few days.
6. Shelter and Habitat: What kind of shelter is there for wildlife and
aquatic animals?
Lots of wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Some wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Little or no wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or
pond)
Note: Lots of wood/logs and rock means the stream or pond is healthy. Animals love
this stuff, they can live in it, play there and find safety as well.
Note: If little or no rocks/wood/logs or plants, the stream or pond is not very healthy.
7. What is the temperature of the water? ________________________
Note: Water temperature is a life or death factor for many animals, plants, and
microorganisms living water. If the water is too warm or too cold, they will not survive.
Take the water temperature by putting the tip of the thermometer is at least a few
inches below the surface of the water and take a reading
8. What is the dissolved oxygen of the water? ________________
To take a dissolved oxygen reading turn the probe turn it on 3 hours a head of time.
Calibrate the meter by holding down the CAL button. Using screwdriver provided turn
the calibration dial until you have a reading of 100 on the display. Probe tip should be
dry with cap off.
To take a measurement put probe tip in water and wait for the reading to stabilize (stay
on the same number)
Note: Dissolved oxygen is the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. Fish and other
aquatic animals need the oxygen it is dissolved in water. When the oxygen level falls
below a certain point, they die. The rule is the warmer the water, the less oxygen it can
hold. As water temperatures rise, dissolved oxygen escapes from the water into the air.
Some animals need more dissolved oxygen than others. Therefore, water that is
considered deadly polluted for some fish, because of low dissolved oxygen levels, may be
perfectly safe for other fish.
9. What is the pH of the water? __________________________
To take a pH reading remove meter from box. Meter must stay upright at all
times!! Take off cap. Be careful not to spill liquid from cap. Turn meter on using the
on off button. Submerge probe tip in water. Be careful not to damage the tip on any
objects including things under the water. Wait for hour glass on the digital display to
disappear, press hold to freeze the reading on display.
pH is a measure of how acidic or basic something is. Scientists use the pH scale to the
fine degrees of acidity. The scale is represented by the numbers from 1 to 14. A pH of one
is extremely acidic while a pH of 14 is extremely basic, or alkaline. A pH of seven is
neutral, neither a acidic or basic. Pure water has a pH of seven. If you look at the water
quality information sheet, you will see how pH affects plants and animals. Bacteria can
live at almost any pH level, from 1 to 13. Both plants and animals, however, can survive
for very long and water that is below pH 6 or above pH 9.
pH Ranges that Support Aquatic Life
M ost Acidic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
N eutral
8 9
10
11
12
13
M ost Basic
14
Bacteria
1.0____________________________________________________________ 13.0
Plants (algae, rooted etc.)
Snails, clams, mussels
6.5______________________________ 13.0
6.5________9.0
Largest variety ofanimals
6.0_________8.5
(mayflies, stonefly, caddisfly, dragonfly)
Temperature Ranges (approximate) Required for Certain Organisms
Greater than 68 oF (20 oC )= Warm w ater
o
o
55- 68 F (12.8 - 20 C) = Cool w ater
Less than 55 oF (12.8 oC) = Cold w ater
M uch plant life, many fish diseases
Catfish, bass, crappie, caddisfly,
D ragonfly, mayfly
Plant life some fish diseases.
Salmon, trout, stonefly, mayfly,
caddisfly, w aterbeetles, minnow s,
darters,
Trout, caddisfly, mayfly,
stonefly, minnow s, darters,
sculpins
D issolved oxygen (D O) requirements in parts per million [ppm]
Below 68 oF cold w ater organisms
6 ppm
Above 68 oF Warm w ater organisms
5ppm
OEC Vernal Pool Curriculum Grade 5-8 - Water Canaries Lesson
w w w .theOEC.org
STU D EN T W O RK SH EET I
Where organisms w ere
found
Sketch organism
N umber found
STU D EN T W O RK SH EET II
O bservations
Predictions
Water temperature ________
Air temperature __________
pH ________
D issolved O2 ___________
OEC Vernal Pool Curriculum Grade 5-8 - Water Canaries Lesson
w w w .theOEC.org
10. What type of invertebrates live here? How tolerant are they of the
water?
Group 1: These are sensitive to pollutants. Circle each animal found.
Relative Size Key:
No. of group 1
= larger
than picture
animals
circled:
Stonefly
Larva
Alderfly Larva
Dobsonfly
Larva
= smaller
than picture
Water
Snipe Fly
Larva
Group 2: These are semi-sensitive to pollutants. Circle each animal found.
No. of group 2
animals
circled:
Caddisfly Larva*
*All Caddisfly Larva = 1
Dragonfly
Larva
Water
Penny
Crane Fly
Larvae
Mayfly
Larva
Freshwater Mussel or
Fingernail clam
Crawfish
Damselfly tail
(side view)
Riffle Beetle
Larva*
Damselfly Larva
Riffle Beetle
Adult*
*All Riffle Beetles = 1
Group 3: These are semi-tolerant of pollutants. Circle each animal found.
No. of group 3
animals
Black Fly
Larva
circled:
Non-Red
Midge Larva
Amphipod or Scud
Snails: Orb or Gilled (right side opening)
*All Snails = 1
Group 4: These are tolerant of pollutants. Circle each animal found.
No. of group 4
animals
Pouch Snail
(left side opening)
Isopod or Aquatic
Sowbug
circled:
Bloodworm
Midge Larva
(red)
Leech
For more information, call (608) 265-3887 or (608) 264-8948.
Download and print data sheets from
watermonitoring.uwex.edu/wav/monitoring/sheets.html
© 2008 University of Wisconsin. This publication is part of a seven-series set, “Water Action Volunteers – Volunteer Monitoring Factsheet Series.” All recording
forms are free and available from the WAV coordinator. WAV is a cooperative program between the University of Wisconsin-Extension & the Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources. University of Wisconsin-Extension is an EEO/Affirmative Action employer and provides equal opportunities in employment
and programming, including Title IX and ADA requirements.
Tubifex
Worm
Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates
1/5/11 8:26 AM
Field Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates
Leska S. Fore
Annabel Wildrick (Illustrations)
The animals living in a stream provide the best indicators of that stream�s overall health and ecological
condition. Human activities that alter a watershed and interfere with the natural processes of a stream have
immediate as well as long-lasting effects on the animals that live in the stream. We monitor invertebrates
because they represent an enormous diversity of body shapes, survival strategies, and adaptations. Many
invertebrates require clear, cool water, adequate oxygen, stable flows, and a steady source of food in order
to complete their life cycles. These animals, in turn, provide food for trout, salmon, herons, and
kingfishers. Below are descriptions of the invertebrates you might expect to find at an excellent stream site
(i.e., a site unchanged by humans), a moderate site, and a poor (i.e., degraded) site.
Petri dish of invertebrates illustrates their approximate, relative size.
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Excellent stream site
Here we find a variety of organisms with very different body shapes and ways of making a living. High
biodiversity (or taxa richness) indicates a site with low human influence: most of the animals on this guide
sheet should be present in a riffle sample. Several different types (or taxa) of stoneflies, mayflies, and
caddisflies indicate a healthy site. More than one type of riffle beetle may also be identifiable, some are
longer and skinnier than others. Some caddisflies are tolerant of degradation, so a large number of
caddisflies does not necessarily indicate a good site, especially if they are the same species.
Moderate stream site
The total number of different types of organisms (taxa richness) declines as degradation increases. About
half to two-thirds the number of taxa found at an excellent site are found in a moderate site. The primary
change from an excellent site is that there will be many fewer taxa of stoneflies. Mayflies will be present,
but probably fewer taxa as well. Several types of caddisflies may be present depending on the type of
degradation. The relative proportions of soft-bodied worms, baetid mayflies, simuliid flies, or amphipods
may increase. Beetles are probably still present; molluscs are not.
Poor stream site
The total number of taxa will be low. Most of the taxa found are soft-bodied animals, e.g., fly larvae,
oligochaetes, nematodes, and in very poor sites, leeches and planaria. Worms are often difficult to
distinguish from each other because their shapes are similarly adapted to living in soft sediments. Stoneflies
are absent entirely. The only mayflies present are probably baetids (a family of mayflies). Caddisflies may
be present, but only a few tolerant types. Amphipods are often present. There may be a large proportion of
a single type of animal. In general, animals present may be smaller than those found at an excellent site.
Mayfly nymphs (Order Ephemeroptera)
Mayflies are insects that spend most of their lives in streams, emerging briefly as adults (�ephemerally�)
to mate and lay eggs. Gills are often visible along the abdomen. If an animal has three tails it�s a mayfly;
but some mayflies have two tails. Mayfly nymphs are strong swimmers and move like dolphins. As
immature nymphs many mayflies feed on algae; as adults they do not eat. Mayfly diversity declines as
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Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates
1/5/11 8:26 AM
streams are degraded; mayflies are particularly sensitive to mine waste.
Stonefly nymphs (Order Plecoptera)
Stonefly nymphs are typically found on or near stones in the stream. They are rather primitive and may
have been among the first insects to develop flight. Adult males and females emerge from the water to
mate and locate each other by drumming with their abdomens. Stoneflies move like turtles and many are
predators that hide and stalk their prey between stones and cobble. Stoneflies look similar to mayflies but
are stockier. Diversity of these animals declines rapidly at the first signs of human disturbance.
Caddisfly larvae (Order Trichoptera)
Caddisflies use silk (like butterflies) to build cases from gravel, twigs, needles, or sand. Different species
build distinct cases, but they often lose them when removed from a stream. Caddisflies are insects that
emerge to mate as winged adults. Caddisfly larvae make a living in a variety of ways: some capture food
in nets, others scrape algae or shred leaf litter. Free-living caddisfly larvae do not build cases; many are
predators and need to move quickly to capture other animals for food. Some caddisflies are very sensitive
to human disturbance; others are tolerant.
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Adult mayfly, stonefly, caddisfly
All three of these groups leave the water to mate as winged adults. Large swarms of mating mayflies and
caddisflies often occur when all the individuals of a single species emerge at the same time. Stoneflies
crawl out of the water and mate on the ground. The females of all three groups fly upstream and drop their
eggs onto the water or dive into the stream to attach them to rocks or leaves.
Riffle beetles (Order Coleoptera)
Riffle beetle larvae are specially adapted to cling to smooth rocks in fast-flowing water (riffles). After
emergence, adults fly for a short time but return to the water to feed in the same habitat as the larvae. Both
the larvae and adults are rather small, dark-colored, and tend to drift to the bottom of a sample so they may
be hard to see. Riffle beetles collect and gather a variety of different foods.
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Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates
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Fly larvae (Order Diptera)
There are many species of true flies, but you are likely to recognize three main groups or families. Midge
larvae (or chironomids) are very small, often C-shaped, and have a spastic squirming movement. They are
often attached to debris by their tiny legs. Black fly larvae (or simuliids) are dumb-bell shaped and soft.
They attach themselves to the substrate and prefer soft sediment. Crane fly larvae (or tipulids) are large and
fleshy with very short �tentacles� at one end.
Aquatic worms
Flatworms (planaria), roundworms (nematodes), and freshwater earthworms (oligochaetes) are properly
called worms; but don�t confuse them with the soft-bodied larvae of flies, for examples, which are not.
Nematodes and oligochaetes are long and thin and writhe like snakes. Note that these animals do not have
legs.
Crustaceans
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Amphipods (or �scuds�) are very fast swimmers that look like shrimp. They have many appendages and
look fuzzy. High proportions of these animals are present in very degraded sites. Isopods (or sowbugs) are
usually found creeping through leaf litter.
Molluscs (Classes Gastropoda & Pelecypoda)
Most snails and limpets eat algae they scrape from rocks. Check to see if the animal is still in the shell. As
larvae, freshwater mussels (or clams) may hitch a ride by attaching themselves to migrating fish. Mussels
are very sensitive to sediment because they feed by filtering stream water through their shells. Mature
mussels indicate an undisturbed site and may be up to 40 years old.
About this guide. Funding was provided through a King County Regional Water Quality Block Grant and the Bellevue Utilities
Department (Seattle, WA). The guide was developed in 1998 for volunteers in the Pacific Northwest; therefore, the invertebrates
illustrated are common to this area and the site descriptions may be specific to this region. This guide is published on the internet at
www.seanet.com/~leska. You may download, copy, or distribute this guide for educational purposes but not for resale. For more
information contact [email protected]
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Now, let’s rate the overall health of the stream or pond you just surveyed (you will have
to use your good judgment as a scientist to do this). Rate your area on a scale of 1-10,
with 10 being 100% perfectly healthy, and 1 being 0%, or not healthy at all. A rating of 5
would be marginally healthy (medium). What rating would you give?
List your rating here:_________________________
Now, explain why you gave it that rating.
Explain:______________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________
If you gave your area a low rating, what would you and your team to do make the area
healthier? List some actions you could do here (maybe plant trees? Add some wood?
Bring in more rock?) What are your ideas? List your ideas here:
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Divide rhizomes after the plant has flowered or in early spring before flowering.
Pacific nine bark
Hardwood cuttings root better than softwood cuttings. Take cuttings 15 cm long
in midwinter. Store in sawdust and stick in late winter or early spring in a
standard medium.
Thimbleberry
Thimbleberry can be propagated by cuttings and rhizomes.
Willow
Choose healthy willow trees from which to take cuttings. Snip 6 to 8 inch cuttings
from last season's growth in early spring or after the tree goes dormant. Cutting
diameter should be between a half inch and an inch. Push willow into desired
location. Be sure to not plant 100 feet of buildings or sewars.
Discussion Questions: What did the pollution effect? Who would be effected by
this? How do the decisions of some effect others? What other types of pollution
are there? How might this be similar to other types of pollution? Do you think
this can be regulated? What is the best way?
Wrap up/Reflection: Point of this exercise: Review with students how only a few
drops of pollution in a stream wound up polluting the entire system of water
(creeks, rivers and oceans) when the pollution gets carried by the water from one
point to another.
Make your own Greenhouse
Subject: Ecological thinking
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Climate Change
Objectives: Students will learn about the relationship of greenhouse gases and
global warming through hands-on activities. Understand that carbon dioxide is a
gas that creates a greenhouse effect and contributes to global warming.
Background Information:
What is Climate Change?
The surface temperature of our earth depends on a process called the heat
budget. This budget, like any other type of budget, remains balanced if the
amount of energy coming in equals the amount going out. If the energy balance is
disrupted, then the result would be a change in temperature. Ice ages occur when
the energy going out exceeds incoming solar energy; global warming occurs when
the incoming solar energy is greater than the energy going out. Clouds play a
major role in the heat budget. Clouds act as both a block to solar energy coming
in as well as an insulator trapping heat below.
An indication of climate change would be a gradual shift in the earth’s average
surface temperature. Locally, annual temperatures might fluctuate due to
differences in weather systems from one year to the next. On a global scale,
however, those local fluctuations are canceled out and the earth’s average
temperature should remain the same. But global average temperature, currently
57o F (14o C), has risen almost 1 degree over the last century. Some scientists
predict that temperatures will rise another 2 to 6 degrees over the next century!
The Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouse gases are atmospheric gases (including CO2, water vapor and
aerosols) that trap heat given off by the Earth. As a result they enhance global
warming much like a greenhouse gardeners use to shield their plants form the
outside weather. Greenhouses trap solar energy and keep the inside warm. Many
of these gases occur naturally on our earth and are essential to life on earth by
providing a blanket of warmth for marine and terrestrial organisms. Without
them, temperatures on earth would be too cold. However, when the
concentrations of these gases become too high, they may make the earth much
too hot and contribute to global warming. Many scientists believe that human
activities have been changing the concentrations of these gases since the start of
the industrial revolution, around 1850.
Causes of Climate Change
Since the start of the industrial revolution, human activities have caused a steady
increase in the concentration of some greenhouse gases to unprecedented levels
in our Earth’s recent history. Human activities release large amounts of carbon
dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from the burning of fossil fuels (e.g., oil, gas
and coal) from industrial activities, landfills, agricultural practices, and many
other processes. By adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, we
increase the atmosphere’s capacity to trap heat, therefore making the whole
planet warmer. Human activities that contribute to climate change include
disruptions to natural ecosystems, such as deforestation, overuse of water,
burning of fossil fuels, and increased pollution.
Materials: Plastic bottle, Nail, 2 thermometers If sunlight is not available, you
will need a heat lamp to simulate the sun, test tube, candle, small amount of
baking soda, small amount of vinegar
Ask students if they've ever been inside a greenhouse. Have them describe the
temperature difference between outside the greenhouse and inside the
greenhouse. Explain that the earth's atmosphere contains gases that produce that
same greenhouse effect for the earth and that the class will be performing a lab
activity to demonstrate that effect.
Activities:
Important Points to Understand: In cool climates greenhouses are used to
control the environment of plants so that they can grow in a season or in an area
where they would not normally grow. Do you know anyone in your community
who uses a greenhouse to grow plants in the summer? Try to visit a greenhouse
and see how its environment is different to that outside.
Demonstration
Light a candle and set it on the demo table. Put a small amount of baking soda in
a test tube. Pour enough vinegar in the tube to cover the baking soda. Have
students observe the bubbles and explain that carbon dioxide gas is being
produced by the reaction. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Prove this to the
students by tilting the test tube over the candle, pouring the carbon dioxide onto
the flame, extinguishing it. Explain that the students will be creating carbon
dioxide in their lab groups, even if they can't see the gas.
Procedure:
1. Make a hole near the top of the plastic bottle with the nail and insert one
thermometer.
2. Place the second thermometer next to the bottle.
3. Make sure that the same amount of sunlight reaches both thermometers.
4. Record the temperature values from both thermometers after 10 minutes or so.
5. Take the temperature records again after another 10 minutes. Repeat a few
times.
What actions do we take to contribute to the greenhouse effect?
(have a list of common activities that impact carbon dioxide production)
What can you do to reduce your impact?
Discussion Questions: Do both thermometers record the same temperature? If
No, which one is higher? Can you explain why these two temperature records are
not the same? Can you give a similar example to demonstrate the greenhouse
effect in our daily life? Define global warming and greenhouse effect.
Activity #2
Carbon Sequestration
Background:
Any of several processes for the removal of excess carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere in an effort to mitigate global warming
Materials: Pacific Northwest tree finder, tape measure, calculator, transit,
pencil and paper, level, and crate
Activity
ID your tree. Use the Pacific Northwest Tree ID book to identify the tree that you
are going to measure
Find the trees diameter by using a measuring tape to Measure the tree’s
circumference. Measure the tree at 4.5 feet from the base of the tree. Use the
formula Circumference = 2πr to calculate the diameter.
To convert circumference to diameter we need to remember the formula for
circumference. Circumference = 2 ∗ π∗ r. r is the radius. Using the distributive
property C = 2πr. 2 ∗ r is the diameter. Substituting diameter for 2∗r we have C =
π ∗diameter. Dividing both sides by pi we have C/π = diameter. To find the
diameter we divide the circumference by π
To measure the height of a tree you will need a measuring tape, level, and transit
with box. You will use the information from your 2 angles and side to figure out
the rest of the triangle and the tree height.
Using a transit
Measuring height with your transit
Measure 100-foot baseline from a tree using your measuring tape. Place your box
with transit at the end of this baseline. Make sure the transit box is level with the
tree. The transition be held in a vertical position. You can do this by taking the
transit to the box several inches high.
Place the 0° side of the transit toward the tree. Turn the sighting arm until the
nails line up with the top of the tree will. Now read the number of degrees you
moved the sight on the transit.
The tree to the ground is a right angle or 90°. Next measure the distance from the
tree and that is your side. Use the transit to take your angle. This will be your side
angle side. Subtract your angles from 180° to find out what your third angle is.
Then figure out the ratio to find out what your tree height is.
Now you have the height and the diameter of your tree.
To calculate the green weight use the following formula
For trees with a diameter less than 11 inches
The Weight = 0.25Diameter2 ∗Height
For trees with a diameter greater than 11 inches
The Weight = 0.15Diameter2 ∗Height
The root system also accounts for weight of the tree. To determine the total green
weight of the tree, multiply the above ground weight of the tree by 120%.
Use the percentages below to calculate how much the tree would weigh dry.
Subtract the percentage water from 100 and multiple that number to the total
green weight you calculated from above.
Species
green weight
Apple
Cottonwood
Douglas-fir
Maple, Other
Oak, White
Walnut, Black
Willow
4850
4640
3319
4685
5573
4584
4320
dry
weight
3888
2272
2970
3680
4200
3192
2540
ratio d/g
0.8016
0.4897
0.8948
0.7855
0.7536
0.6963
0.5880
percent water
19.84%
51.03%
10.52%
21.45%
24.64%
30.37%
41.20%
Determine the weight of carbon in the tree
The average carbon content is generally 50% of the tree’s total volume. Therefore,
to determine the weight of carbon in the tree, multiply the dry weight of the tree
by 50%.
Determine the weight of carbon dioxide sequestered in the tree
CO2 is composed of one molecule of Carbon and 2 molecules of Oxygen.
The atomic weight of Carbon is 12.001115.
The atomic weight of Oxygen is 15.9994. The weight of CO2 is C+2*O=43.999915.
The ratio of CO2 to C is 43.999915/12.001115=3.6663.
Therefore, to determine the weight of carbon dioxide sequestered in the tree,
multiply the weight of carbon in the tree by 3.6663.
Measuring the age of a tree
Take the number you calculated from the diameter of the tree. Divide it by 2. You
now have the radius.
Average ring growth for Douglas Fir is .15 inches per ring
Divide the radius by .15 and you will have the average age of the tree
Determine the weight of CO2 sequestered in the tree per year
Divide the weight of carbon dioxide sequestered in the tree by the age of the tree.
Now you have how much CO2 the tree can sequester each year.
Activity #3
Materials: The materials are based on the activity. This is a list of some of the
things you may need. Trees or cuttings, shovel, digging fork, water source, seed
collection holder, trowels.
Planting trees
Trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were
originally grown. The width of the hole should be at least 3 times the diameter of
the root ball or container or the spread of the roots in the case of bare root trees.
This will provide the tree with enough worked earth for its root structure to
establish itself.
When digging in poorly drained clay soil, it is important to avoid ‘glazing’.
Glazing occurs when the sides and bottom of a hole become smoothed forming a
barrier, through which water has difficulty passing. To break up the glaze, use a
fork to work the bottom and drag the points along the sides of the completed
hole. Also, raising the bottom of the hole slightly higher than the surrounding
area. This allows water to disperse, reducing the possibility of water pooling in
the planting zone.
Propagating trees
Madrone
Collect berries in October through December. Float the berries in water to float
off the pulp. Dry them and store at room temperature in a sealed container.
Pacific Dogwood
Shake branches to collect seeds from September to October. Sow seeds directly in
fall without removing them from fruit. To store, macerate to float off pulp.
Oregon White Oak
Collect acorns from September to November. Sow them immediately.
Black Cottonwood
Take stem cuttings from November through March when the tree is dormant.
Select cuttings from healthy, moderately vigorous, 1 to 3 year old wood on plants
growing in full sunlight. Discard the tip portion 3 to 10 cm since it’s generally not
suitable. The cutting should be 1 to 2 cm in diameter and 25 to 50 cm long. The
basal cut should be slanted and just below a dormant bud. The top cut should be
straight and 1 to 3 cm above a dormant bud. Plant in a rich, well-drained soil
medium so that just one bud is above ground.
Wrap up/Reflection: What is global warming? What can we do to try to remedy
the problem?
Shrinking Habitat
Subject: Ecological Thinking
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Shrinking habitat
Objectives: Students will understand how human impact effects wildlife and their
habitat.
Background Information:
All around us and all over the planet, wildlife habitat is being lost. Whenever an
area of land is paved for a shopping center, divided and excavated for homes for
people, or plowed to crop, small animals lose their homes and frequently their
sources of food and water. As these small animals disappear, so too do the larger
animals that previously depended on the smaller animals in the food web as a
source of food. Animals that cannot tolerate human intervention for other
reasons may also disappear (e.g., see the Project WILD activity "Too Close for
Comfort").
Students can observe the changes in wildlife habitat near their homes, near
schools, or in their region of the country either directly or by studying maps or
historical photographs. Development of land areas is happening in large
ecosystems and in small ones all over the Earth. For example, many wetlands on
the planet have been filled in and drained to make land for farms, homes, and
businesses. In the coastal states of the United States alone, more than half
(roughly 55 million acres) of wetlands have been destroyed, and most of the
prairie potholes in the upper Midwest and west have been lost.
When those wetlands are gone, many kinds of water birds, reptiles, amphibians,
crustaceans, and other life forms-including a wide variety of vegetation-are lost.
Sometimes the animal forms can move on; most often they cannot. Nationally,
more than half of the animal and one-third of the plant species listed under the
Endangered Species Act depend on wetlands. Tropical forests, whether evergreen
rainforests or deciduous mountain forests, are being damaged by ever-expanding
human populations. Unfortunately, this is happening before scientists have
thoroughly studied those forests' contributions to Earth's natural processes.
Scientists estimate that large tropical forests are home to numbers of plant and
animal species that have not even been identified as yet. Such forests are
tremendously important sources of Earth's biological diversity. It is estimated
that together, the remaining tropical forests contain at least half of the world's
biodiversity (estimated 3.5 to 30 million species of plants and animals), though
they cover less than 7 percent of the land's surface. The purpose of this activity is
for students to simulate some of the potential impacts of land development on
wildlife and its habitat, to recognize that this process is one that is taking place in
areas all over the planet, and to understand that loss of habitat is generally
considered to be the most critical problem facing wildlife today.
Materials: Green and blue construction paper; classroom desks, tables, or chairs;
five or six large bed sheets or blankets for a student group of about 25 (If this
activity is conducted outdoors, hula . hoops or string can be substituted for desks,
tables, or chairs to designate habitat areas.)
Activities:
Procedure
1. Review with the students the elements necessary for a habitat (food, water,
shelter, and space arranged suitably for the particular animal). After some
discussion to make sure that the elements of habitat are clear, tell the students
that in this activity they will be simulating wildlife in its habitat.
2. Divide the group into four teams: herbivores, carnivores, vegetation (e.g., trees,
shrubs, grasses, etc.), and people who will be land developers. If students are not
familiar with the terms "herbivore" and "carnivore," provide them with working
definitions of those terms herbivore: a plant-eating animal; carnivore: a meateating animal; and, although not needed for this activity, omnivore: an animal
that eats both plants and animals). Plan for three times as many herbivores as
carnivores, with a small number of developers in proportion to the other two
groups. The numbers (amount) of vegetation may vary. For example, two
developers, three carnivores, nine herbivores, and six trees or bushes
(vegetation).
3. Establish a large area-either in the classroom with tables, chairs, and desks
moved to the sides of the room, or outside-that can be used to simulate the
wildlife habitat area before development. The "land developers" are to stay on the
sidelines at this time, simply observing the undeveloped land and its wildlife
inhabitants-or to meet on their own nearby, as they make plans for development.
4. Provide each "herbivore" with two desks or chairs (or string or hula hoops) to
use as "shelter," three pieces of green construction paper to represent food, one
piece of blue construction paper to represent water, and some of the vegetation
portrayed by students. Provide each "carnivore" with one desk or chair (or string
or hula hoop) to use as a "lair,'' space equivalent to that used by three herbivores,
three herbivores as a potential food source; one piece of blue construction paper
to represent water, and some of the vegetation portrayed by students.
5. Ask the "herbivores" to arrange the food, water, and shelter-including the
students who are "vegetation H-in a space to represent their habitat. Once the
herbivores have arranged their habitat, ask the "carnivores" to move into the area
to establish their lairs and water sources, keeping an eye on the herbivores as
possible food sources. For added interest, suggest that the students identify what
particular kind of animal they are and role-play its characteristics. (This phase
takes about 10 minutes, with the developers planning while the herbivores and
carnivores arrange their habitats.)
6. Once all the animals are established in their habitats, it is time for the
developers to enter the picture. These developers have been given the
opportunity to create a housing and shopping area. (They may use 3 to 7 minutes
to construct their development, explaining their actions as they take them.) They
are restricted in how much space they can use. They may use the space equivalent
to that used by three herbivores. The developers
may use the sheets and blankets to build their development. They may remove
trees (represented by students) without physically hurting the students, shelter
(represented by desks), food, and water.
7. Once they have constructed their development, engage all students in a
discussion of what happened. What action took place? With what consequences?
Would or did any animals die? From what causes? Could the developers have
done anything differently to change the consequences? Could they have
developed several scattered small areas instead of one large area, or vice versa,
with what effects? Would it have reduced negative consequences for wildlife if
they put the development in a different area of their habitat?
8. Rather than negative consequences, were there positive consequences? If so,
what were they? How were they achieved? Ask the students to consider and
discuss what seemed realistic about the activity and what did not. For example,
sometimes development can take place that enhances the area for some kinds of
wildlife. Often, however, it will not be the same kinds of wildlife that'were in the
area before development. Planners and developers can sometimes add to the
vegetation in an area, creating additional shelter and food for some kinds of
wildlife and can make water sources available under some conditions, if there is
insufficient water in the area.
9. Ask the students to summarize some of the possible effects on wildlife from
human activities such as the development of land areas. Are there places in your
community where wildlife habitat has been lost to human development? Are
there places where wildlife habitat has been enhanced by human activity? What
choices, if any, are there to the development of previously undeveloped areas?
What trade-offs are involved, for example, in developing vacant areas within
communities rather than undeveloped areas outside of communities? If
development does take place, what kinds of actions can people take to minimize
the negative consequences for wildlife, vegetation, and other elements of the
environment? What about possible economic, social, ecological costs, or aesthetic
costs and so on? Discuss loss of habitat as something that is affecting wildlife all
over the planet. Ask the students to summarize the importance of suitable habitat
for wildlife. Discuss the students' concerns and recommendations.
Discussion Questions: Do you have enough habitat remaining to survive? Can
you move to a new habitat? Are you going to have trouble finding food? Will you
now be more easily caught by a predator? Have you lost your nesting or birthing
area for your young? Has your drinking water supply been lost or damaged? Do
you think you could become a species at risk? What happens to all of the people
who can’t find housing in the community? How does the community continue to
provide all the things that make people happy (e.g., soccer pitches, hockey arenas,
etc.)? What do you believe would happen if more habitat were removed (e.g., half
of the remaining forest ecosystem)?
Activity #2
Habitat Observation
Materials: Wildlife habitat worksheet, pencils
What have you seen in your neighborhood change that may have impacted
habitat?
New buildings being built, new roads, bridges, houses
How do you think this has impacted wildlife?
Students will create a habitat for wildlife.
Pick an animal out and observe it. It could be a bird, bug, or any other animal
that you find. What is it doing? What do you think it needs to survive?
How can we create that? With your animal in mind think about what it needs?
Food: Experts typically recommend stocking your wildlife habitat with native
plants tailored to survive in a particular climate, and ones that can hold up in a
drought. By planting a variety of flora, you'll encourage visits from the birds, the
bees and many other species in between. Consider a mix of plants that produce
nectar, nuts, berries, seeds, fruits and other succulent snacks throughout the
year. You can supplement the food that grows naturally with feeders, especially in
the cold season.
Water: Water is fundamental to animal survival. Your new four-legged friends
need it for drinking, bathing, and in some cases, for reproducing. The water must
be clean and can come from natural sources or man-made ones. If you have a
pond or a stream on your property, you're way ahead of the game, but the rest of
you shouldn't despair. You can install ponds, set up birdbaths or create butterfly
puddling areas (shallow, rocky mud puddles). In the winter, heated birdbaths
should lure animals to your yard.
Shelter: Imagine layers of blossoming ground cover, clusters of tall flowers,
winding tracks of shrubbery, and trees of all sizes. A heap of scrap wood, a fallen
tree nestled in one corner near the compost pile and some bushy shrubs provide a
perch for birds awaiting their turn in the bath. Birdhouses and roosting boxes can
house potential tenants, and you can't go wrong with natural havens like rock
piles, brush heaps and hollowed out logs. For bees, creating a shelter can be as
easy as drilling several small holes most of the way through a block of wood.
Then, just hang it up where it's safe from the elements, like under the eaves of
your house or shed.
Space: Many species tend to be territorial, so you'll want to provide enough
supplies to keep everybody happy. This can involve duplicating resources (like
hanging more than one hummingbird feeder) or supplying a variety of offerings
(like giving squirrels their own feeders so they'll leave the birds' food alone). It's a
good idea to gauge how the animals are interacting with each other and their
environment, both in your yard and beyond, to understand how you might meet
their needs better.
Projects for creating habitat
Survey the given area. Fill in the check list to discover what types of things this
area provides for wildlife
Provides
Trees
Bushes
Flowers
Plants with
berries, seeds,
or nuts
Large or flat
rocks, rock
walls
Water source
Grassy area
Shady area
with cool,
moist soil
Dead standing
trees
Pile of brush
or leaves
Weedy area
Nesting Hiding
spots
spots from
predators
√
√
√
√
Protection
from
weather
Food
Drinking Spot to
water
cool off
or
warm
up
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
SurveyWhat is
in your
spot
What doe the area already have?
What does the area still need?
Activity #3
Creating Wildlefe Habitat
Materials: Logs, brush, pinecones, peanut butter, bird seed (sunflower seeds),
string
Building a shelter for wildlife
To make the base, place two to four layers of logs at right angles (logs should be
about 4 to 6 inches apart on each layer), or bring the butt ends or four trees
together so that the canopies form an outer circle. Brush clippings should cover
the base and touched the ground and allow appropriate 6 inches of clearance at
several points along the base. The size of the brush piles and unspecific function
requirements for targeted species.
Bird Feeders
Another way to entice animals is to make opportunities for food. Gather wild
seeds, nuts, and berries (be sure none are poisonous to humans). Also gather pine
cones. Take pine cone and smear with peanut butter. Add seeds, nuts and berries,
to pine cone. You can also add sunflower seeds from pantry. Tie a string around
the top and hand in wildlife habitat area.
Students may also look around to see what could improve the area and gather
those supplies to add new features to the wildlife habitat.
Wrap up/Reflection: Do you have wildlife habitat at your home? What features
do you have? What could you do to attract more wildlife?
Water Shortage
Subject: Ecological thinking
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Water Shortage
Objectives: Students will learn about the state of fresh drinking water and what
they can do to access and reuse what is available
Background Information: the shortage of water resources alters important
hydrological cycles, or water cycles (the series of effects water has on the earth’s
surface and atmosphere), which in turn affects climate conditions. Thus, the
availability of freshwater depends not only on conservation, but also on proper
resource-management, sound sanitation techniques and responsible economic
guidelines.
Because water covers three-quarters of the earth’s surface, it might appear that
there is plenty to go around and that we will never run out of this valuable
resource. In reality, however, we have a limited amount of usable fresh water.
Over 97 percent of the earth’s water is found in the oceans as salt water. Two
percent of the earth’s water is stored as fresh water in glaciers, ice caps, and
snowy mountain ranges. That leaves only one percent of the earth’s water
available to us for our daily water supply needs. Our fresh water supplies are
stored either in the soil (aquifers) or bedrock fractures beneath the ground
(ground water) or in lakes, rivers, and streams on the earth’s surface (surface
water).
We use fresh water for a variety of purposes. Agricultural uses represent the
largest consumer of fresh water, about 42 percent. Approximately 39 percent of
our fresh water is used for the production of electricity; 11 percent is used in
urban and rural homes, offices, and hotels; and the remaining 8 percent is used
in manufacturing and mining activities.
Materials: cylinder, spoon, 4 small containers, eye dropper
Activities: Water demonstration
Where is All the Water?
We often hear about the shortage of fresh drinking water. This problem may be
difficult for students to understand because they are also constantly being told
how abundant water is on the planet. Help students develop an understanding of
where water is located around the Earth and how water shortages occur by
creating a miniature model of the water distribution on our planet.
1. Start out with a 2,200-milliliter cylinder full of water. Tell students that this
cylinder represents all of the water on the planet.
2. Have a student transfer 12 spoonfuls of water from the cylinder into a smaller
bowl. Tell students that these 12 spoonfuls of water represent all of the freshwater
on the planet and that the water remaining in the cylinder is saltwater and
therefore not usable.
3. Have a student take two spoonfuls of water out of the freshwater container and
put that in another small container. Explain to students that this water is
groundwater that flows far beneath the Earth's surface. You should have 10
spoonfuls remaining in your freshwater bowl.
4. Have a student remove half a spoonful of water from the freshwater container
and tell the class that this represents all of the water that is on the Earth's surface
in freshwater lakes.
5. Then from the freshwater bowl, which now contains nine and a half spoonfuls
of water, have a student remove one drop of water with an eyedropper. Tell the
students that this one drop represents all of the water present in the rivers on
earth.
6. Finally, inform the students that the remaining water in the freshwater bowl
represents water that is frozen in icebergs. Ask students to look at the different
containers and consider where the water is found on Earth and how certain
people could suffer from a water shortage based on the water distribution they
see.
Activity #2
Materials: Water Audit Worksheet, pens or pencils, calculators, container,
measuring cup, washing machine and hose (optional)
Calculate water usage in the home
• It is important to realize that water use throughout the year often varies
with the season.
• Most people use more water in the warmer months for gardening, washing
cars, and other outdoor uses. If you conduct your water audit in the winter
or fall, you should still consider the additional water you use in the
summer months.
• The American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates that the average
indoor water use per person is 94 gallons of water per day; this does not
take into account outdoor water use (watering lawns, washing cars).
Activity:
Students will perform a water audit. They will measure several faucets and
calculate gallons per minute. If you choose you may also calculate the washing
machine. If you choose not to, use the following information: 44 gallons per load
for a top loading washing machine, 21 gallons per load for a side loading washing
machine, 9 gallons per load for an energy-efficient dishwasher, 30 gallons per
load for a regular dishwasher.
Be sure to record all findings.
Estimating Water Use
Measure all the water used, indoor and outdoor, to accurately estimate the
quantity of water used. To determine how much you consume water in your home
it is necessary to measure water flow from each fixture in your house:
• To calculate flow for faucets (indoor and outdoor) and showerheads, turn
faucet to the normal flow rate that you use, and hold a container under the
tap for 10 seconds and measure the quantity of water in the container.
Multiply the measured quantity of water by 6 to calculate the gallons per
minutes (gpm).
• To calculate flow for toilets, turn off the water supply to the toilet, mark the
water line on the inside of the tank, flush, and then fill tank with water
from tap. Measure the volume of water that is required to fill water back
up to the water line mark on the tank and record this number. Turn water
on to the toilet to resume normal use.
• Take the hose to your washing machine and put it into a 55 gallon drum.
Measure how much water the washing machine uses.
Water Audit
1. Showers: How many showers does your family take a day? About how long is
each one? Add the figures and fill in your answer.
___________ X ___________=
number of showers
Number of Minutes
Total shower time per day
2. Baths: How many baths does your family take a day? A half-full tub is about
18 gallon, a full tub is about 36 gallons. Add the figures and fill in your answer.
___________ X __________=
number in family
Number of baths
Total baths per day
3. Toilets: How many times a day does your family flush the toilet? (The average
is four flushes per person.) Add the figures and fill in your answer.
__________ X __________=
Number in family
Flushes per day
Total flushes per day
4. Tooth Brushing. Most family members brush their teeth at least twice a day
for about two minutes each time. Leaving the faucet on while brushing your teeth
wastes a lot of water. How often does you family brush?
__________ X ___________= __________
Number in family
Number brushes per day
Number of brushes per day
___________ X 2 minutes each brush =
total brushers per day
Total brushing time per day
5. Hand Dishwashing. How many times a day does your family was dishes by
hand? About how long does the water run each time?
________
X
Times dishes Washed per day
________
Minutes water run
=
Total washing time per day
6. Dishwasher. Answer this question only if you have a dishwasher.
How many times a week does your family run the dishwasher?
_______ :
/ 7 days per week=
Average uses per day
Uses per week
7. Laundry. Answer only if you have a washing machine.
How many loads of laundry does your family do each week?
______ :
/ 7 days per week =
Average loads per day
loads per week
8. Other Indoor Water Uses. Your family also uses water indoors in other
ways. List some of these ways below.
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
9. Lawn Watering. How many times a week does your family water the lawn?
About how many minutes do you water each time?
______
X _______=
________________
watering days per week
watering minutes per day
Total Minutes per week per week
__________________ :/ 7 days per week=
Average watering time per day
Total watering minutes per week
10. Other Outdoor Uses. Your family may use water outdoors in other ways.
List some of them below.
________________________________________________
________________________________________________
11. How Much water is used if each family member uses another ten
gallons a day?
_________ X 10 gallons =
Number in family
Total galls per day for other uses
Figure your family’s total daily use
• Put your answers from the water drops on this page in the third column
below.
• Multiply columns 2 and 3.
• Put your answers in column 4.
• This is the amount of water your family uses daily for each activity.
• Next, add column 4.
• This is the estimate of the total gallons of water your family uses daily.
Water use activity
Gallons or
minutes per use
Minutes or uses
per day
Total Water use
per day
1. Showers
2. Baths
3. Tooth brushing
4. Toilet Flushing
5. Hand Dishwashing
6. Dishwasher
7. Laundry
8. Other Indoor Use
9. Lawn Watering
Total Use per day
What is your Water usage? Now we are going to look at ways we can reduce our
consumption.
Activity #3:
Greywater
Materials: Water audit results, water use charts
Discuss what gray water is. Greywater is the leftover water from baths, showers,
hand basins and washing machines.
Ask for suggestions on how we can re-use the water that we are currently usinggrey water.
* Water your grass and landscaping.
* Flush your toilet - you certainly don't need potable water for that!
* Hydrate your compost pile.
* Water your houseplants.
* Treat your greywater and use it to nourish your garden
Knowing what we know, how many gallons of water could we reduce in our
consumption by using graywater.
Gray water is not the only source of reusable water. By calculating rainwater
averages, we can determine how much rainwater we could collect and reuse.
Activity #4
Calculating rainwater from roof
Materials: Measuring tape, calculators, worksheet, roof pitch estimator
Low Slope / Pitch
This type of roof would have at least a 3:12
pitch, which means that roof rises 3 feet for
every 12 feet of its base horizontal length.
Approx. average multiplier: anywhere from
1.15 to 1.25 times the number of ground
squares
Medium Roof pitch / slope
The roof of this type would fall within 6:12 9:12 roofing slope range.
Approximate roofing multiplier: anywhere
between 1.25 to 1.4 depending on the
steepness of the roofing slope and how
complicated / cut up our roof is.
High Roof pitch / slope
Roofs in this category have slope that is
greater than 9 inches of rise for every foot roof
horizontal run.
Approximate roofing multiplier variance can
range from 1.41 for a simple gable roof up to
1.7 for a high slopped and cut up roof.
1. Use a measuring tape to find the perimeter of the roof. Calculate the square
footage by multiplying length x width. Multiple this number to your estimate of
the roof pitch. You now have an estimate of the square foot water collection area
(C).
2. Research the historical weather data in your area to find the average inches of
rainfall per year. (45 inches)
3. Multiply collection area's (C) square footage by the average inches of rainfall
(R). You will then come up with a total (T).
4. Divide the total (T) by the number 12. This will give you the cubic feet of
rainfall per year (F).
5. Multiply the cubic feet of rainfall (F) by 7.43. This will convert the cubic feet to
gallons.
Activity #5
Water Consumption
Materials: Water audit results, pens and pencils, scrap paper, calculators, water
use charts
Now that you know how much water you can capture, you are going to look at
your consumption and figure out how much water you could use without
changing any habits. Look at your water audit chart. Next in each area writedown what type of water it needs, and what type of water it makes.
Activity
White
water
(potable)
Brushing teeth
X
Showering/Bathing
X
Toilet
X
Washing dishes
X
Laundry
X
Watering house
X
plants
Lawn
X
Watering Garden
X
Water use activity
Rainwater
Greywater Creates
water type
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
-
Baths
Gallons White water
Greywater
Tooth brushing
Gallons White water
Greywater
Toilet Flushing
Gallons Greywater
Rainwater
Gallons White water
Gallons Rainwater
Greywater
Gallons Greywater
Rainwater
Gallons Rainwater
Black water
Black water
Greywater
Lawns
-
-
-
-
Dish water
Laundry
Lawn Watering
Garden watering
Type of water
it makes
Greywater
-
I can reuse
this water
Laundry
Lawns
Laundry
Lawns
Laundry
Lawns
-
Showers
Total Water Water I can
use per day
use
Gallons White water
Can I
reuse
this?
Grey water
Yes
Greywater
Yes
Blackwater
No
Blackwater
No
Greywater
Yes
-
Discussion Questions:
How many gallons of white water do you need per day?
How many gallons of gray water do you need per day?
How many gallons of rainwater do you need per day?
How much of the water can you reuse?
What were the total number of gallons that you were able to reduce your
consumption?
Wrap up/Reflection: Think about ways the contents of water. You can do both
big and small things. Do you let the water run while you brush your teeth or
shave? Do you run your clothes washer or dishwasher before it is fully loaded? Do
you take long showers or baths? Do you use a dishpan or plug the sink when
washing and rinsing dishes by hand? Do you pre-rinse your dishes prior to
loading them in the dishwasher? Do you have an automatic shut-off nozzle on
your outdoor hose? Do you water your plants during the coolest part of the day?
Table of Contents
Click on the title to see the lesson
Food
Orientation
Solo Hike
Lunch Bag Ecology
Sensory Activities
Wild Edible Plant Walk
Mushroom Hunting
Seed Saving
Drawing Flowers
Using a Key
Food Preparation- Quiche Batter
Food Preparation- Quiche Crust
Composting
Sheet Mulching
Seed Balls/Planting
Soil Sample
Identifying Edible Plant Parts
Animal Games
Tracking/Animal Behavior
Nutrition
Food Processing
Part 3: Creating a healthier stream
Background:
The more different kinds of trees and plants present, the healthier the stream or
pond is (Mother Nature likes to have as many different kinds as possible, this is
known as diversity). And, the more diversity the better!
Phytoremediation is the technical term used to describe the treatment of
environmental problems (bioremediation) through the use of plants.
Certain plants are able to extract hazardous substances such as arsenic, lead and
uranium from soil and water. One example of a hyperaccumulator is the bracken
fern. This fern extracts arsenic from the soil at a much greater rate than other
plants. This arsenic is stored in the fern's leaves at as much as 200 times that
present in the soil, thus enabling effective and practical clean-up programs.
Sunflowers were also used to clean up uranium after the Chernobyl accident.
In the case of organic pollutants, such as pesticides, explosives and industrial
chemicals, certain plants may render these substances non-toxic by their
metabolism.
Materials: Depending on the activities you chose you will need different
materials. Common materials are: pruners, loppers, ruler, hand saw, watering
can or hose, trowel, ID book
Activity:
Biodiversity is a key factor in the quality of the water. We can help mother nature
by planting plants along the water. Plants reproduce by both sexual
reproduction, and asexual reproduction. Planting seeds (sexual reproduction)
helps to strengthen the genetic makeup of a plant. Asexual reproduction uses part
of the plant to create more plants.
You may do any of these activities based on the time of year, your time, and what
is available.
Seed dispersal
Look for seeds of different plants. Identify the plant to make sure that it is not
an invasive specie. Scatter the seed along the bank to help growth of that plant.
Wild Ginger
Look for An abundant stand of wild Ginger. In early spring or fall when the
parent plant is dormant, dig up a rhizomes. Plant the rhizomes 1 cm deep with
the tip of rhizome reaching the soil level. Space than 30 cm apart and keep the
soil moist with a mulch oak leaves.
Pacific bleeding hearts
Food
THROUGHLINES
Food: Students will explore the relationships between themselves, their food, and the environment. They will understand where food
comes from and recognize how the practices that are used to grow their food affect both themselves and their environment.
GENERATIVE TOPICS
Food: Students will learn where their food comes from. They will learn about how to identify plants and their parts, the plant life cycle,
growing, caring for and harvesting plants, the environmental impact of transporting food, the effects of pesticides and herbicides on the
health of ecosystems and the human body, animal husbandry, and how to plan and cook healthy meals.
UNIT LEVEL UNDERSTANDING GOALS
PERFORMANCES OF UNDERSTANDING
1. Gardening/Agriculture: Students will
learn about the life cycle of a plant, how
to care for and nurture plants, and
techniques to encourage healthy growth.
1. Gardening/Agriculture: Students will learn about the life cycle of a plant including
stages of growth and how the stages pertain to agriculture. Students will learn different
techniques in preparing a garden bed and the benefits of these different tactics. Students
will also learn the foundation of caring for plants and how to nurture them to grow healthy
and strong.
2. Botany: Students will be able to
identify the different parts of a plant. They
will recognize consumable and poisonous
parts of plants in the garden.
3. Wild Crafting/Wild Edibles: Students
will identify wild edibles. They will learn
their uses and how to harvest and prepare
these plants.
4. Animal Husbandry: Students will
learn how to care for farm animals and the
procedures for harvesting animals and
their byproducts.
5. Hunting: Students will learn skills to
be able to track and find game.
6. Meal Preparation: Students will learn
how to cook food that they have
harvested into a healthy meal.
Aprovecho KIDS Program Unit Overview
2. Botany: Students will study plants and be able identify the different parts of a plant.
They will also learn basic classification and family characteristics. They will learn both edible
and poisonous parts of plants found in the garden.
3. Wild Crafting/Wild Edibles: Students will identify, by keying, both poisonous and wild
edible plants. They will learn procedures for the sustainable harvesting of wild edibles. They
will also learn the cultural history, indigenous uses and preparation of these plants.
4. Animal Husbandry: Students will learn the basics of caring for poultry and fish. They will
learn what these animals need to survive. They will learn techniques for harvesting animals
and their byproducts. Students will also discuss conventional animal husbandry tactics and
how this affects both the health of their body and the ecosystem.
5. Hunting: Students will learn about animal behavior including; habitats, feeding, homes,
tracking, and other signs. They will also discuss the ethics of hunting.
6. Meal Preparation: Students will plan and cook a healthy balanced meal using
ingredients that they that they harvest from the garden and gather from the forest.
Students will be able to label and identify all of the ingredients that they use to prepare the
meal.
For more information contact: Jeremy Roth | [email protected] | 541.946.3194
Orientation
Subject: Sense of Place
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Orientation
Objective: Students will understand about where they are, and what is expected
of them in the different, spaces and settings.
Background Information: Creating a safe learning atmosphere is important in
having a respectful environment.
Materials: Journals
Orientation
Five finger contract
In the 5-finger contract each rule represents a finger. These rules are here to make
everyone have a safe and fun experience. We ask that all participants follow these
guidelines.
1. No put downs
2. Safety: Look out for number one
It is important that everyone make safe choices, both physically and emotionally.
This means follow directions, if something looks dangerous keep clear and let an
adult know
3. Respect
Respect others- Remember that this is people’s home.
There are a lot of things going on here that are interesting and exciting.
Respect the environment- this goes for plants, animals, and things
Please before you touch anything check to see if it is okay. You would not like
someone to come to your home and break things that are important to you
Respect ourselves- talk positively about ourselves.
4. Effort- Give 100% . Try new things, experience, explore, and discover.
5. The golden rule- Do to others as you would want them to do to you- Remember
this as you share common space, and experience new adventures.
Animal Calls
Crow Call ( Caw caw, caw caw)- we will use this call to gather everyone together
Coyote Call (yip, yip, yip)-We will use this call when not everyone is paying attention
Frog Call (ribbit, ribbit)- When we need everyone to be quiet we will use this call
Can you think of anything else we should have a call for?
Each group have a call- Next we are going to break up into our groups and come up with
a call.
Have the groups decide on an animal and their call. Have them come back together and
share their animals and calls with one another
Break into groups
Have each instructor give a quick tour pointing out bathrooms, places to get water, main
buildings, and major destinations.
Through garden, chickens and ducks, pond,
Hand out journals
Discussion Questions: Do you have any questions or concerns?
Wrap up/Reflection: As we embark on this adventure together it is important
that everyone feels safe and comfortable. What are some things that we can do if
we do not know where something is? Have a problem with another person?
Find our self in a situation where someone is doing something that seems
dangerous?
Solo Hike
Subject: Sense of Place
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Solo Hike
Objective: Students will spend time in the woods increasing their awareness
Background Information:
Materials: Solo hike cards, trail
Activities: Explain to the campers that they are going to take a silent hike. There
will be cards placed along the trail every so often. The leader goes first and places
the cards strategically along a well-marked trail. The campers follow leaving
about 30-45 seconds in between each person so that everyone can take their time.
Discussion Questions: What things did you notice? Did you notice anything
unusual? Was it hard to be silent in the woods?
Wrap up/Reflection: When we walk slowly through the woods and really look at
things we are able to see things that we do not normally see. Was there anything
that you saw that you have never seen before?
Lunch Bag Ecology
Subject: Sense of Place
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Where your food comes from
Objective: Explore the food supply system, introduction to food
Background Information: Understanding where food comes from is a critical step
in making informed food choices
Materials: Globe (there is no globe available today)
Discussion Questions: Do you ever think about where your food comes from?
What plants are you having for lunch today? What food comes from animals? Did
you ever wonder how the food got to your lunch? We have a very complex food
system. Food can travel thousands of miles to get to us. But in many other
countries, people eat food that is grown or raised near where they live. Let's
examine our lunches and see how it got to us.
Activities:
1. In what season was it probably harvested or butchered? If your food was
not picked recently, how was it stored dry, (dried, canned, bottled, frozen,
pickled, bagged, boxed) If we were unable to preserve and store food after
seasons of great harvest, what would happen to us after being harvests?
2. Transportation has helped us to transcend local seasonal limitations. Did
we have any lunch food grown in another climate and transported here?
Where was the food from? How far did it travel? And what season was the
food raised? Did we have any lunch items that traveled more than 1000
miles? (examples: spices, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, Danish butter
cookies, Florida oranges, New Zealand apples) Show students where on
the globe the food came from.
3. School lunch that traveled less than 500 miles? What was your lunch
consists of if you ate only fresh foods? Could you eat bread in the winter?
Apples in the spring? What do the people who lived here 200 years ago
had for lunch?
4. How might farmers affect food production by manipulating climate?
Examples: fruit and vegetable crops are irrigated during the hot dry,
California summer; smudge pots and fans prevent winter frost from killing
citrus crops; green houses create summer and winter for tomatoes and
flowers.) Did you have anything for lunch that might have grown in these
ways?
Wrap up/Reflection: What are some advantages of eating food produced locally?
(fresher, lower costs, saves energy and pollution, support local agriculture and
economy) What are some advantages of eating foods produced around the
world? (more choices, available year-round) How can you tell where your food
comes from? (look on fruit stickers and labels of processed foods, ask store clerks,
shop at local farmers market)
During the upcoming week we are going explore first hand where are food comes
from. We will look at different techniques used to grow and raise food. We will
prepare a meal where we use as much food grown locally as possible.
How would our lives look if we only ate foods that came from nearby (as far as
you could walk)?
Sensory Activities
Subject: Sense of Place
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Sensory Activities
Objective: Students will use different senses to explore
Background Information: What are our senses? (touch, taste, smell, hearing, and
sight). Often we over rely on one sense and do not use the others as much. In
these activities we will try using senses that we may not sue as much.
Materials: Blind folds
Activities:
1. Fox Walk: Show students how to walk quietly by teaching them to put
the outside of their foot down first and then roll the foot flat. Shift pressure
to it. Have the students practice. They can try sneaking up on one another.
2. Deer Ears: Practice listening to sounds and then cupping your hands
behind your ears and listening to that same sound. Does it sound louder?
3. Owl Eyes: Have students use their whole vision. Explain that tunnel
vision (cup hands around eyes) is not our entire focus. Have them put
there hands out to their sides and move them towards their body slowly.
When they start to see them that is their wide angle vision or owl eyes that
can help to see more then we normally see.
4. Smell Hike: Take a hike focusing your sense of smell on the nature
around you. What does the bark of a tree smell like (a ponderosa pine is
said to smell like vanilla or butterscotch.), what does sage smell like, what
do the flowers and grasses smell like? Why do different things have
different smells? Are they trying to attract insects?
5. Meet a tree: Divide the players up into two-person teams. One person in
each team puts on a blindfold. The partner turns the blindfolded person
around two or three times, and then leads the person in a zig-zag path to a
tree. The partner must be very careful to lead the blindfolded person
around dangers. The blindfolded person explores the tree, taking as much
time as he or she needs to feel the texture of the bark, find bumps or
hollows, and find patches of moss or other features. When the blindfolded
person is done, the partner leads him or her in a zig-zag path away from
the tree, turning the blindfolded person around two or three times in the
middle. The blindfolded person takes the blindfold off and tries to find the
same tree. The partners switch places and explore another tree.
6. Solo Hike: Cards will be set up at a predetermined location. Explain to
the campers that they are going to take a silent hike. There will be cards
placed along the trail every so often. The leader goes first and places the
cards strategically along a well-marked trail. The campers follow leaving
about 30-45 seconds in between each person so that everyone can take
their time.
Discussion Questions: What things did you notice? Did you notice
anything unusual? Was it hard to be silent in the woods?
7. Trust Walk: Have student team up in groups of two. Have one person
blind folded and the other leads them around.
Discussion Questions: Did you notice anything that smelled unusual? How does
it feel using your different senses? Was it hard to find your tree? How were you
able to find your tree? What senses do different animals use? Do they have
adaptations to help them use their senses? What was it like moving around blind
folded. Did you feel safe? Did you rely on any other sense? Which ones? Why?
Wrap up/Reflection: Although we often rely on sight, by using other senses we
can learn more information and discover things we would not have normally
noticed.
Wild Edibles/Plant Walk
Subject: Forest
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Wild Edibles/Plant Walk
Objective: Students will learn about plants that are both edibles and poisonous.
Students will also learn guidelines for eating wild edibles.
Background Information: Harvesting techniques and knowledge of edible plants
are essential for this lesson. It may also add to the activity by taking about
utilitarian uses of plants for example ocean spray is used to make arrow shafts
and western red cedar is used to make baskets, clothing, and fire starter.
Materials: Familiar Trail with wild edible plants
Activities: instructor will give specific criteria on behavior and expectations in
the forest. Instructor will tell students that they may not put anything in their
mouth that has not been okayed specifically by the instructor for them. Students
may not pick up any plant, fungus, or other material during this walk, so they do
not consume anything unsafe. Students will walk around the instructor. They will
learn what plants are edible and what plants are poisonous. Instructor will
identify each plant that each student consumes. Instructor will also point out
poisonous plants and common plants.
Discussion Questions: What new plants did you learn about? Was there anything
that you really liked? Was there anything that you did not like? What about it did
you like or not like?
Wrap up/Reflection: When we taste foods from the forest we need to make sure
that we correctly identify the plant before tasting it. If we do not we may eat a
plant that makes us very sick or even kills us. Also remember that we want to
taste plants, but we do not want to take so much that will keep a plant from
continuing to thrive in the future.
Mushroom Hunting
Subject: Forest
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Mushroom Hunting
Objective: Students will learn about wild edible and poisonous mushrooms.
Students will learn how to identify mushrooms
Background Information: There are many different types of mushrooms.
Mushrooms are very difficult to identify correctly and if consumed come with
serious risk. There are well-documented incidents where a renown fungus expert
has misidentified a mushroom and his entire family has died.
Materials: White paper, black paper, mushrooms collected on hike (not
poisonous), student journals
Activities:
Mushrooming Hunting Walk
Take students for a walk in the forest. Point out mushrooms. Remind students
that we do not touch mushrooms, because many are poisonous and can make us
sick or in the worst case die.
While you are hunting mushrooms collect several that are not poisonous, so you
can make spore prints out of them.
Making spore prints
You should use only edible mushrooms for this activity.
Some mushroom spores are white: others are yellow, pink, purple, black or
brown. If you want to see this for yourself, make “spore prints” of as many
different kinds of mushrooms that you can find. Take each mushroom and pull
off the stem. Put the cap on a piece of paper, half white and half black, with the
gills resting on the paper. (Black paper is needed in case the spores are white, and
white is needed in case the spores are dark-colored.)Cover the mushroom with a
glass containing a tiny piece of wet cotton. In an hour or two, lift up the glass and
mushroom cap (we can do this after the meal). Enough spores will have fallen on
the paper to make a print.
Journaling
Have students draw a mushroom and label its parts. They can choose any of the
ones that you have collected. Have them use the picture in their journal to
identify the different parts of a mushroom.
Discussion Questions: Do you know mushrooms need to grow? How are
mushrooms different then plants?
Wrap up/Reflection: It is important to touch only mushrooms that you can
identify. Some mushrooms are very poisonous and can make you sick or even die
if you are not careful.
Seed Saving
Subject: Forest
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Seed Saving
Objective: Students will learn the importance of seeds, and how they are able to
continue
Background Information: Seeds are the basis of all plant life. The ability to travel
to new destinations allows species to continue to grow and thrive.
Materials: Piece of blanket
Seeds (bean, pumpkin, corn, or pea)
Box with construction paper, tape, glue, rubber bands, toothpicks, scissors,
pencils, plastic bags, cotton, feathers, tacks, and wire
Activities:
Ask students what seeds are and what they do. Ask for examples. Tell students
they're going to learn more about seeds by gathering and sorting them. Have
students gather seeds. They may pick them up off the ground, dragging part of a
blanket across an area.
Find an area where the class can work. Once you find that area ask the following
questions:
What are seeds?
A seed is a plant egg. It contains a baby plant and a supplies the baby plant food
wrapped in a protective covering.
Where do seeds to come from?
The plants ovaries, or female part, is located in its flowers or cones
Is there a reason for so many different kinds of seeds?
Every type of plant has a special type of seat designed for the plant's particular
habitat and method of distribution.
Divide the class into small groups. Give each group seeds to be adapted. Ask each
group to adapt their seat to float on water for at least five minutes; be thrown at
least 2 feet away from the parent plant; attractive bird or animal; hitchhike on an
animal or person for 20 feet; or fly at least 3 feet. When dispersal inventions are
complete, have students demonstrate how they work.
Wrap up/Reflection: What is the intent of dispersal mechanisms? What might
happen if maple seeds fell straight to the ground and grew right under the parent
Maple?
Drawing Plants
Subject: Botany
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Drawing plants
Objective: to learn the structure and function of the flower parts
Background Information: evolutionarily advance plans (angiosperms) produce
flowers, where the sex cells are contained for the plant’s reproduction. The
stamen is the male organ for reproduction and is composed of the anther and the
filament (or stalk). At the tip of the filament is the anther, the organ that
produces the pollen. Pollen is composed of fine powder like grains that contain
the male sex cells. The pistil is the female organ; its parts are composed of the
stigma, style, and ovary. During pollination, male pollen lands on the stigma,
travels down the style, and fertilizes the ovary area. This fertilized egg develops
into the seed. Sepals are the leaf-like parts under the petals. They are usually
green and photosynthetic (able to produce food from the sun). Petals can be all
colors and shapes, and have a variety of smells. They serve to attract pollinators.
Materials: Drawing and coloring materials, student journals
Discussion Questions: Each flower stem seems to be unique with its own special
beauty. But all flowers are composed of the same parts. You and your friends are
all unique, but you all have the same parts too: eyes, ears, nose, fingers, and so
on. The difference is that different types of flowers have different number of
parts; for example, one type flower might have four petals and another type of
flower might have five petals.
Activities: divide the class into small groups. Ask each group to go into the garden
and carefully collect one flower, preferably one that no other group has. Simple
flowers with easily identifiable parts are sweet pea, tomato, potato, bean,
mustard, Poppy, Lily, nasturtium. When the groups return, ask them to look
carefully at their flower; then have them spend sometime drawing a colored
picture of it. Ask the students to take their flowers apart gently and draw each
part. Use the drawings as a guide to flower parts and discuss the function of each
part. Student should examine, draw, and label the sepals, pedals, pistil, and
stamens.
Use the picture on following page of your journal as a guide to label plant parts.
If time allows have students draw a second flower and have them compare the
two flowers how they are alike and different.
Wrap up/Reflection: what is the name of the pollen bearing, male part of the
flower? What is the female part? What part of the flower swells to become the
fruits and seeds? How to sprawling get to the pistil? List things that would change
if there were no more flowers?
Using a Key
Subject: Botany
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Using a dichotomous key
Objective: students will understand how to read and design a dichotomous key
Background Information: Being able to correctly identify plants is an important
skills
Materials: key to new pamishan creatures, student Journal, hand lens, tree key
finder books, 5 different types of leaves/trees
Activities:
Using the key to new pamishan creatures have students select a creature from 1 to
20. The instructor will show students how to use a dichotomous key. Students
will read through each couplet of questions and choose the answer to the
question that best meets their description. From there they will proceed to the
correct number. They will continue this procedure until they reach their
creature’s name.
Break the group into groups of 2-3 students. Give each group a tree to identify.
Have the students use the tree key book to decide what tree they are looking at.
Each group may have multiple trees, depending on the time you have.
Have students turn to the leaf pages in their journals, talk about the different
types of characteristics of leaves including: margins, veins, and shape. Using the
journal pages write your own key in the student journals have students classify
theses leaves and write up their own keys.
Discussion Questions: Why is correctly identifying plants important? What do
you look for when identifying plants and flowers?
Wrap up/Reflection: There are many different characteristics that you use when
identifying plants. The more you know about a plant the more plants you can
identify. Knowing how to identify plants can help when trying to classify them
into groups.
Food Preparation
Subject: Food
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Harvesting, Processing, and cooking
Objective: Students will be able to identify and harvest different plants in the
garden for food.
Background Information: Make sure students follow safety procedures in the
kitchen, also be sure to talk about sanitation and the importance of keeping a
clean kitchen.
Materials: Food to harvest, appropriate tools to harvest with, baskets/bowls to
collect food in
Activities:
Tell students that we are going to make quiche. We are going to use as much as
we can from the garden. Ask them what ingredients are in quiche. Discuss where
the items come from (eggs from chickens, crust is made of wheat (wheat berries)
and butter (cream), water) Also discuss any other fillings that will be used from
the garden.
Instructor will take students into the garden and teach students the proper way to
harvest a few different types of food. After each lesson, students will have a
chance to harvest the food. Once all the food is collected the instructor will show
students how to prepare or store the food that has been harvested.
Instructor will the have students make a batter for the quiche. Follow the recipe
to do this. The group will then combine with the crust making group to make a
quiche. In a different session they will make the crust.
This is a skeleton recipe of what goes inside a quiche. Have students add the
ingredients that they want in their quiche.
Basic quiche recipe
• 1 pie crust
• 1 ½ cup of filling
• 3 eggs
• 1 and 1/8 cups of whole milk
• 3/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• dash of nutmeg
Prepare the filling ingredients. Vegetables should be blanched to tenderize them
and meat or seafood should be cooked. Cheese should be shredded or diced.
Layer the ingredients in the cooled quiche crust, starting with the meat or
vegetables, then adding the cheese.
Using a whisk, beat together the eggs, whole milk, and seasonings. Whisk just
until mixed.
Pour the egg mixture on top of the quiche crust and place in 375°F oven for 40
minutes, or just until the eggs are set (the quiche will continue to cook some after
you remove it from the oven, so be sure not to over cook it). The quiche will puff
up and turn a nice golden brown on top.
Cool for 10 minutes, then serve.
Students can also help in preparing the rest of meal.
Wrap up/Reflection: Could the food you are preparing all be grown locally? What
were the processes involved in preparing the dinner we are making. Have
students clean up after themselves and help set up for the next group.
Food Preparation
Subject: Food
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Preparing quiche crust
Objective: Students will create a pie crust from scratch
Background Information: Make sure students follow safety procedures in the
kitchen, also be sure to talk about sanitation and the importance of keeping a
clean kitchen.
Materials: Flour, ice water (water from refrigerator), olive oil, salt, bowl for each
group, cup for each group, pie tin (these ingredients are for 7” round pie tins)
Activities:
Following the recipe students are going to make pie crust. Students will follow the
instructions and make a pie crust. When finished they will meet up with the
group making the batter and combine them.
When students are finished have them clean up after themselves
Ingredients:
3/4 cup flour
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup ice water (refrigerated water)
Directions
1. Mix flour and salt with fork
2. Beat oil and water with fork to thicken- in jars?
3. Pour oil water mixture into flour mixture
4. Press into pie crust
5. Fill with quiche mixture and bake at 400F until done
Wrap up/Reflection: Have students clean up after themselves and help set up for
the next group.
Composting
Subject: Gardening
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Composting
Objective: t0 experience the process of decomposition and the nutrient cycle
Background Information: compost is a mixture of decomposed vegetation that is
used to improve soil structure and provide clients with necessary nutrients for
growth and development. Composting is the art of ecologically reusing waste.
When making a compost pile, and we are mimicking the nutrient cycle in nature.
We are promoting the biological decomposition of organic matter under
controlled conditions in demonstrating the concept of cycles and changes. In
addition, we are showing our students a way to divert waste headed to landfills.
Decomposition as the result of the efforts of billions of microorganisms, mainly
bacteria and fungi, which eat the organic matter and in so doing break it into
smaller, simpler molecules that become available as nutrients for plants. At the
their way through the compost, to give off heat. As he speeds the decomposition
process and can be felt and measured by students.
Materials: compost materials, shovels and spading forks, wheelbarrow, hose
with fan spray nozzle, meter sick, compost thermometer, Journal
Collect composting materials.
Activities:
1. Demonstrate building a miniature compost cake with samples of browns
(carbon rich material such as dead plants, leaves, or straw), greens
nitrogen rich materials such as grass clippings fresh plant matter, for food
scraps and soil or old compost prior to building the actual pile discussed
the different ingredients that can be used in the pile. Stress the importance
of this size, ingredients, and moisture level.
2. Go to the garden and equip students with shovels, spading forks, and a
wheelbarrow. Have students use their spading forks to loosen the ground
where the pile will be.
3. Divided groups of students into teams of browns, greens, and soil. Assign
one student to be the water. Begin with the Browns layer of stalky material
to allow drainage. Rotate groups, layering browns, greens, and soil
repeatedly until the pile is at least 3 feet tall. Browns layers and greens
layers should be 4 to 6 inches thick; soil or old compost layers should be 1
to 2 inches thick. The waterer should water each layer as it is added to the
pile. Be sure the students maintain the rectangular shape of the pile and
keep the corner square. Like the foundation of the house, each layer
becomes the base for new layers, and if they’re not square, but I’ll will
collapse and the heat needed for decomposition will be lost.
4. Have students measure and record the dimensions of the compost pile.
5. Have students use a compost thermometer to take the piles temperature.
6. Have students draw the comp is taken their journals, recording layers,
measurements, and temperatures.
Discussion Questions: What types of materials decompose? (Materials that have
been alive) Why is it important for these materials to decompose? (They become
nutrients for other plants) Is this a cycle? What are other parts of the cycle (living
plant or animal grows, dies, he composes, provide nutrients for another living
plant or animal to grow) what is a cycle called? (Nutrient cycle) Do you think we
can create a Nutrient cycle in our garden? (Record predictions)
Wrap up/Reflection: what are the ingredients of a compost cake? What will
happen to the organic matter? What will the pile looked like in a few months?
How will the compost be useful after it is decomposed? What materials could you
use at home to make compost?
Sheet Mulching/Lasagna Gardening
Subject: Gardening
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Sheet Mulching
Objective: To prepare a bed for spring gardening
Materials: greens, browns, compost, mulch, newspaper or cardboard
Activities:
1. Collects materials: you can use all types of organic matter to make a
lasagna bed-grass clippings, leaves, clippings from landscaping, mulch
hey, compost, peat moss, collect kitchen vegetable scraps, coffee or tea
grounds, and newspapers as well.
2. Level existing vegetation. Mow the area, leaving clippings in place or
stomp down tall grass and weeds so they lie flat on the ground.
3. Define your bags. Use stakes or garden hose to mark the edges of your bed
or beds.
4. Smother it. Fill a tub with water and moisten 4 to 6 pages of newspaper
advertising. Lay the damn paper over the defined area, overlapping edges
by at least 2 inches. This step smothers the lawn killing the grass without
any digging on your part.
5. Make a lasagna. Spread 2 inch thick layers of organic matter on top of the
newspaper to form the bad. Alternate green layers (grass clippings, kitchen
scraps) with brown layers (hay, peat moss). Keep off the bed as much as
possible while making the later reduced compaction. Spray each layer of
dry material with water until it is as damp as a well drawn out sponge
writing the next layer. If you use materials that contain wheat seeds, such
as hay or horse manure that isn’t fully composted, put them in the lower
layers in your last lasagna to minimize weed growth. Adding layers until
the bread is 12 inches high.
6. If you made lasagna bed in the fall, you now leave it for a few months to
decompose an implant the beds next ring.
Discussion Questions: Is there a space at your home where you could make a new
garden bed? Would this be a good way to create a bed there?
Wrap up/Reflection: There are many different ways to prepare a bed. Sheet
mulching or lasagna gardening is a why that lets time do much of the work for
you. This works best when you do not have to plant the bed immediately.
Seed Balls/Planting
Subject: Gardening
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Seed balls/planting
Objective: Students will learn a new way to plant seeds
Background Information: Seed balls are a method for distributing and storing
seeds by encasing them in a mixture of clay and soil humus. Throughout history
some native North American tribes used forms of seed balls.
Seed balls are simply scattered directly onto the ground, and not planted. They
are useful for seeding dry, thin and compacted soils and for reclaiming derelict
ground. This method takes a fraction of the time or cost of other methods to
cover large areas and is also very applicable in small areas. Seed balls are also
useful when planting small seeds with young children.
The clay and humus ball prevents the seeds from drying out in the sun, being
eaten by predators like mice and birds or from blowing away. When sufficient
rain permeates the clay, the seeds inside will sprout. They are protected within
the ball and are provided with nutrients and beneficial soil microbes from the
compost in the soil mixture. Seed balls are particularly useful in dry and arid
areas where rainfall is highly unpredictable.
Materials: clay soil mixture, frame with fine chicken wire stapled to it, seeds to
sow
Activities: Students will dissect beans and look at the different parts of them.
Then students will make seed balls.
Seed Dissection
Pass pinto beans out to the class
Step by step dissection
1. Peel off the outer skin or seed coat
2. Split the pinto bean in half length wise
3. Identify the following parts: seed coat (outer protection of seed)- wrinkly
and paper thin); embryo (part that will grow into the plant); root system
and shoot system (that will grow into the embryo) food (surrounds the
embryo for use until it is big enough to produce its own food)
4. Have the students make
scientific illustrations of the
seed and its parts in their
science journal
Seed Balls
Roll the mixture into a ball the size a little bigger then a fist. Knead the ball till it
has a nice clay consistency. After reaching that consistency flatten into a pancake.
Sprinkle seeds onto the pancake. Fold pancake and then roll back into a ball.
Flatten back into a pancake and press through the chicken wire. YOu should have
many little seed balls now. Let them dry on the tarp for 24-48 hours then
broadcast or store.
Wrap up/Reflection: Have you ever seen farmers planting seeds in a field? How
do you think they do it? What is the function of the seed coat? The food? The
root? The root system? The shoot system? Can a seed sprout without soil? Why?
Why are the seeds different in size, shape, color, ect? How is the classification
helpful?
Soil Sample
Subject: Gardening
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Soil
Objective: To explore the compositions of soil and determine its quality.
Background Information: Seeds are the basis of all plant life. By
Materials one glass quart jar which lid per group of five, one piece of masking
tape or group, one trial per group, markers, soil samples gathered by student
groups during activity, water, one clay silt and sand chart.
Activities: divide the class into groups of five. In each group give them their
materials.
• Fill each quart jar about two thirds full of water. Help each group select a
different location in the garden take soil samples.
• Instruct each group to add soil to their jar until it is almost all, and put the
lid on the jar.
• Have groups labeled the jar lids with the group's name and soil location.
• Have students shake start vigorously. Let the soil settle. Have each group
observed their jar. What do they see happening? And a short time to have
used stand particles sink to the bottom and the sand layer between is
visible, but the silt and clay particles will take hours to settle.
• Placed the jars in a location where they meet be easily observed. Be sure
no one lists the jars to observe them.
• In 24 hours of soil will be completely later. Have each group described
layers. Which layer is on the bottom? Won with the heaviest, biggest
particles is that the same for the 4-H group? Which layer is but that gift?
Answers may vary. How do you think the biggest layer will effect your soil
for gardening?
• Each group can use the clay, silt, sand chart to determine their soil name.
Then have them mark off the layers on a piece of paper held up to the jar,
as shown on the chart, and compare each won to the chart. If the particle
divided into about 40% stand 40% felt, and 20% clay, the soil is called
loan-a very good kind of soil to have. In the soil fall into other
classifications, you could add sand organic matter to changes its
classification.
Wrap up/Reflection: Were all the soils the same? How do they differ? What are
the three different particles in the soil? Which is the biggest? Which is the
smallest? Keep what you predict will make your soil better for gardening? Why?
Which soil sample will be easiest today? Which will not let water drain?
Identifying Edible Plant Parts
Subject: Garden
Grade(s):3-5
Topic: Plant Parts
Objective: To identify and classify the plant parts we eat
Background Information: In the culinary world, we define fruits as sweet and
vegetables is not sweet. In the world of science, however, vegetables and fruits are
separated differently. A fruit is the part of the plant that develops from the
fertilized ovary (or in essence from the pollinated flower) and has the seeds inside
it. Under this definition, fruits include: pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers,
avocados, tomatoes, eggplant, apples, string beans, and anything else that has
seeped inside. Vegetable it's not a botanical term but a catch all category used to
describe non-fruit plant parts we eat, such as celery, spinach, and carrots.
Materials: Student Journals, accessing to food in the pantry and vegetables in the
garden, white board or chalk board
Discussion Questions: Name some plants that you eat. Do you eat the whole plant
or just parts of it? Lets list the different parts of plants (roots, stem, leaf, flower,
fruit, and seed). Do you think that we eat all these different parts? (Record
predictions.) Can you name the different parts of the plants that we listed that
you can eat? (List the part names next to each plant)
Activities:
Break the group up into smaller groups. Assign each group stems, leaves, flowers,
fruit, and seed. (You may want to give each group an easy and a hard plant part
so they can be more successful) Let them know that they are going to be walking
around the garden looking for their edible plant part. They should try to find as
many plants with this edible plant part as possible. Tell them they will show the
group the plant parts that they have found. Call the group back together (you can
use their animal call) and have them walk each other around showing their plant
parts. If they cannot label see if someone in the group can.
Wrap up/Reflection: Were there any new plants that you were surprised at the
part you were eating. What is your favorite vegetable? Which part of the plant is
it? What is your favorite root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit, and seed?
Animals Games
Subject: Animals
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Animals Games
Objective: Students will learn important traits and behaviors by imitating
animals.
Background Information: Animals have different adaptations that help them to
survive. Some use their keen sense of smell while others rely on their quiet steps.
For some animals working together helps there survival, and others use their
speed to help them.
Materials: Blind folds, forest area
Activities:
Sleeping Miser
Choose one person to be the Sleeping Miser. The miser wears a blindfold and sits
on the ground, guarding an object of treasure in front of him/her (this can be
anything you want such as a feather, a conker, a stick, a hat).
Make sure that the miser sits in an area of ground where walkers will make some
noise as they approach (like gravel or crunchy leaves). Everyone else is a stalker.
The stalkers make a ring around the miser, about 20 feet away. They have to try
to creep up on the miser and ‘steal’ the treasure by touching it. BUT if the miser
hears them approaching and he points in their direction they have go back to
where they started again.
When a player has successfully touched the treasure, send them to wait quietly at
the edge and let the others finish their game. The first person to touch the
treasure will become the miser in the next game, and so on.
Eagle Eye
Discuss how eagles have very keen vision and can spot their prey while perched in
their nest on a tall cliff.
Designate a centralized "Eagle's Nest" and choose one student to be the Eagle.
The Eagle closes his eyes and counts to sixty while the rest of the players hide in
the playing area. Everyone must be able to keep at least one eye on the Eagle at
all times while hiding.
At the count of sixty, the Eagle opens his eyes and looks (and listens) for the other
players without ever leaving the nest. When he spots someone, he describes the
clothing or hair color of that person until it is obvious which player has been
found. That person must come and sit quietly near the nest so that the Eagle can
continue looking.
If the Eagle is unable to find everyone, have him close his eyes and count to 20
while all the players move at least 5 steps closer to the nest. Continue in this
manner until all participants have been spotted but one, who then becomes the
new Eagle.
Oh Deer
Break the group up into 2 groups. Have each group stand facing one another. One
line is the deer, and the second line is the resources. There are three signs both
the deer and resources can make. Hand on mouth symbolizing water, hand on
stomach symbolizing food, hands above heads like a house symbolizing shelter.
The deer and resources stand back to back about 6 feet apart. On the count of
three all deer and resources face each other and show a sign. The deer must find a
resource that matches their own sign. If they are unable to find a resource that
matches their sign they go to the resource side. If the deer is able to find a
resource then the resource goes to the deer side.
Bear, Mosquito, Salmon
Instead of rock-paper-scissors, this game uses mosquito-salmon- bear.
A mosquito symbol is a finger pointing from the nose.
The salmon symbol is shown by pressing hands together in front of the body and
moving the hands back and forth like a fish swimming in water.
A bear symbol is both hands in the air, fingers out like claws (and a roar for good
measure).
Salmon eat mosquitoes, bear eat salmon, and mosquitoes bite bear.
Clearly mark two outer boundary lines and establish a safe zone for each team.
Divide the group into two teams. Each team is given time to decide which they
will represent, mosquito, salmon, or bear. When both sides are ready, they line
up shoulder to shoulder, in the middle or the boundary lines, with their backs to
the other team.
On the count of three, both teams turn around and throw their symbol. If a
team’s symbol beats the other team’s symbol, they chase them back across their
own boundary to their safe zone. If a team loses, they must get across their own
boundary to their safe zone without being caught. If a team member is caught
before reaching the safe zone, they become part of the other team. Play continues
until all players are on one team.
Discussion Questions: What hiding spots did you have that made you difficult to
find? What was it about that hiding spot that camouflaged you?
In Oh Deer what happened when there were not enough resources? How do you
think that is similar in real life.?
Squirrel Game
Two students are chosen to be the owl (it). The other students are either tree
squirrels or ground squirrels. Each tree squirrel must find a tree to be its home
base. The ground squirrels use a circle made out of rope for their home base. The
object is to collect as many pinecones as possible while not getting tagged (eaten)
by the owl. If you leave base you may get tagged, and other squirrels may find you
store of pinecones and steal it. If you are on base no one may tag you or steal your
pinecones. (Ground squirrels are working together and tree squirrels work
independently).
Wrap up/Reflection: Animal use different adaptations to help them survive in
different environments. What were some of the adaptations that were used
during these games? What adaptations do humans have to survive in their
environment? What do we need to survive in the woods? How about in the
classroom?
Tracking
Subject: Animals
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Tracking
Objective: Recognize clues that animals leave behind
Background Information: One way to learn about how animals behave is to listen
to what the birds are saying. Birds have 5 different sounds and each one tells a
different story.
Discussion Questions: What are some ways that we can learn what animals do?
Do we need to see the animal to know what it is up to? What animals do you
think live around here?
Materials: Tracking books, tracking stick, spot with tracks, pointed stick for drag
stick drag game
Activities: Each pair of student will be given a tracking book, they will also have a
copy of their student journal with them. When finding a track have students
explore the track and ask the following questions.
The six arts of tracking
1. Who? Who made the track? Look at size, weight, shady, number goes,
claw marks, tail drags? Can you identify the species? What else can you
tell about individual animal?
2. What? What attracts indicate about behavior habits? What direction did
they come from? What direction are they going? What gait is the animal
in? It's the awkward turn? What was it doing?
3. When? Look for evidence of the effects of the efforts of the sun, moisture,
and wind? When did it leave this track? When is it most active? When
does it sleep? When does it mate? When does it have babies?
4. Where? Follow the tracks to find out about home and habitat. Where
does it live, feed, and sleep? Where are its source for food and water?
During different seasons, where does it raise its young? Where is it right
now?
5. Why? Out of all the places it could have been, why was it here? Why does
it want to be here? Ask why about the who, what, where, and when
questions.
6. How? Imitate the way the animal moves. How does it move its body?
How does it feel to be the animal? How big, little, or muscular is it? How
does it perceive its world-sight? Smell? Hearing? Touch? Radar? A
combination? Pretend to be the animal and make the track pattern in the
same way it did.
Intro to stick drag game: human hunters long ago as a special type of hunting,
call persistence hunting. Scientists say this represents one of the oldest forms of
hunting, but it's also one of the riskiest. If someone has not trained well enough,
they could die. Basically, on a very hot day, the hunter chases after an animal for
hours until it overheats and collapses. The hunter must continue to run and track
the animal reading the tracks as he runs along. What do you think the hunter can
read from the tracks? What things might we try to read from the tracks?
Stick drag game: Students can play stick drag game. I will have a two-minute
head start. You will all close your eyes and ears during this two minutes and I
take off running. As I run I will drag a stick behind me on the ground. Make sure
to have a sharp stick and use enough pressure to leave a clear track. Also make
sure the stick is sturdy so it doesn’t break.
Crow call to let participants know that they can start to chase. Continue running
even after they start tracking you. You can make it challenging by going over
harder rocks or circling around or double backing. You go back and hide and
spook them or run till you collapse and let them find you.
Wrap up/Reflection: Was it difficult to stay on the trail. Could you ever tell what
the animals were thinking by looking at its tracks? If you were going to hunt an
animal, what types of things would you want to know about it?
Nutrition
Subject: Kitchen
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Processed food
Objective: To learn the nutritional value of unprocessed foods compared to
processed foods
Materials: Wheat berries, whole grain flour, white flour, bike grinder, student
journals, pencils
Introduce the following definitions
Unprocessed foods-fresh or raw foods that do not undergo any changes from
their animal or plant sources when eaten other than the outer covering being
removed. Examples: raw fruits, vegetables, nuts. Hold up the wheat berry as an
example.
Minimally processed foods-raw foods that are slightly changed from the original
form into one that is more usable or available. Examples: always read, natural
peanut butter, boiled eggs, eight days. But you retain most of their nutrients that
can spoil quickly. Hold up the whole-wheat flour as an example.
Highly processed foods -due to undergo considerable change from their original
form. These things are generally quickly prepared and easily available but many
lose nutrients in processing and can often contain chemical additives. Examples:
packages, certainly, arts, white bread. Hold up the white flour as an example.
Note: some processed foods containing added nutrients such as vitamins and
minerals.
Activities:
Explained that wheat is used around the world in basic foods such as breads,
cereals, and spaghetti. Depending on how it is processed or milled into flour, it
may or may not lose many of its nutrients.
Have students draw a whole wheat berry (the seed of the
plant) and to label its parts.
Germ: the embryo, which can sprout into a new plant if
fertilized by pollen. It contains B vitamins, proteins, minerals,
and healthy fats.
Brand: the seed coat, designed to protect the rest of the kernel from pests,
disease, light, and water. It is full of fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, all important
for good health.
Endosperm: the large starchy interior. It provides the food for the embryo, but
contains the least nutrients for humans.
Whole-wheat flour has all parts of the wheat berry in it. White flour has only the
endosperm in it. Removing the bran and germ takes away about 25% of the
protein, along with at least 17 key nutrients. Manufacturers may add back some
vitamins and minerals, but the whole-grains provide more protein, fiber, and
many important vitamins and minerals. Even when the white flour is enriched by
adding nutrients, only four or five of the 20 nutrients removed in the process are
replaced.
Use a hand grinder/bike grinder to mill wheat berries into whole-wheat flour. 7
cups of berries will produce 10 cups of flour. Pass it through the grinder twice so
that it is fine enough. Use the whole-wheat flour to bake the quiche pie crust.
Discussion Questions: Ask students about foods they like. Have them classify it
into unprocessed foods, minimally processed foods, and highly processed foods.
Wrap up/Reflection: Why is whole-wheat flour better for you then white flour?
Give an example of a food in its natural form, in a minimally processed form, and
in a highly processed form. List the advantage and disadvantage for the three
types of food. Why is there so many highly processed foods used in our society?
Be sure to have students clean up after themselves before moving on to the next
station.
Processing Foods
Subject: Kitchen
Grade(s):2-8
Topic: Processing Food
Objective: To show students what is involved in making the food that they eat
Background Information: Much of the food we eat we do not eat in its whole
form.
Butter
Materials: Heavy whipping cream, small jars with lids for each student, bread or
crackers.
Activities: Give each student or each pair of students a jar with heavy whipping
cream in it. Let them shave the jar until they have changed the consistency into
butter. Add salt and let students taste with crackers or bread.
Sunflower Oil
Materials: oil press, 5x5 inches piece of thin remnant for each oil press, string,
coffee grinder, sunflower seeds.
Activity: Give each pair of students a press with a remnant, string, tea light
bottom, and ground sunflower seeds. Have the students put their sunflower seeds
in the remnant of cloth and tie the string as tight and close to the sunflower seeds
as they can. You should have a tightly packed pouch. Put the pouch in the tea
light bottom and put the cylindrical dowel on top of it. Slide these pieces into the
press and turn the right wing nut one rotation and then the left wing nut one
rotation. Continue doing this till you can’t any more. Unscrew and then untie the
bundle of sunflower seeds. As you continue this process you will see a very slight
amount of oil come out on the cloth and the cylinder. Discuss how much energy it
takes to make oil.
Apple Cider
Materials: Apple press, apples, clean jars for drinking, hose for cleaning
Activity: If possible have students collect apples from trees. A five gallon bucket
of apples will make a gallon of cider. Before beginning be sure to let students
know about using the press safely. Point out where it is sharp and where not to
put your hands. Have students take turns using the press. Give each student
some apple cider to try.
Activities: Have students rotate through each station. Discuss where this process
begins and if possible collect or see it in its natural raw state.
Wrap up/Reflection: How do you think foods that you eat are processed?
Table of Contents
Click on the title to see the lesson
Ecosystems
Seed Saving
Cross Section of a Tree
Trees in Trouble
Trees as Habitat
Adopt a Tree
Fallen Log
Soil Sample
Super Soil
Drawing Plants
Using a Key
Animal Games
Tracking
Mini Watershed
Stream/Pond Survey
Watershed Model
Water Pollution
Plenty of Plenty- Biodiversity
Food Chain
Ecosystems Investigation
Succession
Weather Instruments
Ecosystems
THROUGHLINES
Ecosystems: Students will understand that an ecosystem is a complex set of relationships among the living resources, habitats, and
residents of an area. It includes plants, trees, animals, fish, birds, microorganisms, water, soil, and people.
Ecosystems vary greatly in size and the elements that make them up, but each is a functioning unit of nature. Everything that lives in an
ecosystem is dependent on the other species and elements that are also part of that ecological community. If one part of an ecosystem
is damaged or disappears, it has an impact on everything on everything else. When an ecosystem is healthy it can be said to be
sustainable.
GENERATIVE TOPICS
Ecosystems: Students will learn about the parts of an ecosystem and their relationship to one another. This includes the soil,
atmosphere, the effects of heat and light from the sun, water, and living organisms. This will allow students to make informed and
responsible choices while caring for the earth.
UNIT LEVEL UNDERSTANDING GOALS
PERFORMANCES OF UNDERSTANDING
1. Soil: Students will learn the composition
of soil, and how the health of soil affects the
ecosystem.
1. Soil: Students will identify the different types of soils. They will also experiment with
plants to determine if the health of a plant is affected by soil.
2. Water: Students will investigate how
water shapes land, provides for life, and
interacts within an ecosystem.
2. Water: Students will move water through landscapes to discover how water
contributes to the lay of the land and the living organisms that depend upon it. Students
will also test water and make hypothesis of how the health of the water may affect
plants, animals, and microorganisms.
3. Living Organisms: Students will explore
relationships of living organisms and
understand their part in the ecosystem.
They will explore the parts that compose
these organisms and their habitats.
3. Living Organisms: Students will be able to identify plants and understand their part
in the food chain as habitat, and in utilitarian uses such as medicine and tools. Students
will also be able to identify animals. They will study animal behavior, animal signs,
habitat, and how they interact with their environment. Students will use microscopes to
observe and identify microorganisms
4. Atmosphere: Students will learn how
pollution and greenhouse gases alter the
environment and the effects of weather on
the ecosystem.
4. Atmosphere: Students will identify air pollution and generate ways to improve air
quality both locally and globally. Students will also be able to explain what the
greenhouse effect is, how our actions contribute to it, and what we can do to minimize
the problem. Students will measure weather using different tools including a barometer,
hygrometer, thermometer, rain gage, and wind vain. They will discuss how each plays a
part in affecting the ecosystem.
Aprovecho KIDS Program Unit Overview
For more information contact: Jeremy Roth | [email protected] | 541.946.3194
Seed Saving
Subject: Trees
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Seed Saving
Objective: Students will learn the importance of seeds, and how they are able to
continue
Background Information: Seeds are the basis of all plant life. The ability to travel
to new destinations allows species to continue to grow and thrive.
Materials: Piece of blanket
Seeds (bean, pumpkin, corn, or pea)
Box with construction paper, tape, glue, rubber bands, toothpicks, scissors,
pencils, plastic bags, cotton, feathers, tacks, and wire
Activities:
Ask students what seeds are and what they do. Ask for examples. Tell students
they're going to learn more about seeds by gathering and sorting them. Have
students gather seeds. They may pick them up off the ground, dragging part of a
blanket across an area.
Find an area where the class can work. Once you find that area ask the following
questions:
What are seeds?
A seed is a plant egg. It contains a baby plant and a supplies the baby plant food
wrapped in a protective covering.
Where do seeds to come from?
The plants ovaries, or female part, is located in its flowers or cones
Is there a reason for so many different kinds of seeds?
Every type of plant has a special type of seat designed for the plant's particular
habitat and method of distribution.
Divide the class into small groups. Give each group seeds to be adapted. Ask each
group to adapt their seat to float on water for at least five minutes; be thrown at
least 2 feet away from the parent plant; attractive bird or animal; hitchhike on an
animal or person for 20 feet; or fly at least 3 feet. When dispersal inventions are
complete, have students demonstrate how they work.
Wrap up/Reflection: What is the intent of dispersal mechanisms? What might
happen if maple seeds fell straight to the ground and grew right under the parent
Maple?
Cross Section of a Tree
Subject: Trees
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Parts of a tree
Objectives: Students will identify heartwood, sapwood, and a tree’s annual rights,
infer from a tree’s rings what damage or stress might have occurred in its life.
And made a timeline of human history that coincides with a tree’s rings.
Background Information: By counting a tree’s growth rings, you can tell its age.
Every growth season, a tree adds a new layer of wood it its trunk. Each ring has
two parts; a wide, light part (early wood) and a narrow, dark part (late wood).
The early wood grows during the wet, spring growing season. During the
transition from the drier summer to fall and winter, growth slows and the late
wood forms. The rings provide clues about the climate, or weather, of the area
over time and evidence of disturbance to and around the tree, such as fires and
floods.
The shape and width of the annual rings often differ from year to year because of
varying annual growth conditions. During a moist growing season, a tree in a
temperate region may produce a particular wide ring. During a drought, a colderthan-average winter, or an unseasonable frost, a tree will produce a particularly
narrow ring. In science called dendrochronology (which literally means “the
study of tree time”), scientists have found that they can learn about past climates
by studying the ring patterns of very old trees.
May factors besides weather can affect a tree’s growth. Accordingly, tree rings
reflect a tree’s response to such stressors as root damage, disease, and
competition from other plants. Sometimes a disturbance will occur after the
growth season, producing a narrow or misshapen right in the following year. (See
diagram, page 291.) To study a tree’s growth rings without harming the trees,
scientists use a technique called coring. By drilling into the center of a tree trunk
with a hallow instrument called an increment borer, they can remove a long,
narrow cylinder of wood (called a core sample). The growth rings of the tree
appear as lines on the core sample.
Materials: Tree cookies (cross-section slices of tree trunks or limbs), hand lenses
Activities:
Introduce the parts of a tree as you go over the tree cookie. Look at the tree cookies.
Have students help identify these part of a tree: bark, phloem, cambium, xylem,
heartwood. You can also identify the other parts of a tree. Have a look at a standing or
newly dead tree while you talk about the different parts. As you identify them, talk about
the functions of each part.
Heartwood makes up most of the trunk and supports the tree; giving it it’s shape
and strength. It is made up of dead xylem cells. After a few years the sapwood in
most trees gets filled in with
resin like material and slowly
changes into heartwood. It is
darker in color than sapwood.
It acts as the central “plumbing
system” in the tree, forming a
network of tubes that carry
water and minerals up from
the roots to the leaves, and
food (sugar) from the leaves
down to the branches, trunk
and roots. A tree that has had
its heartwood hollowed out by
insects or disease may bend
and break during high winds.
The roots are underground branches that take up water, minerals, and nutrients
from the soil. They also help to anchor the tree in place by firmly holding onto the
soil. Large taproots and lateral roots branch into smaller and smaller roots. An
average tree has millions of these small rootlets, each covered with thousands of
fine root hairs. The root hairs make it easier to soak up water and dissolved
minerals from the soil, accounting for about 95% of all that the tree absorbs.
Most of the rootlets lie very close to the surface of the ground where most of the
water and nutrients are located.
The xylem is made up of the youngest layers of wood and transports water,
nutrients, and minerals from the roots to all parts of the tree. The xylem also
makes up the bulk of the trunk of the tree. Dead xylem becomes heartwood.
Living xylem is also called sapwood.
The cambium is a single layer of cells that produce new xylem and phloem cells.
You would need a microscope to see it well. The cambium is what makes the
trunk, branches, and roots grow thicker.
The phloem is a thin layer that acts as a food supply line transporting sap (water
containing dissolved sugars and nutrients) made in the leaves to all parts of the
tree, including the roots. It also transports sap up from winter storage in the
roots to the buds in the spring so new growth can occur. (example: the sap of
sugar maples rises from the roots and is tapped by people to make maple syrup).
Dead phloem becomes part of the outer bark. Living phloem is also called inner
bark. If you were to cut a band around the truck, through the bark and phloem,
the tree would probably die. That’s because the phloem would be severed and
food could no longer flow to the lower trunk and roots.
The bark protects the tree from invading diseases and insects. Some trees have
very thick bark that helps prevent damage from fires. Others have bad-tasting
chemicals in their bark that discourages hungry insects. And some bark is
covered with spines or thorns that keep browsing mammals away. Dead phloem
cells become bark.
Leaves-From skinny pine needles to broad palm leaves they all serve the same
purpose – to make food for the tree. They use carbon dioxide from the air, water
from the roots, and energy from sunlight to make glucose. This process of
photosynthesis can only take place in the presence of chlorophyll – the green
pigment found in all green plants. Chlorophyll absorbs the sunlight needed.
During photosynthesis leaves release oxygen.
CO2 + H2O + sun energy = glucose – O2
Explain how to count the rings to find the age of the tree (Count only the light OR only
the dark rings). As a class, count the numbers of growth rings. Try to find indications of
past disturbances or events in the life of the tree, such as fire, insect damage, drought, or
the loss of a branch.
Pass out the tree cookies. Have students estimate how old the tree was when the tree
cookie was cut. Ask the students how they counted and if they think they are accurate.
When students have discovered how old the tree is ask if there is anything else they can
guess about the trees life. Hand out hand lenses and have students look for small holes in
the sapwood and heartwood of the tree cookie. These tiny channels are the xylem,
through which water travels up and down the trunk and branches of the tree.
Discussion Questions: What can tree cookies tell us about a tree? What clues will
a tree cookie give us about the habitat that it lived in.
Wrap up/Reflection:
Listen to this story, what would this tree cookie show us?
Once upon a time, a tree grew in the forest. In its first 10 years it grew slowly because
the large trees over head blocked the sunlight. In its 11th year, the large tree next to it
blew down in a storm. This allowed sunlight to reach the little tree, and for the next 10
years it grew rapidly. In its 21st and 22nd years there was a severe drought, and the tree
could not get enough water. This stress caused the tree to grow very slowly for three
years. In its 25th year, favorable conditions returned and the tree grew normally for 15
years. In its 40th year, wildfire raged through the forest. The tree’s thick bark enabled it
to survive, but it was deeply scarred. It grew slowly for several years after that. Year 45
was particularly bad. Bark beetles go under its skin, fungus entered its body through
woodpeckers’ holes, and caterpillars ate most of its leaves. For five years the tree hardly
grew at all and became very weak. In its 50th year, it blew down in a storm. A science
teacher found the fallen tree and used a chain saw to make a big tree cookie from the
trunk.
Trees in Trouble
Subject: Trees
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Health of a tree
Objectives: Students will cite factors that can cause trees to become unhealthy trees,
describe symptoms of unhealthy trees, compare environmental conditions that affect both
human health and plant health, and identify people or agencies that care for trees and
forests.
Background Information:
Like humans, trees can become weak and unhealthy, suffer injury, and die. People have
learned to read the symptoms of unhealthy trees to help them. In this activity, students
will examine trees for signs of damage or port health.
Trees require some of the same things people and other animals need to grown and thrive.
For example, they need plenty of water, food, and room to grow. If these requirements
are not met, a tree may grow slowly or die. The growth rings on a cross section of a tree
reveal whether the tree’s requirements have been met over the years, and they provide a
record of a tree’s health over a lifetime.
Materials: Copies of student pages 296-298, measuring tape or rulers
Activities:
As a group, discuss what causes a person to get sick or become unhealthy. Responses
might include poor nutrition; unclean water’ a lack of food or water’ toxic substances like
smoke or drugs, disease, and physical injury. Students should also think of ways to
prevent or combat these things, like proper diet, regular exercise, and safe behavior. With
older students, ask them to name several human diseases or illnesses and their causes,
symptoms, and cures.
Compare elements that keep humans healthy with those that keep trees healthy.
Tell students that they will become “tree-tectives” (tree detectives) and search their
neighborhood for healthy and unhealthy trees.
Students should use the “tree-tective Trouble Guide” and “Reading Leaf Symptoms”
student pages to identify symptoms of unhealthy trees. They should take additional notes
and made sketches of their findings such as broken branches’ unusual leaf colors or
shapes’ holes’ trunks damaged from scratches, carvings, or graffiti’ or uprooted, fallen
trees that still appear to be alive. Take measuring tapes or rulers to record the size of
wounds and diameters of trees that have been affected. As an option, students can use a
camera to photograph damaged trees.
Have students hypothesize about what caused the damage. Note that some problems may
be more common in certain regions than in others. Older students can read and discuss
the article “trees May Tell Each Other of Attacks,” on page 298. This article describes
research that seems to indicate that trees can send alarm signals to each other about
certain unhealthy factors in the environment.
After your field trip, combine all the information the class collected and make a “tree
Damage Report.” Then find the people or agency in your area that cares for unhealthy
trees (many city, county, or state forestry and park agencies have urban foresters). Send a
copy of your report to the agency (or person) in charge of trees in your area. Follow up a
couple of weeks later to find out if the agency is going to take action. Ask if you can be
informed of any planned tree work so that your class can be at the location to observe.
You can also visit a garden center, nursery, or tree-trimming company in your area to
find out what they do to keep trees healthy.
Worksheet 1
READING LEAF SYMPTOMS
Trees cannot tell us when they are sick. Instead, we must interpret the signals tress send
out to determine what and how serious their health problems are.
The leaves usually communicate the first symptoms of disease, insect or physical
damage, so by learning leaf-reading, you can diagnose your tree’s conditions. Here are
some common leaf symptoms and their probable cause.
1. Ragged leaves with holes in them:
Suspect insect feeding, especially if it’s summer and the leaves are not showing
damage earlier. But if it’s springtime, and the leaves never developed properly,
chances are the damage is due to low temperatures.
2. Leaves suddenly turn brown or black:
If a frost occurred a day or two earlier, that’s probably the cause. Sudden high
temperatures in springtime also cause problems. If no temperature extremes are
noted, suspect either a leaf or stem disease. If the symptoms show up on a branch
or two at a time, trunk or branch invasion or unbury is probably the cause.
3. Spots or bumps on the leaves:
Insects and mites cause most leaf swellings. Leaf spots are usually the result of
disease or inspect activity. Chemicals, such as sulfur dioxide from nearby coalburning plants, or improperly applied fertilizer or pesticides, can cause leaf
blotches, too.
4. Margins of leaves turn brown:
Moisture deficiencies or high temperature stresses are usually to blame.
Sometimes root or trunk damage, including injury from road salt, can be involved.
5. Sudden lead drop:
This may or may not be serious. If inner leaves are dropping during a dry spell, or
if a few leaves fall from throughout the tree, it shouldn’t be serious. Drought or
squirrels may be to blame. But if leaves are dropping heavily from one branch and
then another, there is a problem somewhere with the water-conducting system of
the tree – probably disease, possibly insect borers.
6. Light green or yellow leaves:
Probably a “micronutrient” disorder, such as iron or manganese deficiency.
Curiously, trees rarely show deficiencies of the major plant nutrients such as
nitrogen or potassium.
7. Leaves twisted or malformed:
The most common cause for this is stray herbicide drift, but insects, occasionally
a disease, and sometimes low temperature injury can all produce similarappearing symptoms.
8. Leaves turn fall-colored prematurely:
A serious symptom suggesting trunk or root damage of some kind.
Trees can withstand a certain amount of abuse to the leaves, but leaf injury
becomes serious when: heavy losses occur two or more years in a row, early
season loss causes a new flush of leaves, the tree is marginally hardy to the area,
or the tree is under some form of stress, such as recent transplanting. Your county
extension agency has a number of publications to help in diagnosis and treatment
of tree problems, or you may need to call an arborist who is competent in tree
health diagnosis.
Trees can withstand a certain amount of abuse to the leaves, but leaf injury becomes
serious when: heavy losses occur two or more years in a row, early season loss causes a
new flush of leaves, the tree is marginally hardy to the area, or the tree is under some
form of stress, such as recent transplanting. Your county extension agency has a number
of publications to help in diagnosis and treatment of tree problems, or you may need to
call an arborist who is competent in tree health diagnosis.
Wrap up/Reflection:
TREES MAY TELL EACH OTHER OF ATTACKS
Trees may warn each other of attacks by insects or disease by emitting a special
chemical from their pest-ravaged leaves, according to preliminary evidence
gathered by two researchers.
The two University of Washington researchers say their findings, if confirmed,
could significantly change the understanding of trees’ behavior, particularly in
light of recent discoveries about how trees combat insect and disease.
Changes in the chemical composition of leaves by trees to ward off insects or
disease were discovered in sugar maples and oaks by a group of New Hampshire
researchers last year.
The nutritional content of Sitka willow leaves also changed in trees that had
suffered damage by western tent caterpillars and fall webworms, according to a
report by the two Washington researchers, David F. Rhoades and Gordon H.
Orians. To their surprise, leaf quality also declined in undamaged trees up to 200
feet away, they said.
“This effect may be due to a defensive response in unattacked trees stimulate by
volatile compounds emitted from attacked trees,” the researchers said in a report
to the National Science Foundation.
Orians said similar reactions have been seen in red alder trees as well, “but no as
strong as with the willow.”
“Presumably, this is not a reaction unique to one or a few species, but we have
not yet had the opportunity to examine others,” he said.
With a new science foundation research grant, the two scientists will place Sitka
willows in closed chambers in a attempt to isolate any chemicals that influence
the trees’ behavior.
From the Associated Press, Washington
Trees as Habitat
Subject: Trees
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Habitat
Objectives: students will take story of plants and animals that live on, and, and
around trees; identify ways whose animals and plants depend on trees for
survival and, in turn, influence the trees. Investigate how buildings provide
habitat for plants, animals, and people.
Background Information: A habitat is the place where a plant or animal gets all
the things it needs to survive, such as food, water, shelter, and space for having
and raising offspring. A habitat may be 100 mi.² of grassland for a lion or a single
plant for an insect. A tree may serve as part of an organism habitat, or may be an
organisms the entire habitat. For example, an oak tree may provide food for
squirrels and nests for crows. But lichen and moss get everything they need from
growing right on the tree.
Materials: paper and pencil, or, you guys come in lenses, bug boxes
Activities:
Showed the students and ensuring the tree, and asked them to name some plants
and animals that might depend on the tree.
Tell the students that they are going to study a treat to find out which plants and
animals depend on it or use it in some way. Explain that they should try to
determine which animals, including humans, only visit the tree, in which plants
are and will actually live on it or end. They should watch for clues and signs such
as Jude needs, goals and the bar, or carved initials. They should be sure to record
where I’m intrigued they find either living things or signs of life.
Pass a paper, pencils, clipboards, and analyzes. Take the students outside and
have them examine the tree. Students can work individually or in teams.
Encourage them to drop insurance of all the plants and animals they find,
especially those they cannot identify.
Have students organize there collected information. You might suggest
organizing the data by plants, insects, or birds; around the treaty organisms
found: roots, trauma, or these. By whether it lives on the cheaper just visits, or by
any other means. Have students identify how each plant and animal be observed
benefits from the tree, and how it affects the tree.
Wrap up/Reflection:What did you find on the tree's trunk? What did you see in
the tree's branches? How might the treaty affected by the plants and animals that
live on it? Which of these organisms seem to harm the tree? Why do you think
so? Do any of the plants and animals you observed seem to benefit the tree? In
what ways?
Adopt a Tree
Subject: Trees
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Tree Details
Objectives: students will describe the chosen tree using personal observation and
investigation, and organize information about the tree. Students will identify
relationships between their tree and other organisms.
Background Information:
Materials: Paper, pencils, colored pencils, adopted tree worksheet
Activities:
Ask students to name something that is their very own or special to them in some
way. For example, someone might mention a pet. Someone else might mention a
president proceeds from a relative or close friend, and so on.
Explain that each person will choose his or her very own special tree to adopt.
How they select their trees up to them. No matter which tree they pick, students
should be able to say why they choose it.
Provide each student with the following questions and paper to write on. Explain
that students should record observations and answer questions about their trees.
Take student outside and let each student choose his or her tree. Have students
read the answers these questions:
1. Where is your tree? Draw a map to show its location.
2. Is your tree alive? How can you tell? Is it healthy? In what ways are evil
helping or hurting it?
3. Draw a picture of your tree from various perspectives: from a distance,
from a high place, or provided under neat looking up.
4. Write a paragraph or home describing your tree.
5. Draw a picture of a leaf from your tree. How does the lease not? How does
it feel?
6. Do you know what kind of tree you adopted? Does your tree have any
fruits, nuts, received that help identify it? Music Field guide to look up
your tree.
7. Make a rubbing of your trees bark. How does the bark feel? How does it
smell?
8. Our any animals on or near your tree? Don’t forget to look for in sex,
spiders, and other small animals.
9. Are there any signs that animals have used your tree in the past? Look for
holes, nests, trails, and other animal signs. How do those animals depend
on your tree? Do they harm it?
Wrap up/Reflection: What did you notice about your tree? What was special
about it? Was there anything that surprised you?
Fallen Log
Subject: Forest Floor
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Decomposers
Objectives: students will identify some of the organisms that live in, on
commenting on the phone logs and explain how those organisms depend on the
deadwood for survival. Students will describe the process of decomposition.
Background Information: Throughout their lives, trees collect nutrients from the
environment and use them to build new bark, wood, branches, leaves, and so on.
When a tree dies, its nutrients are recycled back into the environment through
decomposition. Animals, such as bark beetles, move into trees and start the
process of decomposition even before a tree has died. These creatures may hasten
the death of the tree. Wood eating insects, as well as fungi and bacteria, invade a
dead or dying tree, paving the way for other invaders. Here's a look at some of the
common things your students may find in, on, and, and around deadwood.
things growing on deadwood.
Things that grow on dead wood. Any deadwood is sure to have fungi, moss,
lichens, and other plants growing on it. Wildflower, tree, and other plant seeds
that land on a soft, decomposed log may also sprout and grow. Plants and fungi
absorb nutrients from the decaying wood, and as they grow, they penetrate the
wood and break it apart. Lichens, as they grow, release a weak acid that breaks
down the wood. Moss keeps the log moist, making it a suitable place for other
plants and animals to it.
Wood Munchers
Termites, sowbugs, carpenter ants, and wood roaches are all examples of
creatures that eat or tunnel through wood. Many of those animals also eat
other
kinds of vegetable matter, such as dead leaves. As all of therrfchew their way
through the wood, they help break down the log. Bark beetles eat through the
living Issue just under the tree's bark. evidence of their work is easy to find on
most dead logs. The tunnels of those tiny insects create intricate patterns in the
wood underneath the bark.
Predators on the prowl
some animals, such as centipedes and spiders, feet on the sound bugs, millipedes,
and other scavengers that feed on decaying logs. The predators, and then
scavengers in turn, become meals for birds, skunks, and other animals that share
into a log to find food.
Hideout and nurseries
Many creatures depend on decaying logs as places to hide from predators and
away from the underside of any rocks and logs they turn over rated finally remind
the students to take care not to harm any plants or animals, and silly things
exactly the way the common.
Allow students ample time to examine their data.
Once the students are back inside, they should hold a conference to discuss the
Earth expedition. Give each team time to prepare the information that want to
present.
Have students compare and contrast different species that they have found in the
different microclimates.
Wrap up/Reflection: Were you surprised by anything that you found? Were there
similar creatures in different test sites?
Soil Sample
Subject: Forest Floor
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Soil
Objective: To explore the compositions of soil and determine its quality.
Background Information: Seeds are the basis of all plant life. By
Materials one glass quart jar which lid per group of five, one piece of masking
tape or group, one trial per group, markers, soil samples gathered by student
groups during activity, water, one clay silt and sand chart.
Activities: divide the class into groups of five. In each group give them their
materials.
• Fill each quart jar about two thirds full of water. Help each group select a
different location in the garden take soil samples.
• Instruct each group to add soil to their jar until it is almost all, and put the
lid on the jar.
• Have groups labeled the jar lids with the group's name and soil location.
• Have students shake start vigorously. Let the soil settle. Have each group
observed their jar. What do they see happening? And a short time to have
used stand particles sink to the bottom and the sand layer between is
visible, but the silt and clay particles will take hours to settle.
• Placed the jars in a location where they meet be easily observed. Be sure
no one lists the jars to observe them.
• In 24 hours of soil will be completely later. Have each group described
layers. Which layer is on the bottom? Won with the heaviest, biggest
particles is that the same for the 4-H group? Which layer is but that gift?
Answers may vary. How do you think the biggest layer will effect your soil
for gardening?
• Each group can use the clay, silt, sand chart to determine their soil name.
Then have them mark off the layers on a piece of paper held up to the jar,
as shown on the chart, and compare each won to the chart. If the particle
divided into about 40% stand 40% felt, and 20% clay, the soil is called
loan-a very good kind of soil to have. In the soil fall into other
classifications, you could add sand organic matter to changes its
classification.
Wrap up/Reflection: Were all the soils the same? How do they differ? What are
the three different particles in the soil? Which is the biggest? Which is the
smallest? Keep what you predict will make your soil better for gardening? Why?
Which soil sample will be easiest today? Which will not let water drain?
Super Soil
Subject: Forest Floor
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Soil
Objectives: Discover what characteristics of soil make the soil fertile.
Background Information: Soil mixture is more than just dirt. Soil mixture up
water, air, minerals, organic matter, and living organisms. In proper balance,
these ingredients form a healthy soil that fosters plant growth.
organic matter consists of plant and animal material that bacteria are breaking
into small parts. This process is called the composition or decay.Organic material
is most often found in the top few centimeters of soil. Soils with considerable
organic content are brown and black, and have a loose, crumbly consistency.Such
soils easily absorb and retain air and water and are rich in minerals necessary for
plant growth. Organic material also provides an excellent environment for
burrowing organisms, which help keep the soil loose. At the organic matter
decomposes, it makes additional nutrients available to plants.
A deficiency of organic Matter in soil is a common problem and agriculture fields
and backyard gardens. Farmers often plow under a cover crop of ryegrass or
alfalfa into the soil to increase the sales organic content. Home gardeners often
that organic supplements to garden soil before planting vegetables and flowers.
The alum-profile test separates the soil into its different components(Organic
matter, dissolved minerals, and dissolve minerals, in order of their density: latest
on top.)Using this test, the youngsters test their local soil and compare the
organic content to that of commercial art the youngsters will probably discover at
the local soil is no organic matter. Gives them determine how much organic
matter (Compost, manure, or leaf mold)they must add to the local soil to match
the organic content of the commercial mix.
Materials:Each team of two needs:
two clear plastic vials about 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches high, one digging
tool, 1 cup of commercial garden mix, 2 cups of organic material (Manure,
compost, peat moss, leaf mold)
For the group:
one waterproof pen, one small jar of alum, 4 liters of water,Paper towels, extra
vials
Vials should be marked one fourth of the way from the bottom
Activities:
Show the commercial garden next to the youngsters, and tell him that it is an
excellent soil for growing vegetables and other plants. Explains the youngsters
that they will use the soil as a standard and compare other soils to it.
Play now the site boundaries to the youngsters, and explained that they will be
collecting soil samples. Divide the group into teams of two, and give each team in
digging tool and a paper towel. Ask each team to bring back a handful of style on
a paper towel.
When everyone returns asked the kids to compare the color, smell, and texture of
a commercial mix with their own samples.
Making the alum-profile test
introduced the Alan test as another method of comparing soil samples. Use a
commercial mix to demonstrate the test. For a large group, prepare two or three
demonstration vials. The vials will serve as standards of comparison for the
youngsters to use with the test of their soil samples.
The test-filled bile to the one-quarter mark with the soil to be tested. Have them
add a pinch of alum.
Fill vial of water, cover the vial with your palm, and shake the vial vigorously. Set
the violent flat surface, and let the material settle for at least one minute. Be
careful not to disturb the vial.
Note to leader: and a complete profile, the organic matter for the dark layer
immediately below the top layer of water. Some organic matter may quote at the
top. Below this layer will be layers of minerals and sand, increasing in coarseness
as they get closer to the bottom. Suitable soil for this activity below inorganic
content, what either not produce the start player or produce a very thin layer in
comparison with a commercial mix.
Show the youngsters how the commercial soil separate into different layers,
reducing the profile.
Distribute empty vials to the youngsters, after the teams to make soil profiles of
the samples their collected at the site. Leave the commercial next vials out for the
youngsters to use as comparisons.
Have kids compare the profiles of their vials with the commercial makes files.
different or similar? How are the layers of material in the bile of the same or
different? If the kids don't notice the difference in the organic matter layers, point
out how much whiter the layer is in the commercial mix violin in their soil sample
files. Identified as top layer at your gimmick matter present in the soil. Tell the
youngsters what organic matter is, and explain its importance to the soil.
Now asked the kids to look for soil that is more like commercial mix than their
first samples were. Let them test the new samples with the Alum test.
Show the youngsters the organic material you have provided, compost, manure,
Pete Moss, or leaf mold. Tell the kids that this material is the kind of organic
matter that is often mixed with poor soils to improve them.
Challenge the kids to find out how much organic matter they must add to a
sample of local soil in order to get an alum-test result that closely matches that
of the commercial mix. Encourage each team to use a spare via] to measure the
organic supplement. Explain that they can mix different amounts of organic
supplement and local soils on a paper towel, and then conduct an alum test on
a sample of that mixture. (For example: A mixture of two vials of local soil plus
one-half vial of compost might give an alum test close to that of the
commercial mix.) Tell the youngsters that there ace good soils other than
commercially prepared mixtures.
Discussion Questions:
1. How different are the profiles of soils from different areas of the study site?
Why do you think they are different?
2. How much organic supplement did you add to the sample of local soil to get
an alum test similar to that of the commercial mix?
3. What do you think makes up the other profile layers?
4. How could you make or gather your own organic supplements to improve
your soil at home?
Wrap up/Reflection:
Drawing Plants
Subject: Botany
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Drawing plants
Objective: to learn the structure and function of the flower parts
Background Information: evolutionarily advance plans (angiosperms) produce
flowers, where the sex cells are contained for the plant’s reproduction. The
stamen is the male organ for reproduction and is composed of the anther and the
filament (or stalk). At the tip of the filament is the anther, the organ that
produces the pollen. Pollen is composed of fine powder like grains that contain
the male sex cells. The pistil is the female organ; its parts are composed of the
stigma, style, and ovary. During pollination, male pollen lands on the stigma,
travels down the style, and fertilizes the ovary area. This fertilized egg develops
into the seed. Sepals are the leaf-like parts under the petals. They are usually
green and photosynthetic (able to produce food from the sun). Petals can be all
colors and shapes, and have a variety of smells. They serve to attract pollinators.
Materials: Drawing and coloring materials, student journals
Discussion Questions: Each flower stem seems to be unique with its own special
beauty. But all flowers are composed of the same parts. You and your friends are
all unique, but you all have the same parts too: eyes, ears, nose, fingers, and so
on. The difference is that different types of flowers have different number of
parts; for example, one type flower might have four petals and another type of
flower might have five petals.
Activities: divide the class into small groups. Ask each group to go into the garden
and carefully collect one flower, preferably one that no other group has. Simple
flowers with easily identifiable parts are sweet pea, tomato, potato, bean,
mustard, Poppy, Lily, nasturtium. When the groups return, ask them to look
carefully at their flower; then have them spend sometime drawing a colored
picture of it. Ask the students to take their flowers apart gently and draw each
part. Use the drawings as a guide to flower parts and discuss the function of each
part. Student should examine, draw, and label the sepals, pedals, pistil, and
stamens.
Use the picture on following page of your journal as a guide to label plant parts.
If time allows have students draw a second flower and have them compare the
two flowers how they are alike and different.
Wrap up/Reflection: what is the name of the pollen bearing, male part of the
flower? What is the female part? What part of the flower swells to become the
fruits and seeds? How to sprawling get to the pistil? List things that would change
if there were no more flowers?
Using a Key
Subject: Botany
Topic: Using a dichotomous key
Objective: students will understand how to read and design a dichotomous key
Background Information: Being able to correctly identify plants is an important
skills
Materials: key to new pamishan creatures, student Journal, hand lens, tree key
finder books, 5 different types of leaves/trees
Activities:
Using the key to new pamishan creatures have students select a creature from 1 to
20. The instructor will show students how to use a dichotomous key. Students
will read through each couplet of questions and choose the answer to the
question that best meets their description. From there they will proceed to the
correct number. They will continue this procedure until they reach their
creature’s name.
Break the group into groups of 2-3 students. Give each group a tree to identify.
Have the students use the tree key book to decide what tree they are looking at.
Each group may have multiple trees, depending on the time you have.
Have students turn to the leaf pages in their journals, talk about the different
types of characteristics of leaves including: margins, veins, and shape. Using the
journal pages write your own key in the student journals have students classify
theses leaves and write up their own keys.
Discussion Questions: Why is correctly identifying plants important? What do
you look for when identifying plants and flowers?
Wrap up/Reflection: There are many different characteristics that you use when
identifying plants. The more you know about a plant the more plants you can
identify. Knowing how to identify plants can help when trying to classify them
into groups.
Animals Games
Subject: Animal Behavior
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Animals Games
Objective: Students will learn important traits and behaviors by imitating
animals.
Background Information: Animals have different adaptations that help them to
survive. Some use their keen sense of smell while others rely on their quiet steps.
For some animals working together helps there survival, and others use their
speed to help them.
Materials: Blind folds, forest area
Activities:
Sleeping Miser
Choose one person to be the Sleeping Miser. The miser wears a blindfold and sits
on the ground, guarding an object of treasure in front of him/her (this can be
anything you want such as a feather, a conker, a stick, a hat).
Make sure that the miser sits in an area of ground where walkers will make some
noise as they approach (like gravel or crunchy leaves). Everyone else is a stalker.
The stalkers make a ring around the miser, about 20 feet away. They have to try
to creep up on the miser and ‘steal’ the treasure by touching it. BUT if the miser
hears them approaching and he points in their direction they have go back to
where they started again.
When a player has successfully touched the treasure, send them to wait quietly at
the edge and let the others finish their game. The first person to touch the
treasure will become the miser in the next game, and so on.
Eagle Eye
Discuss how eagles have very keen vision and can spot their prey while perched in
their nest on a tall cliff.
Designate a centralized "Eagle's Nest" and choose one student to be the Eagle.
The Eagle closes his eyes and counts to sixty while the rest of the players hide in
the playing area. Everyone must be able to keep at least one eye on the Eagle at
all times while hiding.
At the count of sixty, the Eagle opens his eyes and looks (and listens) for the other
players without ever leaving the nest. When he spots someone, he describes the
clothing or hair color of that person until it is obvious which player has been
found. That person must come and sit quietly near the nest so that the Eagle can
continue looking.
If the Eagle is unable to find everyone, have him close his eyes and count to 20
while all the players move at least 5 steps closer to the nest. Continue in this
manner until all participants have been spotted but one, who then becomes the
new Eagle.
Oh Deer
Break the group up into 2 groups. Have each group stand facing one another. One
line is the deer, and the second line is the resources. There are three signs both
the deer and resources can make. Hand on mouth symbolizing water, hand on
stomach symbolizing food, hands above heads like a house symbolizing shelter.
The deer and resources stand back to back about 6 feet apart. On the count of
three all deer and resources face each other and show a sign. The deer must find a
resource that matches their own sign. If they are unable to find a resource that
matches their sign they go to the resource side. If the deer is able to find a
resource then the resource goes to the deer side.
Bear, Mosquito, Salmon
Instead of rock-paper-scissors, this game uses mosquito-salmon- bear.
A mosquito symbol is a finger pointing from the nose.
The salmon symbol is shown by pressing hands together in front of the body and
moving the hands back and forth like a fish swimming in water.
A bear symbol is both hands in the air, fingers out like claws (and a roar for good
measure).
Salmon eat mosquitoes, bear eat salmon, and mosquitoes bite bear.
Clearly mark two outer boundary lines and establish a safe zone for each team.
Divide the group into two teams. Each team is given time to decide which they
will represent, mosquito, salmon, or bear. When both sides are ready, they line
up shoulder to shoulder, in the middle or the boundary lines, with their backs to
the other team.
On the count of three, both teams turn around and throw their symbol. If a
team’s symbol beats the other team’s symbol, they chase them back across their
own boundary to their safe zone. If a team loses, they must get across their own
boundary to their safe zone without being caught. If a team member is caught
before reaching the safe zone, they become part of the other team. Play continues
until all players are on one team.
Discussion Questions: What hiding spots did you have that made you difficult to
find? What was it about that hiding spot that camouflaged you?
In Oh Deer what happened when there were not enough resources? How do you
think that is similar in real life.?
Squirrel Game
Two students are chosen to be the owl (it). The other students are either tree
squirrels or ground squirrels. Each tree squirrel must find a tree to be its home
base. The ground squirrels use a circle made out of rope for their home base. The
object is to collect as many pinecones as possible while not getting tagged (eaten)
by the owl. If you leave base you may get tagged, and other squirrels may find you
store of pinecones and steal it. If you are on base no one may tag you or steal your
pinecones. (Ground squirrels are working together and tree squirrels work
independently).
Wrap up/Reflection: Animal use different adaptations to help them survive in
different environments. What were some of the adaptations that were used
during these games? What adaptations do humans have to survive in their
environment? What do we need to survive in the woods? How about in the
classroom?
Tracking
Subject: Animal Behavior
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Tracking
Objective: Recognize clues that animals leave behind
Background Information: One way to learn about how animals behave is to listen
to what the birds are saying. Birds have 5 different sounds and each one tells a
different story.
Discussion Questions: What are some ways that we can learn what animals do?
Do we need to see the animal to know what it is up to? What animals do you
think live around here?
Materials: Tracking books, tracking stick, spot with tracks, pointed stick for drag
stick drag game
Activities: Each pair of student will be given a tracking book, they will also have a
copy of their student journal with them. When finding a track have students
explore the track and ask the following questions.
The six arts of tracking
1. Who? Who made the track? Look at size, weight, shady, number goes,
claw marks, tail drags? Can you identify the species? What else can you
tell about individual animal?
2. What? What attracts indicate about behavior habits? What direction did
they come from? What direction are they going? What gait is the animal
in? It's the awkward turn? What was it doing?
3. When? Look for evidence of the effects of the efforts of the sun, moisture,
and wind? When did it leave this track? When is it most active? When
does it sleep? When does it mate? When does it have babies?
4. Where? Follow the tracks to find out about home and habitat. Where
does it live, feed, and sleep? Where are its source for food and water?
During different seasons, where does it raise its young? Where is it right
now?
5. Why? Out of all the places it could have been, why was it here? Why does
it want to be here? Ask why about the who, what, where, and when
questions.
6. How? Imitate the way the animal moves. How does it move its body?
How does it feel to be the animal? How big, little, or muscular is it? How
does it perceive its world-sight? Smell? Hearing? Touch? Radar? A
combination? Pretend to be the animal and make the track pattern in the
same way it did.
Intro to stick drag game: human hunters long ago as a special type of hunting,
call persistence hunting. Scientists say this represents one of the oldest forms of
hunting, but it's also one of the riskiest. If someone has not trained well enough,
they could die. Basically, on a very hot day, the hunter chases after an animal for
hours until it overheats and collapses. The hunter must continue to run and track
the animal reading the tracks as he runs along. What do you think the hunter can
read from the tracks? What things might we try to read from the tracks?
Stick drag game: Students can play stick drag game. I will have a two-minute
head start. You will all close your eyes and ears during this two minutes and I
take off running. As I run I will drag a stick behind me on the ground. Make sure
to have a sharp stick and use enough pressure to leave a clear track. Also make
sure the stick is sturdy so it doesn’t break.
Crow call to let participants know that they can start to chase. Continue running
even after they start tracking you. You can make it challenging by going over
harder rocks or circling around or double backing. You go back and hide and
spook them or run till you collapse and let them find you.
Wrap up/Reflection: Was it difficult to stay on the trail. Could you ever tell what
the animals were thinking by looking at its tracks? If you were going to hunt an
animal, what types of things would you want to know about it?
Mini Watershed
Subject: Water
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Watersheds
Objectives: Students will learn to apply the concept of watersheds. To make
students aware that mini-watersheds are all around them, and collectively made
up larger watersheds.
Background Information:
A watershed is an area of land. All water that falls on the land area drains to a
common outlet, such as the outflow of a lake, the mouth of a river, or any point
along a stream channel. Watersheds are usually named by the main rivers or
streams that drain them. Watersheds drain into rivers. All the water that is not
used by plants, people, animals, or evaporated will leave the watershed at the
outlet. The boundary between two watersheds is a divide, where the water falling
on either side of the divide flows in opposite directions. Divides can be ridges but
are often not obviously apparent. No matter how apparent, however, it is
topography which determines watershed boundaries. Not everyone lives near a
pond, stream, river, but everyone lives in a watershed.
Materials: stakes, string, scissors, watering cans (or any narrow-mouthed large
container)
Activities:
You will need an area of barren, trampled ground that is not perfectly flat. Test
out to make sure you can pour water on it and watch the direction of flow.
Experiment with the proper volume and rate of water that you need to pour in
order to get the desired effect, so you can properly instruct students on how fast
and hard to pour water. Pavement is second-best alternative.
1. Divide students into small groups. Assign each group a starting point,
marked by a stake.
2. Have each group work together to decide where they think water will flow
when it falls on their point. Have them mark their predicted flow path with
string and more stakes.
3. One by one, have each group share and explain their predicted flow path,
and then test out their predictions by letting water fall from the container
onto their starting point.
4. Evaluate each prediction. How close were they? Why were they accurate or
not? Have students closely analyze the effects of topography, drainage, and
any objects such as rocks, plants, buildings, etc., that may be present. Are
any divides apparent? Did any mini-watersheds combine to flow to the
same point?
Discussion Questions: If water poured on these mini-watersheds does not drain
into the ground or evaporate, where will it go? What large watersheds are these
mini-watersheds part of?
Wrap up/Reflection: What could change the water flow pattern if this mini
watershed? How might fertilizers or chemicals impact the watershed? How does
this compare to a larger watershed?
Stream/Pond Survey
Subject: Water
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Water Health Assessment
Objectives: Students will learn to assess pond and stream health conditions for numbers of trees,
any erosion, color of water, presence of rocks and more.
Background Information: Most natural resource management professionals first undertake a
site assessment of the area to gain a better understanding of on site conditions for watershed
health (stream and forestry health as well). Armed with this information, professionals can begin
developing a more comprehensive natural resource management plan for the area to bring it back
to healthy conditions.
Materials: Survey sheets, clipboards and pencils.
Activities:
Younger students,(grades 4-5), can work together as a class. Divide older students in groups.
•
•
•
•
Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students each.
Handout the survey assessment sheets (1 per group).
Spend a few moments going over the sheet with them.
Assign various spots to the groups of students and let them complete the assessment.
Discussion Questions:
Wrap up/Reflection: Review what students found. Take a few moments then to discuss their
overall rating (if they think the stream or pond is in healthy conditions or not).
Pond/Stream Survey Assessment Data Sheet
Name(s):______________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Date:____________________________
Site Location:____________________________________________________________
Circle the answer you best feel describes the situation:
1. Stream/Pond side vegetation: Are there lots of trees/plants present?
Many trees (80-90%)
Some trees (40-80%)
A few trees (0-40%)
Note: Trees and plants along a pond or stream make it much healthier, and provide lots of
habitat for wildlife. Trees provide shade to cool the water, and drop leaves into the pond to
provide food for bugs and other aquatic animals.
Note: If no trees or plants are present (or very little), then this makes the area not very
healthy. There will be no shade and little or no food and habitat for the wildlife.
The more trees and plants the better!
2. Kinds of trees and plants present: Are there many different kinds of trees
and plants present?
At least 10 different kinds of trees and plants are present
At least 4-6 different kinds of trees and plants are present
Only 1 or 2 different kinds of trees and plants are present
Note: The more different kinds of trees and plants present, the healthier the stream or pond is
(Mother Nature likes to have as many different kinds as possible, this is known as diversity).
And, the more diversity the better!
Note: If there are only 1-3 different plants or trees present, this means the stream or pond is
not very healthy (How could you change this? One way would be to plant more trees and
plants)!
3. Bank condition: What do the sides of the stream or pond look like?
Low bank/tree roots/rocks
Bank with some visible erosion
Steep banks/lots of erosion
Banks with concrete or other man-made structures
Note: Gently sloping banks with tree roots create a healthy stream and pond for wildlife (and
good water quality). There is no erosion and the water is not muddy (clear).
Note: banks with erosion and mud are not healthy conditions, and not good for wildlife
either. Soil washes into the water and pollutes it, causing aquatic animals to die.
4. Stream/Pond bottom: What does the bottom look like? Are there rocks?
Water plants?
Lots of big and small rocks (gravel)
Some rocks/gravel present
Little or no rocks present (mostly dirt on bottom)
If a pond: Are there any plants on bottom of pond? Rocks? Or mostly dirt?
Which?_________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Note: Lots of rocks and gravel (and plants) on the bottom of a stream or pond makes for
very healthy conditions. Rocks and gravel (and plants) help clean and purify the water,
as well as provide places for wildlife to hide and fish to lay their eggs.
Note: If little or no rock (or plants) are present, then the health of the stream or pond is
not very good.
5. Clarity of water: How clear is the water?
Very clear
A little clear
Not clear at all (too much dirt and mud)
Note: If the water is nice and clear, this means it is very healthy and the water quality is
good (lots of plants and rocks are cleaning the water).
Note: If the water is only a little clear or not clear at all, this means the stream or pond is not
very healthy and has too much dirt in it (Where might all the extra dirt be coming from)?
6. Shelter and Habitat: What kind of shelter is there for wildlife and aquatic
animals?
Lots of wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Some wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Little or no wood/logs/plants and rocks for animals to hide and live (in the stream or pond)
Note: Lots of wood/logs and rock means the stream or pond is healthy. Animals love this stuff,
they can live in it, play there and find safety as well.
Note: If little or no rocks/wood/logs or plants, the stream or pond is not very healthy.
Now, let’s rate the overall health of the stream or pond you just surveyed (you will have to use
your good judgment as a scientist to do this). Rate your area on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being
100% perfectly healthy, and 1 being 0%, or not healthy at all. A rating of 5 would be marginally
healthy (medium). What rating would you give?
List your rating here:_________________________
Now, explain why you gave it that rating.
Explain:_______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
If you gave your area a low rating, what would you and your team to do make the area healthier?
List some actions you could do here (maybe plant trees? Add some wood? Bring in more rock?)
What are your ideas? List your ideas
here:__________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Watershed Model
Subject: Water
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Watershed
Objectives: Students simulate a watershed and begin to understand how it functions.
Predict where water will flow in a watershed
Background Information: A watershed is an area of land. All water that falls on
the land area drains to a common outlet, such as the outflow of a lake, the mouth
of a river, or any point along a stream channel. Watersheds are usually named by
the main rivers or streams that drain them. Watersheds drain into rivers. All the
water that is not used by plants, people, animals, or evaporated will leave the
watershed at the outlet. The boundary between two watersheds is a divide, where
the water falling on either side of the divide flows in opposite directions. Divides
can be ridges but are often not obviously apparent. No matter how apparent,
however, it is topography which determines watershed boundaries. Not everyone
lives near a pond, stream, river, but everyone lives in a watershed.
Materials: 2 sheets of 8½ x 11 white paper (reuse paper that has writing on one side),
scotch tape, spray water bottle, water-soluble colored markers, water
Activities:
What is a Watershed? (have them brainstorm on the word). If they don’t know ask
them what a toolshed is. A place where tools are stored. That’s a start. Give them the
definition: A watershed is the land area that drains into a water body or drainage. (Use
hand motions: with hands out in front of you palms down move them down to a point in
front of you as you say the definition.)
So what marks the boundary of a watershed? The high points or mountain ridges
mark the watershed boundary. So that a drop of water just to left of that high point goes
into one watershed and the drop of water just to the right goes into another watershed.
A watershed could be as big as the 7 state Colorado River Watershed, as big as the Santa
Cruz River Watershed or it could be the land area in the back of your school yard where
water drains into a drainage ditch!
We are going to make an elevation map that will contains many partial watersheds and
some whole watersheds.
Put a piece of 8 ½ by 11 white paper (used on one side) down on the table in front of
you (white side up)
Crumple up a second piece of 8 ½ by 11 white paper (used on one side) with the
white side facing out
Uncrumple the paper until you can find all 4 corners (not all of the way flat again)
Tape all four corners down on the white piece of paper with scotch tape
Use water soluble magic markers. Use the green marker to draw a line along all of
the ridges (or up folded areas). Use a blue marker to draw a line along all of the
valleys (or down folded areas). Use a red marker to indicate any abandoned mines
with a * symbol. Use a purple marker to indicate cities with a crosshatched pattern.
Use a brown marker to indicate a farm with a colored in square symbol.
You have made a model of the land surface.
Predict how water is going to flow in your model when we spray them. What
direction will water flow? Why? Gravity works!
Are there areas on your model that have no outlet and will hold water? This would be
a closed basin.
Take your model outside and spray them with a spray bottle, in other words make it
rain on your model.
Discussion Questions: Did any of your cities flood? If there was pollution on your city
streets could it get in to your farm field? Could excess pesticide or fertilizers from farms
go in to your cities? Could old mines affect water coming into cities or farms? What is a
watershed?
Wrap up/Reflection: Further Thought: What do you think we manage when we talk
about watershed management? It’s really the land are or land use that we manage to
maintain water quality in a drainage or stream! Runoff is water that flows over the land
surface to a drainage?
Water Pollution
Subject: Water
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Water pollution
Objectives: Students will learn how only one drop of pollution in a stream can pollute
the entire ecosystem.
Background Information: Most folks don’t realize that it only takes a small amount of
pollution to pollute vast quantities of water. For example, those few drops of oil from
your driveway that run into the gutter will eventually pollute the entire Pacific Ocean!
Students will see how only a few drops of pollution can really pollute a whole lot of
water.
Materials: Clear plastic buckets or pales: 2 - ½ gallon bucket, 2 - 5 gallon bucket, 1 –
10 gallon bucket, box of food coloring, 2 water bottle spray misters
Activities:
Note: The ½ gallon bucket represents a stream or creek.
The 5 gallon bucket represents the Rogue River.
The 10 gallon bucket represents the Pacific Ocean.
The spray mister represents a cloud.
1. Have the students gather in a group. Place the 10 gallon bucket down on the
ground. Place the five gallon buckets, one on both sides of the ten gallon bucket.
Then place the ½ gallon bucket next to the five gallon bucket.
2. Have a student helper fill both of the ½ gallon buckets full of water and place
them back next to the five gallon buckets. Now fill both five gallon buckets about
1/3 full of water and bring back. Finally, fill the ten gallon
3. Get the red food coloring. Explain to the students that the red food coloring is
pollution. Using another set of students helpers, have each student place 5 drops
of food coloring in each 1/2 gallon bucket. Ask the students, “What just
happened?” They will see the food coloring (representing pollution) just polluted
the bucket of water.
4. Ask the students, “What is the name of the creek in this area?” Several answers,
but can be “Wolf Creek, or Coyote Creek.”
5. Now ask, “What does this creek run into?” Answer: Rogue River
6. Have another set of student helpers pour the water from the ½ gallon buckets into
the five gallon buckets (but they have to get the right answer before they can pour
the water). Students will now notice that the once clean water of the 5 gallon
bucket is now also polluted and dirty from the 5 gallon bucket. Explain the 5
gallon just got polluted (and remember the 5 gallon represents the Rogue River)
because the creek (which was also polluted), just emptied into it.
7. Now ask students, “What does the Rogue River empty in to?” Answer: Pacific
Ocean.
8. Have students empty both 5 gallon buckets into the 1 ten gallon bucket (i.e. the
Pacific Ocean). Again, ask what happened? Review how since the Rogue was
polluted, it polluted the Ocean when it empties into the Ocean.
9. Now get the 2 spray mist bottles. Have students fill these up with water from the
ten gallon bucket. Tell them the sprayer is a cloud, and that it is now going to
rain. Have them spray the water on the ground or in the immediate area. Tell
them that what they are spraying is dirty, polluted rain, also known as “acid rain.”
Explain to students this is where acid rain comes from. Have other students spray
the mist bottles as needed.
This exercise can be repeated many times with different food color, and students will see
then how pollution really adds up and the water gets
Discussion Questions: What did the pollution effect? Who would be effected by
this? How do the decisions of some effect others? What other types of pollution
are there? How might this be similar to other types of pollution? Do you think
this can be regulated? What is the best way?
Wrap up/Reflection: Point of this exercise: Review with students how only a few
drops of pollution in a stream wound up polluting the entire system of water (creeks,
rivers and oceans) when the pollution gets carried by the water from one point to another.
Planet of Plenty- Biodiversity
Subject: Ecosystems
Grade(s):4-6
Topic: Biodiversity
Objectives: students will investigate the diversity of plants and animals on a
small plot of land and explain the value of and diversity of life forms in a
particular ecosystem
Background Information: all organisms on earth can be grouped into different
species. A species is a group of organisms resembling one another in appearance,
behaviors, chemical makeup, and genetic structure. Organisms that reproduce
sexually and be able to inch reach in cities of offspring to be considered a species.
One of earth’s most valuable resources is its biological diversity or biodiversity.
This resource is made up of three components: genetic diversity, species
diversity, and ecological diversity.
Genetic diversity is the variability in the genetic makeup among individuals
within a single species. Species diversity is the variety of species honor. Ecological
diversity is the variety of forests, deserts, grasslands, streams, lakes, oceans, and
other biological communities that interact with one another and with their
nonliving environments.
Biologists estimate that Earth’s current biodiversity consists of 40 to 80 billion
different species, each having variations in its genetic makeup and living in a
variety of biological communities. So far, biologists have classified only about 1.5
million species. They know a fair amount about one third of the species and the
detailed roles and interactions a very few. Humans are dependent on this
biological capital.
Diversity within and among species has provided us with food, wood, fibers,
energy, raw materials, chemicals, and medicines and has contributed hundreds of
billions of dollars yearly to the world economy. Also, every species on Earth today
represents stored genetic information that allows species to adapt to certain
changes in environmental conditions. We can think of biodiversity as nature’s
insurance policy against disasters. Over billions of years new species have
formed, and once they could not adapt to changing conditions have become
extinct.
Extinction is a natural process. The rate of species extinction has increased
sharply as human settlements have expanded worldwide, the main reason for this
being, the alteration of many organisms’ natural habitats.
Materials: boards, and pencil, measuring tape or yardstick, stream or flying tape
for boundaries, tweezers and magnifiers
Activities:
Divided into teams of four.
Tell students to imagine that they’re scientists from an overpopulated polluted
planet called Deevoid. Deevoid has a similar atmosphere, climate and mineral
composition to earth but has very little diversity of life, although it once had great
biodiversity. The scientists have long hypothesized the planet earth is rich with a
variety of life forms. To test the hypothesis, several teams of scientists have been
sent on an exploratory mission to earth. By studying the life forms on earth, the
Deevoid scientist hope to discover ways to improve the biological diversity in the
quality of life on their own planet.
Explain that each team of scientists will set up a plot and study it for its variety of
life forms. They will record, described, and try to classify all life forms they find.
They can also draw conclusions about the diversity of life on earth.
Have team members work together to devise methods for sampling, recording,
and organizing their data. For example, they can create a chart indicating
whether an organism is a plant or animal, whether it can fly, how many legs it
has, and so on. Or they can make an “explores Journal” with notes about each
organism, emphasizing detailed descriptions based on observation. One or more
team members should be official recorders, or everyone can take notes.
Encourage the students to make sketches well. When the research is complete,
the datasheet and sketches should be evaluated to see what trends emerge.
When scientists arrive back on the Deevoid they will report findings at a scientific
conference. Since earth organisms are completely unknown to their colleagues,
the scientist must be careful to make detailed observations while on earth. For
example, they may want to record detailed information about what the organism
looks like, it’s size, where they found it, how it behaved and so on.
Take the students outside and give them each a tape measure or measuring stick.
Also give them string, written, or other material for making the boundaries of
their plots.
Assign each team in the area in which to set up a 20-foot square study plot. Try to
arrange teams so they are spread out and cover a variety of microhabitats. For
example, one team might be in a wooded area, another a grassy lawn, and
another right next to a building.
Each team should first predict what forms of life, if any, they expect to find at
which locations in the plot area they should write down their predictions.
When the students are ready to begin examining the plots, tell them to be careful
not to pick up creatures like centipedes are Ross the invite for same. In fact, they
should carefully avoid handling any creatures. They should keep their hands
where to find shelter from the elements. Patent leather beetles, click beetles, and
other animals may spend a winter inside the rotting log. Some beetles, wasps,
slugs, and other animals lay eggs on decomposing wood. Salamanders may wait
in the relative coolness and dampness of a fallen log during the day and then hunt
for food at night. As these animals burrow into the log, they also helped to break
down.
Materials:
Begin by asking students what ports are piled high with fallen trees, branches,
and leaves. What happens to treat after they die? Tell the students that are going
to examine deadlocks to find answers to those questions.
Activities:
Divide the group into teams of three or four, and explained that the teams will
each examine a rotting log. Team members will need to keep track of each
different kind of plant or animal found, where it was found, what it looked like,
and what it was doing. Each team should develop a data sheet to record this
information. Here are some questions you should try to answer during their
investigation:
• Is there bark on the log? What is its condition? What kind of plants are
growing on the log? (Young trees, young shrubs, wildflowers, mosses,
fungi, slime molds, lichens)
• What animals are on the bark? Under the bark? Inside the log? Under the
log?
• Why do the animals he found appeared to be doing? What would you
predict each one eats? What makes you think so?
• What evidence of animal activity do you see on or around the log?( Exec
calls, spider webs, woodpecker holes, animal dens, animal tracks, piles of
sawdust, work patterns in wood under the bark.)
• How many trees have died? What evidence supports your ideas?
• Has been treated at a longtime or fairly short time? What makes you think
so?
Takes students to the area picked and pass out materials. Have each team choose
a lot to study. Explained that students should server logs as little as possible as
they examined. They should put any creatures they find into their containers only
briefly for examination. Students must return the creatures of the places where
they found as quickly as possible. If students can’t identify animals or plants in
the field, they can make sketches. They should make sure the log is in its original
position when they finish.
When they finished examining the logs, have your students examine areas around
each log. They might look in leaf litter, under rocks, around pieces of trees, and so
on. Having record similarities and differences between these areas and the law.
They should note which of the plants and animals they found around their log
also live in these areas.
Wrap up/Reflection:
• What similarities and differences were there between each of the logs?
What might explain the differences?
• Which animals and plants were found both on the log and in nearby areas,
such as leaf litter? What did those areas and the log have in common? How
did the animals he found in the log interact with it?( The law provides
habitat-shelter, food, a place to raise young, and safe to live.)
• Why is it important that logs like the one you study decompose?(
Decomposition recycles nutrients stored in the log).
• How did the forest ecosystem benefit from a fallen log?( The law provides
habitat for plants and animals that are, in turn, or other creatures. Other
animals and plants break down the log, it stored nutrients become
available for other plants and animals.)
Food Chain
Subject: Ecosystems
Grade(s):4-6
Topic: Food Chain
Objectives: To understand how all things are interconnected and rely on each
other.
Background Information: Every organism needs to obtain energy in order to live.
For example, plants get energy from the sun, some animals eat plants, and some
animals eat other animals.
A food chain is the sequence of who eats whom in a biological community (an
ecosystem) to obtain nutrition. A food chain starts with the primary energy
source, usually the sun or boiling-hot deep sea vents. The next link in the chain is
an organism that make its own food from the primary energy source -- an
example is photosynthetic plants that make their own food from sunlight (using a
process called photosynthesis) and chemosynthetic bacteria that make their
food energy from chemicals in hydrothermal vents. These are called autotrophs
or primary producers.
Trophic Levels: The trophic level of an organism is the position it holds in a
food chain.
Primary producers (organisms that make their own food from sunlight and/or
chemical energy from deep sea vents) are the base of every food chain - these
organisms are called autotrophs.
Primary consumers are animals that eat primary producers; they are also
called herbivores (plant-eaters).
Secondary consumers eat primary consumers. They are carnivores (meateaters) and omnivores (animals that eat both animals and plants).
Tertiary consumers eat secondary consumers.
Quaternary consumers eat tertiary consumers.
Food chains "end" with top predators, animals that have little or no natural
enemies.
Materials: Laminated Who am I signs, string, ball of twine.
Activities:
Introduce (or review) with the class a number of different classification schemes,
recording them on the board so that students will be able to see them throughout
the activity. Producer, consumer and decomposer first order, second order, third
order consumer predator and prey carnivore, omnivore, and herbivore.
Students should then be given a picture of one of the common ecosystem
elements included in the Who am I tags (e.g. grass, hare, coyote, etc.). Tell
students to show this card to no one.
Next, ask each student to hang a sign around the neck of one of their fellow
students so that the sign is on their back.
Tell the students: “The object of this game is for you to determine what ecosystem
element you are. You can do this only by asking questions of the other students
that use the vocabulary on the board. You’ll have to ask questions like ‘Am I a
consumer?’ - and all your questions can only be answered by a “Yes” or a “No”.
You can guess what your ecosystem tag is - but you only get one guess, and if
you’re wrong, you’re out of the game! I encourage you to ‘schmooze’ around and
mingle, moving from student to student”.
Next, answer any questions and let the game commence. Monitor all questions
and answers. If students find they need more information, stop the game briefly,
tell students that they are allowed to ask more general yes/no questions (“Do I
have fur”? “Am I bigger than a breadbox?”) to find out more. Towards the end,
allow students to give hints to their peers.
Have students stand or sit in a circle, still showing the tags they received in the
Who am I activity. You should also be part of the circle.
Have every student describe their card, i.e. ‘who they are.’ Tell students that you
will be playing the role of the sun, the ultimate source of life for all things (as
befits your role as teacher!).
Hold the end of the twine and pass the ball of twine to the tree, and say “I am
passing the ball to the tree, because it needs me to survive. I give energy to the
tree.” Have the tree hold on to the twine and pass it to the next person. Tell
students that they can pass the ball of twine to another ecosystem element in the
circle “only if it needs you in order to survive, or if you need it in order
to survive”. For example, the squirrel could pass the ball to the tree (which it
needs to survive) or to the owl (which needs it to survive). Make sure that each
exchange is justified by each student as they pass the ball to another. Make sure
that the whole group understands and agrees with the rationale that is given.
Challenge students to establish connections with everyone in the circle, so that no
organisms are left out. Each person will hold on to the piece of twine, till it makes
a web and everyone is holding part of it.
When you have every organism connected, ask students to pull gently to take in
the slack so the string becomes taut. Ask students to examine the pattern they
have created. Tell them that this pattern represents the very complex pattern of
interconnections between organisms that occurs in a natural ecosystem. For this
reason, interrelationships within an ecosystem are sometimes referred to as the
‘web of life’. Ask students if the web they created is more simple or more complex
than the web of life that actually exists in their schoolyard or in a park; students
should realize that things in nature are far more complex than the simple web
they have created.
Next, tell students that something has just happened to change this ecosystem: a
timber company has just received the right to log this forest ecosystem. Keeping
the string taut, ask the “tree” student(s) to suddenly release the string when you
count to three. After the string is released, immediately ask if anyone felt the
tension in the string change when the tree dropped out (several, including the
squirrel, should say yes.) Ask those affected by the loss of the tree to say how they
are affected.
Count to three again, and ask these “affected” students to in turn drop the string.
Keep going until everyone has dropped the string. Have students drop the string
in front of them so they can pick it up again for the next round. Students should
come to realize that any change to an ecosystem - whether slight or profound - is
felt throughout the system. Tell students the golden rule of ecology: In an
ecosystem, you can never do just one thing.
Ask students to repeat this activity using the following changes to the ecosystem:
• the municipality sprays to remove pesky mosquitoes from the area •hunters
come in to harvest moose, elk, and white-tailed deer from the area • decreasing
ozone levels allow more
ultraviolet radiation, which kills cells and slows the growth of the trees • the
forest is in a park - but the park is too small to preserve large carnivores, so they
are extirpated from the area (Note: tell students that recent studies are showing
that carnivores are far more important than previously thought - that their
presence or absence will actually dictate how healthy the entire ecosystem is.)
Discussion Questions: How does one thing effect everything else? Can you think
of any examples in your own lives where this is the case?
Wrap up/Reflection: Parachuting Cats Into Borneo
In the early 1950s, there was an outbreak of a serious disease called malaria
amongst the Dayak people in Borneo. The World Health Organization tried to
solve the problem. They sprayed large amounts of a chemical called DDT to kill
the mosquitoes that carried the malaria. The mosquitoes died and there was less
malaria. That was good. However, there were side effects. One of the first effects
was that the roofs of people's houses began to fall down on their heads. It turned
out that the DDT was also killing a parasitic wasp that ate thatch- eating
caterpillars. Without the wasps to eat them, there were more and more thatcheating caterpillars. Worse than that, the insects that died from being poisoned by
DDT were eaten by gecko lizards, which were then eaten by cats. The cats started
to die, the rats flourished, and the people were threatened by outbreaks of two
new serious diseases carried by the rats, sylvatic plague and typhus. To cope with
these problems, which it had itself created, the World Health Organization had to
parachute live cats into Borneo.
Ecosystem Investigation
Subject: Ecosystems
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Investigating Ecosystems
Objectives: Students will investigate a major component in three different
ecosystems, describes similarities and differences in their monthly ecosystems,
and identify ways that the inmate abiotic components of an ecosystem effect the
biotic components.
Background Information: An ecosystem is a community of different species
interacting with each other and with the chemical and physical factors making its
nonliving environment. It is a system of interrelationships among organisms, and
between organisms and physical environment. Plants and animals and
environment interact with each other in various ways. For example, plants may
depend on insects or birds pollinate flowers and the earthworms to aerate the
soil; animals may depend on plants for food or shelter. However, plants and
animals also interact with nonliving element of their environment. In a local
environment, physical factors such as sunlight, moisture, temperature, and wind
influences suitability of an area for particular organisms. Those factors determine
the kinds of plants and animals that live here. Physical factors may be determined
by the environment geography, such as its proximity to water, elevation, or its
geological features. In addition, the resident organisms, particularly plants, may
effect the sunlight, moisture, temperature, and wind of the area. For example, the
tall trees of a redwood forest tend to block sunlight and thus create a dark, moist
environment, or microclimate of the forest floor that is suitable for shade loving
plants, but is too shady for other kinds of plants. Microclimate refers to a
narrowly restricted area within the ecosystem, for example, under a bush or a
small woodland opening.
Materials: trowel, yardstick, thermometer, strip of paper, compass
Activities:
ask students to the place they enjoy visiting. Atom to think about these questions:
what did you particularly enjoy about the place? Whether the people? The
physical space? What did you do? What living things major place enjoyable?
Name any nonliving things that major place enjoyable.
Help students see that any place has been living in on living parts that work
together to make an ecosystem. Explain the students will investigate ecosystems
at three different study sites to find out how living and nonliving elements affect
each other.
Divide your group into six teams. Explaining each team will investigate and
report observations of a different component of three different study sites. Give
students instructions a copy of the worksheet, and materials. This will provide a
“guided exploration” of the sites. Go over the Ecosystem Investigation
Directions. Later teams will transfer their observations to the data chart. . Make
sure all students know how to read a thermometer and use a compass.
Soil Moisture
Equipment: trowel, garden spade, or stick Use a trowel, garden spade, or stick to
scrape the ground. Gather a small sample of soil from
under the surface. Feel the soil. Is it wet, moist and forming a ball, or dry and
crumbly? Does it feel smooth or gritty like sand? What color is it? Smell it and
describe the odor. Examine the soil sample for other items such as evidence of
plants and animals. Record your observations on the Ecosystem Investigation
Worksheet.
Temperature
Equipment: yardstick, thermometer Measure the temperature one inch deep in
the soil, at ground level, and at one yard (three feet)
above the ground with a thermometer. If the site is a pond, stream, or lake,
measure the temperature one inch deep in the water, just above the water, and
one yard above the water. Record your observations on the Ecosystem
Investigation Worksheet.
Sunlight
Equipment: none Describe how much sunlight reaches the ground at this site.
Use descriptive words such as dark,
shady, bright, medium light, or others. Record your observations on the
Ecosystem Investigation Worksheet.
Wind
Equipment: strip of paper, compass Have a group member hold a strip of
paper lengthwise at arm’s length. Does it hang straight down or is it moved by the
wind?
Determine from what direction the wind is blowing by using a compass. Hold a
compass waist high with the direction-of- travel arrow pointing away from your
body, making sure the magnetic needle floats freely. Turn the dial so the north
sign (N) is pointing in the same direction as the direction-of-travel arrow. Turn
your body so the red, magnetic end of the needle points to N (north).
Next, turn so you and the direction-of- travel arrow are facing the direction the
wind is coming from (the wind should be in your face). Without moving the base
of the compass, rotate the dial so the north sign (N) and the red, magnetic end of
the needle are lined up. Read the wind direction at the point where the direction
of travel arrow meets the dial. Record your observations on the Ecosystem
Investigation Worksheet.
Plants
Equipment: none Observe the many different sizes of plants (large trees, small
trees, shrubs, grasses). Do not try to
identify them! What type of plant is most common at this site? Describe where
each kind of plant is growing in relation to the others. Record your observations
on the Ecosystem Investigation Worksheet.
Animals
Equipment: none Explore the site for animals and signs or evidence of animals
(insects, birds, reptiles, fish, frogs,mammals, scat or animal droppings, tracks,
burrows, or chewed leaves or twigs). Record your observations on the Ecosystem
Investigation Worksheet.
Discussion Questions:
• How did temperature vary between the field, forest, and stream sites?
• Describe the differences in the wind at the field, forest, and stream
locations.
• What factors determine the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground?
• In which location (ecosystem) did you observe the most (number) plants
growing? What does that area offer so more plants grow there? Did one
area have more kinds of plants growing than the others? Why or why not?
• Describe any relationships you observed between plants and animals.
• List the animals and evidence of animals that were found at each location.
Field, Forest, Stream. Were any animals found at only one location? List
these animals and the locations where they were found. Why are some
animals found at all three locations, while others are found at only one?
Wrap up/Reflection: Which of the six elements we studied seems most
important for determining the character of the environment at each site? What
makes you say so?
Succession
Subject: Ecosystems
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Succession
Objectives: Students will explore basic relationships between species diversity and
ecosystem stability, identify success ional stages in ecosystems based on plant and animal
species, and draw conclusions about the process of succession based on study test plots in
different stages of succession
Background Information:
Succession is the orderly replacement of plant and animal species through time in a given
location, leading to a relatively stable biotic community. In a landscape that lacks both
vegetation and soul (such as a sand dune or a recently cooled lava flow), primary
succession may begin. In primary succession on land, living organisms slowly, often over
hundreds or thousands of eyras, build soil. The first plants to arrive, sometimes called
pioneer species, are usually fungi, lichens or mosses, and ferns, which are the oldest types
of land plants. Over time, rock is weathered to soil; mosses and ferns cover the
landscape; and small seeds, carried by animals or blown by wind, take root. Small shrubs
and plants become established. Eventually, if conditions are right, a healthy plant
community with mature trees and plants will grow. Secondary succession occurs on
landscapes previously occupied by vegetation and can be considered an extension of
primary succession (the soil building phase). Grass may begin to grow, followed by
herbaceous and small woody plants, followed by shrubs and trees.
Each successional stage is accompanied by its characteristic animal species. Earlysuccessional animal species find food and shelter among the weedy pioneer plants that
invade areas cleared by natural or human causes. Mid-success ional species are found in
partially open areas. Openings in the forest canopy promote the growth of plants that are
favored as food by many mammals and birds.
These openings provide edge habitat where field and forest meet, allowing annuals to
feed on the vegetation in the opening and to escape quickly into the forest. Latesuccessional animal species require mature first habitats to provide the food and cover
they need. Many species thrive in other types of mature plant communities such as
grasslands, tundra, or deserts.
In some cases, whole regions are undergoing succession. For example, in the eastern
United States, most of the trees were once cut down for timer and cleared for agriculture.
When the fields were left to fallow, native plants slowly began to re-colonize the old
fields. Today, whole new forests stand where the original ones used to be. A mature
forest isn’t always the stable climax to succession. For example, because of redwoods of
California live to be hundreds of years old, ecologists traditionally believed that they
were a climax species. However, ecologists now believe that redwood forests that do not
undergo periodic disturbances, such as fire or windstorm, will eventually give way to a
forest of hemlocks, which thrive in the shade of the redwoods. However, if the hemlock
forest burns, it will grow back as a redwood forest, since redwoods have thick bark and
are fairly fire resistant.
Sometimes, people purposely hold back succession to allow one stage to dominate, as
when a farmer continually harvests and plows a field. Abandoned lots and neglected
lawns, as well as parks, all show signs of secondary succession. So when human cause
“setbacks” such as mowing or plowing are discontinued, new species of vegetation
appear or begin to dominate the landscape. What we call weeds, are the first stage of
secondary succession.
Materials: Chart paper, crayons, pencils, fencing (or rope), grass clippers, stakes,
hammers, string, colored felt, felt board, supply of clear plastic transparencies, permanent
or erasable ink markers, copies of student pages 309 and 310
Activities:
Read the following story
TREE TOPS VALLEY
Once upon a time, a boy and a girl lived with their parents at the edge of a beautiful green
valley in the Pacific Northwest. Their names were Sara and John.
The valley was filled with a vast evergreen forest. Its trees towered over the log cabin
where John and Sara lived. Sara and John loved the forest. Every day they went
exploring. They paddled in the forest’s cool streams and made trails under the giant
conifers.
They also liked to have picnics at the top of a hill near their home. Up there, they could
look down on the tops of the valley’s huge trees.
One day when they were up on the hill, they decided to give the valley a name. They
called it Tree Top Valley.
Then, in the middle of a hot summer day, everything changed. A lightning storm started a
fire in the forest. Luckily, the wind blew the flames away from Sara and John’s home.
But when the fire went out, they saw it had burned their Tree Tops Valley. All the trees
were burned. The tender little seedlings that had grown on the forest floor were gone. All
that was left was the burned remains of trees.
They both wanted to cry. Sara said, “I just can’t look at it. Our beautiful forest is gone
forever. I never want to sit on our hill again.” After the fire, the family moved away to a
settlement where other families lived. There were children there, and Sara and John made
new friends.
Then, five years after the fire, their father asked, “Why don’t we visit they valley? It
would be good to see it again.”
Sara and John didn’t want to go. They remembered how the valley had looked after the
fire. But they agreed, and one day, the family saddled their horses and rode up to the
valley.
What a surprise! This had happened since the fire. Winds had blown seeds into the
valley. Birds had dropped them from the air. The seeds have sprouted. Now, instead of
bar, burned ground, there were mosses, weeds, grasses, and ferns growing everywhere.
The children rode back home feeling much better about Tree Tops Valley.
The years went by. Before they knew it, Sara and John had grown up. The settlement
where they lived was much bigger now. John became a teacher and taught at the one
room school that the settlers had build.
Sara decided to be prospector. She had heard stories about people who were finding gold
farther north. So Sara bought supplies. She promised John she would write him.
John didn’t hear from Sara for many months. Then, finally, a letter arrived. In the letter,
Sara wrote, “On my way north, I passed through Tree Tops Valley. You would be
amazed at how the valley looks now! Our old cabin is still there, but everything else has
changed. The whole valley is full of berry bushes. I had a feast!”
The letter gave John an idea. He thought, “When I have children of my own, I’ll take
them berry picking in the valley. That would be fun!”
Soon after that, John got married. When his oldest son was 10 years old, he remembered
his idea. He took his family to the valley to pick berries. His children loved the valley.
But there were no berries to pick. Most of the bushes were gone.
Instead, the valley was filled with deciduous trees. John wrote to Sara about them. He
wrote, “There are lots of leafy green trees in the valley. And I saw some conifer
seedlings. The leafy trees have shaded the berry bushes and choked them out. I don’t
know what the trees are called, but they have made the valley all green again.”
May years passed, John’s children grew up and had families of their own. One summer,
when John was 75 years old, he received a letter from Sara, It read:
Dear John,
Remember how we loved Tree Tops Valley when we were young? Last month, I decided
to visit it again, before I get too old to make the trip. I was a long ride, but I made it! You
would be happy to see our valley now. It is beautiful!
Remember those leafy green trees you saw on your last trip there? Well, most of them are
gone. Now the valley is full of young coniferous trees. Who knows? Maybe our
grandchildren will see the valley looking the way we saw it.
Love,
Sara
The years went by. It was now 100 years since the fire had swept through Tree Tops
Valley.
One day, John’s granddaughter, Jennifer, was looking at some old family letters. She
found the letter Sara had written to John after her last visit to Tree Tops Valley.
“Look at this,” Jennifer said to her husband. “It’s a letter that belonged to my grandfather
John. His sister wrote it to him. It’s all about a place called Tree Tops Valley. I wonder if
we could find the valley. Why don’t we try?”
And that‘s what they did. Jennifer and her husband found the valley. They even found the
hill where Sara and John had taken their picnics.
For the hill, they could see tall conifers filling the whole valley. They climbed down and
explored. Jennifer and her husband didn’t know it, but Tree Tops Valley was well into
the long journey of rebuilding the same kind of forest that Sara and John had enjoyed so
many years before
Talk about the different stages of succession they were discussed in the story.
Take students out to an area where you can see the different stages if succession. Have
them look for animals and signs or sounds of animals. They should also look for evidence
of disturbance (such as erosion, tire tracks, fire, construction) that might have altered the
natural succession.
They can look for the following stages of succession:
Grasses and non-woody plants only
Grasses and woody and non-woody plants
Grasses and shrubs, with young tree saplings (stem less than ½ 1.3.cm)
Ground vegetation and young trees (stem ½ to 2” 1.3 to 5 cm)
Mature trees (stem greater than 2” 5 cm can still be under canopy
After they have found different stages of succession
Call the group together and define the stages of succession evident at your site. Discuss
what factors might alter succession at your site, including disease, insects, fire, wind,
lightning, pollution, and drought.
Divide the class into teams with three members each. Have them make miniature models
creating their own succession forest to mature trees. They can use broken branches to
show trees and shrubs, grass clippings to show grass.
Discussion Questions:
Wrap up/Reflection:
Weather Instruments
Subject: Weather Instruments
Grade(s):4-8
Topic: Weather
Objectives: Students will learn what instruments are used to forecast the weather,
and build these instruments
Background Information:
The Thermometer: Thermometers are used to measure exactly how hot or
cold it is outside. Place the thermometer so it is protected from the direct rays of
the sun. To get the extreme temperatures of the day, check the thermometer in
the early morning hours and at mid-afternoon.
Materials: clear, plastic bottle (11oz. water bottle works), water, rubbing alcohol,
clear plastic drinking straw, modeling clay, food coloring
Activities:
Although this thermometer will not tell you the temperature, it will show you how
thermometers work.
Make a thermometer
Fill about 1/4 of the bottle full with equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. Add
a few drops of food coloring. Put the straw in the bottle, but don't let it touch the
bottom. Use the modeling clay to seal the neck of the bottle, so the straw stays in
place. (Make sure the straw does not touch the bottom of the bottle.) Hold your
hands on the bottom of the bottle and watch the mixture move up through the
straw.
Explanation:
Why does this happen? Just like any thermometer, the mixture expanded when it
was warmed. This made the mixture no longer fit in the bottom of the bottle. As
the alcohol expanded the colored mixture moved up through the straw. If they
bottle were to get extremely hot, the mixture would have come up through the top
of the straw.
Background Information:
Barometer: Barometers measure the air pressure, which is sometimes referred to
as barometric pressure.
Make your own barometer
Materials: glass mayonnaise or canning jar, balloon, straw, toothpick, glue, index
card
Activities:
Stretch a piece of balloon over the glass jar.
Glue a straw sideways from the center of the balloon to the end of the jar.
Glue a toothpick to the end of the straw.
On an index card write ‘High’ on top and ‘Low’ on the bottom near the toothpick's
point. Watch and see what happens.
Explanation:
Barometers keep track of air pressure. When air pressure is high (which means
fair weather), the toothpick will point up because air will be pressing down on the
balloon. When air pressure is low (which means stormy weather is coming), the
toothpick will point down because air inside the jar will be pushing up against the
balloon.
Background Information:
The Rain Gauge: The rain gauge measures how much rain falls. Rainfall is
measured by the depth of water that would lie on the ground if none of the rain
escaped. Place your rain gauge out in the open.
Materials: Plastic water bottle for each student, paper clips, cutting tool,
measuring cup, marker
Activities:
•
•
•
•
•
Cut the top off of your plastic bottle. Cut about a quarter of the way down,
to where the bottle begins to have a consistent diameter. Be careful to cut
the edge as smoothly as possible, salvaging both pieces of the bottle.
Remove the bottle cap and turn the top part of the bottle upside down,
placing it into the bottom part. Connect the two halves with paper clips.
Place the plastic bottle rain gauge in a location where it will easily collect
rain without impediment from surrounding trees, plants or buildings.
Help your rain gauge stand upright by placing it in a sand or gravel filled
bucket. Simply make a hole in the sand or gravel large enough that half the
bottle gauge sits into the pit. Use the gravel or sand to support the edges of
the bottle gauge.
Measure out different amounts of water and mark them on your rain gage.
Background Information:
The Psychrometer: The psychrometer is used to determine relative humidity.
The relative humidity is the percent of water vapor in the air at a given
temperature as compared with the amount it could hold if it were saturated. For
example, air with a 50% relative humidity in just "half full" of water vapor.
The psychrometer consists of a dry and wet bulb thermometer placed side-byside. The relative humidity is determined by the difference between the dry and
the wet thermometer. In order to accurately determine the relative humidity, you
will need to use the relative humidity table.
Materials for each group: pint-sized milk carton-empty and clean, water, two
small thermometers, cotton shoelace, gauze, or cotton ball, string, clear tape
Activities:
The air is filled with invisible water vapor, but how much? This tool will allow you
to measure and find out.
1. Cut a piece of shoelace 1 inch long (2.54 centimeters) and pull it (or gauze or
cot- ton ball) over the bulb of one thermometer. Tie the shoelace in place so it
won’t fall off. Tape the thermometer to one side of the carton and get the shoelace
wet.
2. Tape the second thermometer to another side of the carton.
3. Punch two holes in the top of the carton (where the expiration date is
stamped). Thread a long piece of string through these holes and tie the ends
together to form a large loop.
4. Go outside and swing the carton overhead while holding onto the string. Do
this for one minute.
5. Quickly look at the temperatures on the two thermo- meters.
Write them down.
What’s going on
The temperature of the thermometer with the wet bulb is
always lower than the temperature of the thermometer with the dry bulb. This is
because water is evaporating from the wet bulb thermometer and cooling it
down. The difference between the two temperatures gives a clue to the amount of
water in the air. The bigger the difference the drier the air. The relative humidity
is 100% when it is raining and almost 0% in the driest deserts.
There’s more: Use the chart given here to
calculate the relative humidity of the air. If
you have room and can safely swing the
apparatus, try measuring the humidity in
the bathroom before and after you take a
shower.
Background information:
The Wind Vane: The wind vane is used to indicate the direction from which
the wind in blowing.
Materials: Sewing needle ~1 inch long for each student, small bar magnet. (refrigerator
magnets may work if you don't have a bar magnet), a small piece of cork or cut
out the bottom of a Styrofoam cup, or you can use the plastic cap from a juice
bottle or milk jug per student, a small glass or cup of water to float the cork and
needle per student, compass rose for each student
Wind sock materials: Cup or cardstock paper, crepe paper or tissue paper,
scissors, glue, hole punch
Activities:
How do you think we can figure out the direction of the wind? If you get your finger wet
and hold it up, often you can tell which direction it is blowing in. This activity will help
you to figure out the direction the wind is blowing.
Making a compass
Your compass will work better if you first run a magnet over the needle about 20 times,
always in the same direction. This action 'magnetizes' is to some extent. Drive the needle
through a piece of cork. Cork from wine bottles works well.
Cut off a small circle from one end of the cork, and drive the needle through it, from one
end of the circle to the other, instead of through the exact middle - be careful not to stick
yourself! If you don’t have cork you can float the needle over the cap or Styrofoam.
Float the cork + needle in your cup of water so the floating needle lies roughly parallel to
the surface of the water.
Place your 'compass' on a still surface and watch what happens. The needle should come
to point towards the nearest magnetic pole - north or south as the case may be.
Put the compass rose under the cup. Now move the compass rose till the needle lines up
with north.
Make a windsock
Roll up a piece of cardstock paper and fasten it in a cylindrical position, add crepe paper
or lengths of tissue paper around the bottom edge and fasten. Hole punch 2 opposite holes
in the top to put string and hang. Decorate if you wish.
Take your compass, compass rose and windsock outside. Line up north on your compass
rose with your compass. Hold up your windsock to determine which direction the wind is
blowing.
Background Information:
The Anemometer: The anemometer is used to determine the wind speed in
miles per hour. You will use the Beaufort Scale to determine wind speed.
Materials: Beaufort Wind Scale worksheet
Activities:
Now that we have determined wind direction, use this worksheet to figure out
wind speed.
Wrap up/Reflection: What different instruments can you to measure weather?
What do the different instruments tell you? What did you learn from reading the
different instruments?
Table of Contents
Click on the title to see the lesson
Human Habitat
Seventh Generation
Element Analysis
Permaculture Principles in Action
Shrinking Habitat
Zones
Water Audit
Rainwater Collection
Reusing Water
Solar Energy
Energy Audit
A Solar Oven
Simple Solar Collector
Water Wheel
Wind Energy
Making Cob
Insulation Testing
Wattle Fence
Plaster Mixes/Finishes
Human Habitat
THROUGHLINES
Human Habitat: Students will understand construction principles and how building practices affect their environments.
GENERATIVE TOPICS
Human Habitat: Students will learn factors in choosing appropriate building sites, utilizing and conserving water, optimizing the use of
energy, selecting environmentally preferable products, and applying natural building techniques. These practices are important in
reducing the impact of construction and development on the environment.
UNIT LEVEL UNDERSTANDING GOALS
PERFORMANCES OF UNDERSTANDING
1. Building Sites: Students will understand the
fundamentals of permaculture design, the importance
of placement, and interconnectedness of systems.
1. Building Sites: Students will use the principles of permaculture to design
appropriate systems that integrate cohesively. They will explore the long-term
effects of their choices and experiment with a variety of elements.
2. Natural Building: Students will explore different
building techniques and chose products that are
processed using sustainable practices. Students will
discover which methods work best in different areas
and why.
2. Natural Building: Students will compare different conventional and unconventional methods that are used in building. Students will experiment with
a series of natural building methods; earthen plaster, , cob, small round wood,
and straw bale. They will explore how these techniques work and the best
uses for these practices.
3. Utilizing/Conserving Water: Students will learn
ways to utilize and conserve water in a variety of
systems.
3. Utilizing/Conserving Water: Students will perform water audits to
assess household water use and opportunities for conservation. They will
integrate the assessment data into designs for rainwater catchment systems
and grey water systems.
4. Optimizing Energy: Students will learn the basic
principles of energy and energy generation systems.
They will learn to design energy systems that utilize
alternative sources of energy.
Aprovecho KIDS Program Unit Overview
4. Optimizing Energy: Students will use models to learn how solar, hydro,
and wind energy work. They will create and implement designs where they
integrate these energy systems into their building plans.
For more information contact: Jeremy Roth | [email protected] | 541.946.3194
Seventh Generation
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Permaculture Principles
Objectives: Students will understand how the impact of their decisions will affect
their grandchildren’s children
Background Information: Seven generation sustainability is an ecological
concept that urges the current generation of humans to live sustainably and work
for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future. It originated with the
Iroquois - Great Law of the Iroquois - which holds appropriate to think seven
generations ahead (a couple hundred years into the future) and decide whether
the decisions they make today would benefit their children seven generations into
the future.
Personal responsibility: Our actions affect our own lives, our families’ lives,
our friends’ lives and anyone else who has direct or indirect contact with us. Any
constructive sustainable actions that we do will create benefits for many. The
same is true of destructive actions; their affects will be felt far and wide.
Materials: Story about Morris woods for each group
Activities:
Students will look at the following scenario and try to think what would be the
best thing looking 7 generations into the future.
Morris Woods
Recently a citizen donated 250 acres (101 hectares) of nearby land to the town of
Morrisville. The land, known as Morris Woods, is completely covered with forest,
including about 100 acres (40.5 ha) of old-growth forest that is over 150 years old
and has very large trees. A nice stream flows through the forest and it has good
places for swimming. Deer, raccoon, frogs, salamanders, foxes, many different
birds, and other animals live in the forest.
Morrisville is a medium-sized, middle-class town. Many people who live their
work for a local lumber company, but a lot of people also work at a computerparts plant in a neigh- boring town. Many people work in Morrisville itself at the
schools and library and in all sorts of small businesses.
There are no zoning restrictions on Morris Woods, and the town council has to
decide what to do with the land. Some people want to preserve the entire area
with all of its animals and plants so that it can provide people with a “wilderness”
experience close to home. A developer has offered to buy the land and build a
shopping mall and luxury homes. A local forest management company has
offered to buy the land and sustainably manage it to provide forest products,
wildlife habitat, and scenic hiking trails.
What To Do
Imagine that you are a member of the Morrisville Town Council and it is your
responsibility to approve the best plan for Morris Woods. For each of the
following proposals presented to the Council, consider:
How would the next generations be effected by this choice?
What facts presented in the proposal support that land use?
What opinions are presented in the proposal?
What are the advantages of adopting the proposal?
What would be costs to the town or negative effects of the proposal?
Who benefits most from the proposal? Who would be most harmed by it?
If you adopted the proposal, what changes, if any, would you want to make
to it?
• What do you want to include in the proposal?
• Does this meet the needs of the people?
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Based on this information, decide whether your group will select one of these
proposals, or offer a compromise or alternate proposal.
Student Page
Proposal #1
Proposal: Morrisville should retain ownership of Morris Woods and manage it as
a protected natural area. The city should build and maintain hiking trails through
it so the people of Morrisville can enjoy it.
Perspective: Morris Woods is a unique area. Giant trees, some more than 100 feet
(30.5 m) tall and more than 30 feet (9 m) around, make up about 100 acres (40.5
ha) of the forest. Some of these trees are over 150 years old and were growing
long before Morrisville even existed. Walking among them is an incredible
experience. Many other plants and many different kinds of animals also live in
Morris Woods.
If we allow trees to be cleared for development, the habitat of those creatures will
be destroyed. Several kinds of fish breed in the streams that flow through Morris
Woods. Studies conducted in the woods just a year ago showed that those fish
depend on cool water and gravel bottoms to lay their eggs. If parts of the forest
are cleared and a vegetative buffer is not kept, the fish may not be able to breed
because (a) soil and other debris from the cleared land may wash into the streams
and cover the gravel; and (b) with fewer trees to shade the stream and condition
the air, temperatures in the stream will increase. Similar problems may result if
parts of the forest are managed for timber production. Morrisville doesn’t need a
mall. It has all the shops the townspeople need right in town. And if we did build
a mall, what would happen to all those business owners downtown? They’d go out
of business!
There are no forests as old and as large as Morris Woods anywhere in our region.
Why should the people of Morrisville sacrifice their natural heritage so some
business people can make a lot of money? Setting the land aside and maintaining
hiking trails will be the best thing for the people of Morrisville today, and for
future Morrisville residents.
Proposal #2
Proposal: Morrisville should sell Morris Woods to the Simpson Tree Farm, which
would manage the forest for multiple uses. Perspective: Simpson Tree Farm is
owned by a family forest landowner, which owns and manages much of the
forestland near Morrisville. Trees cut on the Tree Farm are processed into lumber
at the mill in Morrisville. That lumber is in high demand and is used for local
construction. We, at Simpson Tree Farm, offer to buy Morris Woods from the
city. We will manage it in a way that will sustain both commercial and ecological
benefits. We plan to set aside an area of old-growth forest and to establish a
buffer strip of forest around the stream to protect those important habitat areas.
In other parts of the forest, we will practice selective cutting. We will make sure
that tree cutting takes place under carefully controlled circumstances. Our
regular practice is to immediately replant areas where trees have been cut to
assure forest sustainability. We will allow hiking and other recreation in the
forest.
The money from the sale of Morris Woods will provide a much-needed economic
boost to Morrisville and could help education and social programs that have
suffered. It could also provide new jobs for foresters, scientists, loggers, truckers,
and mill workers.
Setting aside the entire forest as a wilderness park would lock up an important
and needed supply of inexpensive, high-quality wood—and we already have
several parks in and around Morrisville. The Morrisville area has plenty of retail
business, and forestland is too precious to waste.
Like other natural resources, forests should provide economic, social, and
ecological benefits at the same time. We can provide these benefits in a
sustainable way. If the land is developed for a mall and luxury homes, valuable
resources and wildlife habitat will be lost indefinitely. According to our
management plan, there will be minimal environmental trade-offs, and
Simpson’s long history of responsible forest management speaks for itself.
Proposal #3
Proposal: Morrisville should sell Morris Woods to the Morris Woods
Development Company to provide a shop- ping mall on a large tract and new
homes on the remaining portion while preserving its “forest character.”
Perspective: Shopping malls are very convenient places for people to shop; all the
stores are together under one roof and people can go from one store to another
without going outside—a big plus, especially in bad weather. Malls often contain
many national chains, offering shoppers more choices and very competitive
prices. Malls draw people from a wide area, and their shopping can mean big
money. So far, no one has built a shopping mall in Morrisville, or anywhere near
it. The closest mall is more than an hour’s drive away. The mall would take up
roughly 80 acres of land.
The Morris Woods shopping mall would be a great convenience to the people of
Morrisville and surrounding communities. The money generated from the sale of
the land and from property taxes could be used to improve Morrisville schools
and the town library, and to provide social services such as medical care and
affordable housing.
After building the mall, we at Morris Woods Development Company would build
luxury houses (at either 80 homes on 3 acre plots, 50 homes on 5 acre plots, or 25
homes on 10 acre plots) in another area of Morris Woods. Those houses would
provide families with beautiful homes in a wooded setting near town. Their
property taxes would also help schools, the library, and other social services.
Morris Woods Development Company plans to leave a buffer strip of forest
around the stream and to preserve an area of old-growth forest. The roads
through our development will be pleasant for walking or bicycling.
Locking up the entire woods as wilderness for a handful of nature enthusiasts is
not in the best public inter- est. Our development plan will make the land more
accessible for many different uses: recreation, leisure, shopping, commerce, and
homes. And why should Simpson Tree Farm be the sole beneficiary of land that
belongs to all of us? It is only fair that Morris Woods is developed in a way that
benefits the most people possible, and our proposal offers those benefits.
Discussion Questions: What proposal would you accept? Would you add changes
to it? If so, what kind? How would it look 7 generations into the future?
How would the next generations be effected by this choice? What facts presented
in the proposal support that land use? What opinions are presented in the
proposal? What are the advantages of adopting the proposal? What would be
costs to the town or negative effects of the proposal? Who benefits most from the
proposal? Who would be most harmed by it? If you adopted the proposal, what
changes, if any, would you want to make to it? What do you want to include in the
proposal? Does this meet the needs of the people?
Wrap up/Reflection: Our choices greatly impact those of the future. Have you
ever made a decision that you think would help those of future generations? How
about hurt? What were the choices that you made?
Element Analysis
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Permaculture Principles
Objectives: Students will learn the basic principles analyzing different elements
within a site.
Background Information:
• Energy planning: Place elements within your design in a way that will
conserve the most energy (this includes fertilizers, water and even human
labor). Utilize the energy and resources that you have, first on site and
later from the outside of the system, to save energy and money. Energy
sources around us include natural energy forces, like gravity, wind power
and waterpower.
• Energy cycling: In a natural system there is no waste or pollution. The
output from one natural process becomes the resource for another
process. Recycle and reuse resources as much as possible and as many
times as possible.
• Multiple elements: Support each vital and essential function in more
than one way, so that if one element fails, it will not stop other elements in
the process from functioning. Also, recognize that there is almost always
more than one way to manage any process.
• Multiple functions: Most things can be used in a variety of ways and for a
variety of functions. One main rule in Permaculture is to try to design at
least three uses for every element in a system. This will save space, time
and money.
• Relative location: Place every element of your design in relationships so
that they can receive benefits from each other. For example, store tools
near to the place where they will be used.
Materials: Sustainability Game, paper, pens, worksheet
Activities:
How does Everything Work Together? “What do we need for each element?”
“What products does each element give us?”
Each group of students will receive the game pieces for the sustainable
foundations game (do not give them the key). The students will also receive a
worksheet. Students will fill out the worksheet looking at each element and
deciding both what it needs and what it offers.
PRODUCTS
Family in
home
Well water
pump
Grid
Electricity
Hookup
Rainwater
storage tank
Fish in
greenhouse
tanks
Big pond
Cow in
pasture
Garden beds
Little pond
Chickens and
run
Fish for
ponds
Solar
electricity
panels (8)
Wind turbine
NEEDS
For Example:
CHICKEN NEEDS
Feed, shelter, water, protection from
predators, shade, medicines, friends
(other chickens), dry earth, fencing,
box for laying eggs, fresh air
CHICKEN PRODUCTS
Meat, eggs, manure, money,
feathers, work (weed and pest
management)
Chicken feed can come from:
• Kitchen food waste (garden products via the house)
• Weeds (garden product) •Pruning from trees (garden product)
• Rotten food (garden products via house)
• Diseased plants (garden products, giving them to chickens will stop disease
from spreading)
• Insects and bugs (product from building the chicken yard)
Products from the chickens can then fulfill the needs of other
systems, for example:
• Eggs, meat, money (needs of people)
• Feathers (needs for cultural ceremonies, handicraft material, bedding material)
• Chicken manure (needed for making compost to be used in the garden)
• Work (needed for managing weeds and as a ‘chicken tractor’)
Have students finish their worksheets and then discuss the following principles
• Energy planning: Place elements within your design in a way that will
conserve the most energy (this includes fertilizers, water and even human
labor). Utilize the energy and resources that you have, first on site and
later from the outside of the system, to save energy and money. Energy
sources around us include natural energy forces, like gravity, wind power
and waterpower.
• Energy cycling: In a natural system there is no waste or pollution. The
output from one natural process becomes the resource for another
process. Recycle and reuse resources as much as possible and as many
times as possible.
• Multiple elements: Support each vital and essential function in more
than one way, so that if one element fails, it will not stop other elements in
the process from functioning. Also, recognize that there is almost always
more than one way to manage any process.
• Multiple functions: Most things can be used in a variety of ways and for a
variety of functions. One main rule in Permaculture is to try to design at
least three uses for every element in a system. This will save space, time
and money.
• Relative location: Place every element of your design in relationships so
that they can receive benefits from each other. For example, store tools
near to the place where they will be used.
Now allow the students to design their system. When they are finished have them
discuss why they put the elements where they did. Which principles did they use?
Do they see any thing that others did that you would like to adapt to your own?
Wrap up/Reflection: Thinking outside of the box can really help in designing a
successful permaculture site. By looking at everything and being creative you are
able to create system that can be beneficial to all who are involved.
Permaculture Principles in Action
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Permaculture Principles
Objectives: Students will discover the principles of permaculture while exploring
the site.
Background Information:
Diversity: Aims to integrate a variety of beneficial types of food, plants and
animals into a design. This builds a stable interactive polyculture, which provides
for human needs, and other species needs as well.
Edge effect: In general, there is more energy and more diversity of life in the
space where two systems overlap. The edge effect happens in this space because it
receives benefits from both sides. Using the edge effect and other natural patterns
creates the best effect.
Biological resources: Use natural methods and processes to achieve all tasks.
Find materials in nature (plants, animals, bacteria), which support the system
design and conserve the need for energy from outside the system.
Cooperation not competition: Cooperation between people promotes
community involvement, trading between members of the community, shared
and improved knowledge and skills. Through cooperation many benefits can be
achieved. Cooperation is important on all levels, in the family, in the village, in
the districts and as a whole nation. Competition, on the other hand, creates
conflict, jealousy and anger within communities especially if a resource is scarce.
A good example is water use; usually the end result is that a few people have a lot
while the rest receive only a little.
Materials: Cameras or drawing paper for each group and pens, list of principles
being taught, computer, projector
Activities: Discuss the different principles with students.
• Diversity: Aims to integrate a variety of beneficial types of food, plants and
animals into a design. This builds a stable interactive polyculture, which
provides for human needs, and other species needs as well.
• Edge effect: In general, there is more energy and more diversity of life in
the space where two systems overlap. The edge effect happens in this space
because it receives benefits from both sides. Using the edge effect and
other natural patterns creates the best effect.
• Biological resources: Use natural methods and processes to achieve all
tasks. Find materials in nature (plants, animals, bacteria), which support
the system design and conserve the need for energy from outside the
system.
• Cooperation not competition: Cooperation between people promotes
community involvement, trading between members of the community,
shared and improved knowledge and skills. Through cooperation many
benefits can be achieved. Cooperation is important on all levels, in the
family, in the village, in the districts and as a whole nation. Competition,
on the other hand, creates conflict, jealousy and anger within communities
especially if a resource is scarce. A good example is water use; usually the
end result is that a few people have a lot while the rest receive only a little.
Give examples of what they look like, and be sure that students have a clear
picture. You may want to walk around to show examples. Break groups up into 2
to 4 students. Have them take pictures, or draw pictures of the permaculture
principles that were introduced. Give students some time to explore (chaperoning
as needed) and then meet the end of their time.
Have students share their pictures/drawings with the rest of the group.
Explaining which principle they saw and how it was being executed.
Discussion Questions: What demonstrated principle did another group see that
you missed? What interesting thing did you observe? Thinking about your home,
can you give an example of a principle?
Wrap up/Reflection: Thinking outside of the box can really help in designing a
successful permaculture site. By looking at everything and being creative you are
able to create system that can be beneficial to all who are involved.
Shrinking Habitat
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Principles of Permaculture
Objectives: Students will understand how human impact effects wildlife and their
habitat.
Background Information:
See solutions, not problems: Every problem that we are faced with has a
solution. Often, the problem can contain within itself a solution. For example,
turning weeds into compost and mulch, and using manure as a valuable resource
for increasing soil fertility.
In this lesson we are going to identify the problem, analyze it and then look at
solutions.
All around us and all over the planet, wildlife habitat is being lost. Whenever an
area of land is paved for a shopping center, divided and excavated for homes for
people, or plowed to crop, small animals lose their homes and frequently their
sources of food and water. As these small animals disappear, so too do the larger
animals that previously depended on the smaller animals in the food web as a
source of food. Animals that cannot tolerate human intervention for other
reasons may also disappear (e.g., see the Project WILD activity "Too Close for
Comfort").
Students can observe the changes in wildlife habitat near their homes, near
schools, or in their region of the country either directly or by studying maps or
historical photographs. Development of land areas is happening in large
ecosystems and in small ones all over the Earth. For example, many wetlands on
the planet have been filled in and drained to make land for farms, homes, and
businesses. In the coastal states of the United States alone, more than half
(roughly 55 million acres) of wetlands have been destroyed, and most of the
prairie potholes in the upper Midwest and west have been lost.
When those wetlands are gone, many kinds of water birds, reptiles, amphibians,
crustaceans, and other life forms-including a wide variety of vegetation-are lost.
Sometimes the animal forms can move on; most often they cannot. Nationally,
more than half of the animal and one-third of the plant species listed under the
Endangered Species Act depend on wetlands. Tropical forests, whether evergreen
rainforests or deciduous mountain forests, are being damaged by ever-expanding
human populations. Unfortunately, this is happening before scientists have
thoroughly studied those forests' contributions to Earth's natural processes.
Scientists estimate that large tropical forests are home to numbers of plant and
animal species that have not even been identified as yet. Such forests are
tremendously important sources of Earth's biological diversity. It is estimated
that together, the remaining tropical forests contain at least half of the world's
biodiversity (estimated 3.5 to 30 million species of plants and animals), though
they cover less than 7 percent of the land's surface. The purpose of this activity is
for students to simulate some of the potential impacts of land development on
wildlife and its habitat, to recognize that this process is one that is taking place in
areas all over the planet, and to understand that loss of habitat is generally
considered to be the most critical problem facing wildlife today.
Materials: Green and blue construction paper; classroom desks, tables, or chairs;
five or six large bed sheets or blankets for a student group of about 25 (If this
activity is conducted outdoors, hula hoops or string can be substituted for desks,
tables, or chairs to designate habitat areas.)
Activities:
Procedure
1. Review with the students the elements necessary for a habitat (food, water,
shelter, and space arranged suitably for the particular animal). After some
discussion to make sure that the elements of habitat are clear, tell the students
that in this activity they will be simulating wildlife in its habitat.
2. Divide the group into four teams: herbivores, carnivores, vegetation (e.g., trees,
shrubs, grasses, etc.), and people who will be land developers. If students are not
familiar with the terms "herbivore" and "carnivore," provide them with working
definitions of those terms herbivore: a plant-eating animal; carnivore: a meateating animal; and, although not needed for this activity, omnivore: an animal
that eats both plants and animals). Plan for three times as many herbivores as
carnivores, with a small number of developers in proportion to the other two
groups. The numbers (amount) of vegetation may vary. For example, two
developers, three carnivores, nine herbivores, and six trees or bushes
(vegetation).
3. Establish a large area-either in the classroom with tables, chairs, and desks
moved to the sides of the room, or outside-that can be used to simulate the
wildlife habitat area before development. The "land developers" are to stay on the
sidelines at this time, simply observing the undeveloped land and its wildlife
inhabitants-or to meet on their own nearby, as they make plans for development.
4. Provide each "herbivore" with two desks or chairs (or string or hula hoops) to
use as "shelter," three pieces of green construction paper to represent food, one
piece of blue construction paper to represent water, and some of the vegetation
portrayed by students. Provide each "carnivore" with one desk or chair (or string
or hula hoop) to use as a "lair,'' space equivalent to that used by three herbivores,
three herbivores as a potential food source; one piece of blue construction paper
to represent water, and some of the vegetation portrayed by students.
5. Ask the "herbivores" to arrange the food, water, and shelter-including the
students who are "vegetation H-in a space to represent their habitat. Once the
herbivores have arranged their habitat, ask the "carnivores" to move into the area
to establish their lairs and water sources, keeping an eye on the herbivores as
possible food sources. For added interest, suggest that the students identify what
particular kind of animal they are and role-play its characteristics. (This phase
takes about 10 minutes, with the developers planning while the herbivores and
carnivores arrange their habitats.)
6. Once all the animals are established in their habitats, it is time for the
developers to enter the picture. These developers have been given the
opportunity to create a housing and shopping area. (They may use 3 to 7 minutes
to construct their development, explaining their actions as they take them.) They
are restricted in how much space they can use. They may use the space equivalent
to that used by three herbivores. The developers may use the sheets and blankets
to build their development. They may remove trees (represented by students)
without physically hurting the students, shelter (represented by desks), food, and
water.
7. Once they have constructed their development, engage all students in a
discussion of what happened. What action took place? With what consequences?
Would or did any animals die? From what causes? Could the developers have
done anything differently to change the consequences? Could they have
developed several scattered small areas instead of one large area, or vice versa,
with what effects? Would it have reduced negative consequences for wildlife if
they put the development in a different area of their habitat?
8. Rather than negative consequences, were there positive consequences? If so,
what were they? How were they achieved? Ask the students to consider and
discuss what seemed realistic about the activity and what did not. For example,
sometimes development can take place that enhances the area for some kinds of
wildlife. Often, however, it will not be the same kinds of wildlife that were in the
area before development. Planners and developers can sometimes add to the
vegetation in an area, creating additional shelter and food for some kinds of
wildlife and can make water sources available under some conditions, if there is
insufficient water in the area.
9. Ask the students to summarize some of the possible effects on wildlife from
human activities such as the development of land areas. Are there places in your
community where wildlife habitat has been lost to human development? Are
there places where wildlife habitat has been enhanced by human activity? What
choices, if any, are there to the development of previously undeveloped areas?
What trade-offs are involved, for example, in developing vacant areas within
communities rather than undeveloped areas outside of communities? If
development does take place, what kinds of actions can people take to minimize
the negative consequences for wildlife, vegetation, and other elements of the
environment? What about possible economic, social, ecological costs, or aesthetic
costs and so on? Discuss loss of habitat as something that is affecting wildlife all
over the planet. Ask the students to summarize the importance of suitable habitat
for wildlife. Discuss the students' concerns and recommendations.
Discussion Questions: Do you have enough habitat remaining to survive? Can
you move to a new habitat? Are you going to have trouble finding food? Will you
now be more easily caught by a predator? Have you lost your nesting or birthing
area for your young? Has your drinking water supply been lost or damaged? Do
you think you could become a species at risk? What happens to all of the people
who can’t find housing in the community? How does the community continue to
provide all the things that make people happy (e.g., soccer pitches, hockey arenas,
etc.)? What do you believe would happen if more habitat were removed (e.g., half
of the remaining forest ecosystem)?
Activity #2
Habitat Observation
Materials: Wildlife habitat worksheet, pencils
What have you seen in your neighborhood change that may have impacted
habitat?
New buildings being built, new roads, bridges, houses
How do you think this has impacted wildlife?
Students will create a habitat for wildlife.
Pick an animal out and observe it. It could be a bird, bug, or any other animal
that you find. What is it doing? What do you think it needs to survive?
How can we create that? With your animal in mind think about what it needs?
Food: Experts typically recommend stocking your wildlife habitat with native
plants tailored to survive in a particular climate, and ones that can hold up in a
drought. By planting a variety of flora, you'll encourage visits from the birds, the
bees and many other species in between. Consider a mix of plants that produce
nectar, nuts, berries, seeds, fruits and other succulent snacks throughout the
year. You can supplement the food that grows naturally with feeders, especially in
the cold season.
Water: Water is fundamental to animal survival. Your new four-legged friends
need it for drinking, bathing, and in some cases, for reproducing. The water must
be clean and can come from natural sources or man-made ones. If you have a
pond or a stream on your property, you're way ahead of the game, but the rest of
you shouldn't despair. You can install ponds, set up birdbaths or create butterfly
puddling areas (shallow, rocky mud puddles). In the winter, heated birdbaths
should lure animals to your yard.
Shelter: Imagine layers of blossoming ground cover, clusters of tall flowers,
winding tracks of shrubbery, and trees of all sizes. A heap of scrap wood, a fallen
tree nestled in one corner near the compost pile and some bushy shrubs provide a
perch for birds awaiting their turn in the bath. Birdhouses and roosting boxes can
house potential tenants, and you can't go wrong with natural havens like rock
piles, brush heaps and hollowed out logs. For bees, creating a shelter can be as
easy as drilling several small holes most of the way through a block of wood.
Then, just hang it up where it's safe from the elements, like under the eaves of
your house or shed.
Space: Many species tend to be territorial, so you'll want to provide enough
supplies to keep everybody happy. This can involve duplicating resources (like
hanging more than one hummingbird feeder) or supplying a variety of offerings
(like giving squirrels their own feeders so they'll leave the birds' food alone). It's a
good idea to gauge how the animals are interacting with each other and their
environment, both in your yard and beyond, to understand how you might meet
their needs better.
Projects for creating habitat
Survey the given area. Fill in the checklist to discover what types of things this
area provides for wildlife
Provides
Trees
Bushes
Flowers
Plants with
berries, seeds,
or nuts
Large or flat
rocks, rock
walls
Water source
Grassy area
Nesting Hiding
spots
spots from
predators
√
√
√
√
Protection
from
weather
Food
Drinking Spot to
water
cool off
or
warm
up
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
SurveyWhat is
in your
spot
Shady area
with cool,
moist soil
Dead standing
trees
Pile of brush
or leaves
Weedy area
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
√
What doe the area already have?
What does the area still need?
Activity #3
Creating Wildlife Habitat
Materials: Logs, brush, pinecones, peanut butter, bird seed (sunflower seeds),
string
Building a shelter for wildlife
To make the base, place two to four layers of logs at right angles (logs should be
about 4 to 6 inches apart on each layer), or bring the butt ends or four trees
together so that the canopies form an outer circle. Brush clippings should cover
the base and touched the ground and allow appropriate 6 inches of clearance at
several points along the base. The size of the brush piles and unspecific function
requirements for targeted species.
Bird Feeders
Another way to entice animals is to make opportunities for food. Gather wild
seeds, nuts, and berries (be sure none are poisonous to humans). Also gather
pinecones. Take pinecone and smear with peanut butter. Add seeds, nuts and
berries, to pine cone. You can also add sunflower seeds from pantry. Tie a string
around the top and hand in wildlife habitat area.
Students may also look around to see what could improve the area and gather
those supplies to add new features to the wildlife habitat.
Wrap up/Reflection: Do you have wildlife habitat at your home? What features
do you have? What could you do to attract more wildlife?
Zones
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Permaculture Principles
Objectives: Students will learn about zones and how the elements work into
them.
Background Information:
Zone Zero: The Home landscape
Frequent daily visits - The innermost circle, or Zone 0, represents the focal point
of activity in the system. In a small farm this is usually the home. It is the
“hottest” area of human activity, symbolized in our diagram by the color red!
If we are going to achieve energy efficiencies it makes sense to place those
elements of our system that must be visited the most often within Zone 0: the
house, attached glasshouse or shadehouse, as well as house integrated living
components such as pergola-trained vines, potted plants and companion animals.
Zone One: The Home Garden
Regular daily visits - Within 6 meters (20 feet) or so of the house, in Zone 1,
should be placed those elements that require close observation, frequent visiting,
high work input or continual complex techniques.
The aim of Zone 1 is to yield household self-sufficiency and climate control for the
home. Zone 1 is also the first Zone that should be developed on your site:
And so, elements such as rainwater tanks, the lemon tree, other dwarf or
espalier-grown multi-graft fruit trees, chicken laying boxes, small ponds, culinary
herbs, worm farm for recycling of household wastes, intensive, fully mulched
vegetable beds of quick growing annuals, seedling raising areas, and small, quiet
domestic animals like fish, rabbits and pigeons can be kept very close at hand
within the home garden.
Zone Two: The Home Orchard
Attended every few days - Zone 2 is a little less intensively managed. Suitable
elements to place here are spot mulched home orchards, longer cycle vegetables,
main crop beds (for trading), and forage ranges for closely managed livestock
such as poultry and milking goats or cows. Since they are visited daily for
milking, feeding and supervising, the livestock and poultry shelters of Zone 2
often adjoin Zone 1. This Zone may be extended along frequently used paths
through more outlying zones.
Zone Three: The Farm
Attended weekly to monthly - Broader scale commercial crops, and animals
raised for trade, along with natural trees, dams, windbreaks and barns belong.
This area is managed with soil conditioning, green manure crops and manure
from Zone 2.
Zone Four: Managed Forest and lifestyle sustainability
Attended infrequently - Hardy, self-care forests and woodlots that are visited
infrequently for wood collection, log harvest and wild harvest belong in far flung
corners of the property, and can act as buffers to protect Zone 5 wilderness areas.
It may also be used occasionally to pasture animals.
Zone Five: Wilderness good life style
Visited occasionally for recreation and appreciation - This is the component of
the site left for nature. It comprises natural forest and native remnant and
rehabilitated flora and fauna and can be linked to the home garden by a wildlife
corridor extension.
Materials: Game pieces for the sustainability game, paper with zones outlines
Activities:
Create groups of 2-4 people. Give each group game pieces from the sustainability
game. Explain the different zones, and answer questions about them. Give each
group a zone map outline. Have students place the sustainability game pieces
(elements) on the map in any way, so they may design their own farm. Explain
how the different placed elements are connected to each other.
Wrap up/Reflection: Placing things where it is easier saves time and energy when
working. This model can be generalized into many aspects of life, creating a flow
throughout activities.
Water Audit
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Utilizing and Conserving Water
Objectives: Students will calculate their water needs and estimate how much
water their family uses in a given week.
Background Information:
A water audit is a thorough examination of the accuracy of water agency records
or accounts (volumes of water) and system control equipment; used to determine
water distribution system efficiency; overall goal is to identify and verify water
and revenue losses in a water system
• It is important to realize that water use throughout the year often varies
with the season.
• Most people use more water in the warmer months for gardening, washing
cars, and other outdoor uses. If you conduct your water audit in the winter
or fall, you should still consider the additional water you use in the
summer months.
• The American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates that the average
indoor water use per person is 94 gallons of water per day; this does not
take into account outdoor water use (watering lawns, washing cars).
Materials: Water Audit Worksheet, pens or pencils, calculators, container,
measuring cup, washing machine and hose (optional)
Activities:
Students will perform a water audit. They will measure several faucets and
calculate gallons per minute. If you choose you may also calculate the washing
machine. If you choose not to, use the following information: 44 gallons per load
for a top loading washing machine, 21 gallons per load for a side loading washing
machine, 9 gallons per load for an energy-efficient dishwasher, 30 gallons per
load for a regular dishwasher.
Be sure to record all findings.
Estimating Water Use
Measure all the water used, indoor and outdoor, to accurately estimate the
quantity of water used. To determine how much you consume water in your home
it is necessary to measure water flow from each fixture in your house:
• To calculate flow for faucets (indoor and outdoor) and showerheads, turn
faucet to the normal flow rate that you use, and hold a container under the
tap for 10 seconds and measure the quantity of water in the container.
Multiply the measured quantity of water by 6 to calculate the gallons per
minutes (gpm).
• To calculate flow for toilets, turn off the water supply to the toilet, mark the
water line on the inside of the tank, flush, and then fill tank with water
from tap. Measure the volume of water that is required to fill water back
up to the water line mark on the tank and record this number. Turn water
on to the toilet to resume normal use.
• Take the hose to your washing machine and put it into a 55-gallon drum.
Measure how much water the washing machine uses.
Water Audit
1. Showers: How many showers does your family take a day? About how long is
each one? Add the figures and fill in your answer.
___________ X ___________=
Number of showers
Number of Minutes
Total shower time per day
2. Baths: How many baths does your family take a day? A half-full tub is about
18 gallon; a full tub is about 36 gallons. Add the figures and fill in your answer.
___________ X __________=
Number in family
Number of baths
Total baths per day
3. Toilets: How many times a day does your family flush the toilet? (The average
is four flushes per person.) Add the figures and fill in your answer.
__________ X __________=
Number in family
Flushes per day
Total flushes per day
4. Tooth Brushing. Most family members brush their teeth at least twice a day
for about two minutes each time. Leaving the faucet on while brushing your teeth
wastes a lot of water. How often does you family brush?
__________ X ___________= __________
Number in family
Number brushes per day
Number of brushes per day
___________ X 2 minutes each brush =
Total brushers per day
Total brushing time per day
5. Hand Dishwashing. How many times a day does your family was dishes by
hand? About how long does the water run each time?
________
X ________
=
Times dishes Washed per day
Minutes water run
Total washing time per day
6. Dishwasher. Answer this question only if you have a dishwasher.
How many times a week does your family run the dishwasher?
_______:
/ 7 days per week=
Average uses per day
Uses per week
7. Laundry. Answer only if you have a washing machine.
How many loads of laundry does your family do each week?
______:
/ 7 days per week =
Average loads per day
loads per week
8. Other Indoor Water Uses. Your family also uses water indoors in other
ways. List some of these ways below.
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
9. Lawn Watering. How many times a week does your family water the lawn?
About how many minutes do you water each time?
______
X _______=
________________
Watering days per week
watering minutes per day
Total Minutes per week per week
__________________ :/ 7 days per week=
Average watering time per day
Total watering minutes per week
10. Other Outdoor Uses. Your family may use water outdoors in other ways.
List some of them below.
________________________________________________
________________________________________________
11. How Much water is used if each family member uses another ten
gallons a day?
_________ X 10 gallons =
Number in family
Total galls per day for other uses
Figure your family’s total daily use
• Put your answers from the water drops on this page in the third column
below.
• Multiply columns 2 and 3.
• Put your answers in column 4.
• This is the amount of water your family uses daily for each activity.
• Next, add column 4.
• This is the estimate of the total gallons of water your family uses daily.
Water use activity
1. Showers
2. Baths
3. Tooth brushing
4. Toilet Flushing
5. Hand Dishwashing
6. Dishwasher
7. Laundry
8. Other Indoor Use
9. Lawn Watering
Total Use per day
Gallons or
minutes per use
Minutes or uses
per day
Total Water use
per day
Discussion Questions: What is your Water usage? How could you reduce your
water usage? Where there areas that surprised you?
Wrap up/Reflection: Recognizing your water usage and needs is an important
step in being able to reduce your consumption. Leaks and other unknown water
expenses can add up and is an unnecessary cost. Remember city water pays for
both water and sewage (water fee is doubled) regardless how you reuse your
water. The less water you use the more money you will save.
Rainwater Collection
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Rainwater Collection
Objectives: Students will calculate how much rainwater falls on a given roof. They
will then divert rainwater into different systems in a model.
Background Information:
Rainwater harvesting is the accumulating and storing, of rainwater. It has
been used to provide drinking water, water for livestock, water for irrigation or to
refill aquifers in a process called groundwater recharge. Rainwater collected from
the roofs of houses, tents and local institutions, can make an important
contribution to the availability of drinking water.
Materials: Models, worksheet for calculating rainwater collection, measuring
tape, calculators, watering can, collection tray, measuring cup
Activities:
Use the scale 1 inch = 2 feet
1. Break your roof into squares that are easily measured. Use your measuring tape
to measure the length and width of each square that you have identified. When
you have measured each square add your results. Multiply this area by 2 (for
scale) this is the total area of your roof (C).
2. Research the historical weather data in your area to find the average inches of
rainfall per year. (45 inches)
3. Multiply collection area's (C) square footage by the average inches of rainfall
(R). You will then come up with a total (T).
4. Divide the total (T) by the number 12. This will give you the cubic feet of
rainfall per year (F).
5. Multiply the cubic feet of rainfall (F) by 7.43. This will convert the cubic feet to
gallons.
Using the model make a plan for water collection. Measure the water in the
watering can using a measuring glass (or pint or quart jar). Write down this
number. Design a system to catch the rainwater. You may use ponds, swales
(swales are decompressions or ditches that direct the water along the contour of
the land), and a water tank. Put your collection tray at the bottom of the model.
Try to maximize the use of your rainwater winding it through garden beds,
ponds, and into your rainwater collection tank. Pour the water from the watering
can. Once the water has run through your entire model measure what is in your
collection tray.
Discussion Questions: How much water did you use? Could you redesign your
system to use more water? How much water is in your collection tray? Do you
think you would have much erosion from your current model?
Wrap up/Reflection: In Oregon we are able to catch a lot of rainwater.
Maximizing the use of rainwater will help reduce costs of water usage.
Reusing water
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Reusing water
Objectives: Students will understand what greywater is and learn steps to
incorporate it into their water consumption.
Background Information: Meeting water demand and supplying water for future
generations is a significant challenge for the water industry. Although water
scarcity is an issue of critical importance in drier areas.
1. Communities across our nation are increasingly experiencing water shortages,
calling into question the longevity of a national water supply that is threatened by
droughts, consumption patterns and continued population growth. By the year
2015, it is estimated that 36 states will face serious water shortages.
2. Water demand is expected to soon outpace water supply in mega-cities like Los
Angeles. Water reuse offers an essential, viable and drought-proof solution for
managing our critically limited natural resources.
Materials: water use charts, calculators, pens
Activities:
Ask for suggestions on how we can re-use the water that we are currently usinggrey water.
* Water your grass and landscaping.
* Flush your toilet - you certainly don't need potable water for that!
* Hydrate your compost pile.
* Water your houseplants.
* Treat your greywater and use it to nourish your garden
Discuss what gray water is. Greywater is the leftover water from baths, showers,
hand basins and washing machines.
Knowing what we know, how many gallons of water could we reduce in our
consumption by using greywater?
Use the quick water audit to get an idea of how much water you use. Then we are
going to figure out how much water we could save by reusing our greywater.
To find our how much water you use, fill in the number of minutes or uses for
each use in the "minutes column" number 4. Then using the correct column
(regular or water-saving) multiply by the number of minutes or uses a day and
put the result in column 5. Add up the amounts in column 5 to get the total.
With waterFixture or water
With regular
Minutes or Total water use
saving fixture
use
fixtures you use:
uses per day
per day
you use:
Column 1
Shower
Bath
Running faucet
Washing machine
Dishwasher
Column 2
7 gallons per
minute
28-36 gallons for
full tub
3 gallons per
minute
40-55 gallons per
load
15 gallons per load
Column 3
Column 4
Column 5
2.5 gallons per
minute
14-18 gallons for
1/2 tub
2 to 2.5 gallons
per minute
18-25 gallons a
load
Lawn watering
3 to 10 gallons per
minute
Toilet
6 gallons per flush 1.6 gallons per
flush
Tooth brushing with 3 gallons per
1.5 gallons per
water running
minute
minute
Hand dishwashing 3 gallons per
2.2 gallons per
minute
minute
Other uses
10 gallons per
minute
Now lets look at how much water you could save
Gallons of water that must be white water (potable) and that produce grey water
Example: Rushing teeth + showering+ washing dishes = ___________ gallons
Gallons of water that may be greywater
Example: toilet + laundry + house plants + lawn = ____________ gallons
Gallons of water that must be white water - Gallons of water that may be
greywater = _________ water you can save
*Note: you must have enough grey water to if not you will need to add potable
water or store it and save it.
Activity
White
water
(potable)
Brushing teeth
X
Showering/Bathing
X
Toilet
X
Washing dishes
X
Laundry
X
Watering house
X
plants
Lawn
X
Watering Garden
X
Greywater Creates
water type
X
X
X
X
X
Can I
reuse
this?
Grey water
Yes
Greywater
Yes
Blackwater
No
Blackwater
No
Greywater
Yes
-
-
Discussion Questions:
How many gallons of white water do you need per day?
How many gallons of gray water do you need per day?
How much of the water can you reuse?
What was the total number of gallons that you were able to reduce your
consumption?
Wrap up/Reflection: Think about ways the contents of water. You can do both
big and small things. Do you let the water run while you brush your teeth or
shave? Do you run your clothes washer or dishwasher before it is fully loaded? Do
you take long showers or baths? Do you use a dishpan or plug the sink when
washing and rinsing dishes by hand? Do you pre-rinse your dishes prior to
loading them in the dishwasher? Do you have an automatic shut-off nozzle on
your outdoor hose? Do you water your plants during the coolest part of the day?
Solar Energy
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Optimizing Energy
Objectives: Students will use solar cells and calculate how much wattage they
generate
Background Information:
Photovoltaic Electricity
Photovoltaic comes from the words photo meaning “light” and volt, a
measurement of electricity. Sometimes photovoltaic cells are called PV cells or
solar cells for short. You are probably already familiar with solar cells. Solarpowered calculators, toys, and telephone call boxes all use solar cells to convert
light into electricity.
Solar cells are made up of silicon, the same substance that makes up sand. Silicon
is the second most common substance on earth. Solar cells can supply energy to
anything that is powered by batteries or electrical power.
Electricity is produced when sunlight strikes the solar cell, causing the electrons
to move around. The action of the electrons starts an electric current. The
conversion of sunlight into electricity takes place silently and instantly. There are
no mechanical parts to wear out.
You won’t see many photovoltaic power plants today. Compared to other ways of
making electricity, photovoltaic systems are expensive.
How a Photovoltaic Cell Works
Step 1 A slab (or wafer) of pure silicon is used to make a PV cell. The top of the
slab is very thinly diffused with an “n” dopant such as phosphorous. On the base
of the slab a small amount of a “p” dopant, typically boron is diffused. The boron
side of the slab is 1,000 times thicker than the phosphorous side. Dopants are
similar in atomic structure to the primary material. The phosphorous has one
more electron in its outer shell than silicon, and the boron has one less. These
dopants help create the electric field that motivate the energetic electrons out of
the cell created when light strikes the PV cell.
The phosphorous gives the wafer of silicon an excess of free electrons; it has a
negative character. This is called the n-type silicon. The n-type silicon is not
charged—it has an equal number of protons and electrons—but some of the
electrons are not held tightly to the atoms. They are free to move to different
locations within the layer.
The boron gives the base of the silicon a positive character, because it has a
tendency to attract electrons. The base of the silicon is called p-type silicon (p =
positive). The p-type silicon has an equal number of protons and electrons; it has
a positive character but not a positive charge.
Step 2 Where the n-type silicon and p-type silicon meet, free electrons from the
n-layer flow into the p-layer for a split second, then form a barrier to prevent
more electrons from moving between the two sides. This point of contact and
barrier is called the p-n junction.
When both sides of the silicon slab are doped, there is a negative charge in the ptype section of the junction and a positive charge in the n-type section of the
junction due to movement of the electrons and “holes” in at the junction of the
two types of materials. This imbalance in electrical charge at the p-n junction
produces an electric field between the p-type and n-type.
Step 3 If the PV cell is placed in the sun, photons of light strike the electrons in
the p-n junction and energize them, knocking them free of their atoms. These
electrons are attracted to the positive charge in the n-type silicon and repelled by
the negative charge in the p-type silicon. Most photon- electron collisions actually
occur in the silicon base.
Step 4 A conducting wire connects the p-type layer to electrical application such
as a light or battery, and then back to the n-type layer, forming a complete circuit.
As the free electrons are pushed into the n-type silicon they repel each other
because they are of like charge. The wire provides a path for the electrons to move
away from each other. This flow of electrons is an electric current that can power
a load, such as a calculator or other device, as it travels through the circuit from
the n-type to the p-type.
In addition to the semi-conducting materials, solar cells consist of a top metallic
grid or other electrical contact to collect electrons from the semi-conductor and
transfer them to the external load, and a back contact layer to complete the
electrical circuit.
Materials: Solar cells, dc generator, lamp, voltmeter, light bulbs, worksheet
Optional: results from the energy audit
Activities:
Put students in groups of 2 or 3. Give each group a solar cell, dc motor and if
possible a voltage meter. Have students wire the solar cells to the dc motor. Put a
lamp at a given point. If it is a sunny day go outside!! Then have students use the
voltmeter to record how many watts the solar cell produces. Record this
information. Put an opaque gel (representing cloud cover) in front of the lamp.
Have them record their findings again.
Have 2 or 3 groups of students wire their cells together in a series and calculate
how much wattage they generate.
If students have done the energy audit, have them calculate how many solar cells
they would need to accommodate all their needs.
If they have not done the energy audit you may either use the chart or the energy
meter to calculate a few appliances and figure out how many solar cells you would
need to run these.
Discussion Questions: How much energy did you generate from one? How much
energy did you generate from two, more? Were you surprised by this result? How
many cells would you need to generate enough energy for the appliance you
researched? What was the difference when it was cloudy (opaque gel)?
Wrap up/Reflection: Solar cells are best where there is a constant sun. The
Oregon winter is not going to generate nearly as much energy as the Oregon
summer. For this reason, it is a good idea to look at multiple forms of energy to
produce enough power to generate year long.
Energy Audit
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Optimizing energy
Objectives: Students will look at their energy usage and calculate how much
energy they use.
Background Information: A home energy assessment, also known as a home
energy audit, is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes
and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy
efficient. An assessment will show you problems that may, when corrected, save
you significant amounts of money and energy over time.
Materials: Energy Meter, load evaluation form worksheet, calculator, lots of
common appliances
Activities:
Common appliances
Cell phone
CD player
MP3 player
Video game console
Air conditioning
Battery charger
Blender
Clock
Clothes Dryer
Coffee maker
Computer
Computer monitor
Laptop
Lights
Iron
Dishwasher
DVD player
Hairdryer
Hot water Heater
Compact fluorescent
light
Incandescent light
Microwave oven
Radio
Oven
Space heater
Toaster
Toaster oven
Vacuum cleaner
Washing machine
Box fan
Heater
Give each student a load evaluation worksheet. Pair them up in groups of 2 or 3
depending on how many energy meters you have. Have students guess which
appliances will use the most energy. Give students some time to brainstorm
different appliances that use electricity in their home. Give them the list above as
a guide. Have them write down the appliances on their worksheet. Also have
them write down the average hours (divide for minutes) a day. Have students
plug in different appliances to the energy meter and write down watts how many
watts they have used. If you are unable to find an appliance, use the following
chart as a guide of averages.
Appliance
Air Conditioner (Room) 6,000
BTU
Air Conditioner (Room) 9,000
BTU
Air Conditioner (Central) 2.5
Tons
Can Opener
Ceiling Fan
Clock
Clothes Dryer
Clothes Washer, Automatic
(With Electric Water Heating)
Clothes Washer, Automatic
(With Non-Electric Water
Heating)
Coffee Maker
Computer (Monitor & Printer)
Watts
Appliance
Watts
750
Iron (Hand)
1000
1050
Lighting Single Lamp (60W)
60
Dehumidifier
350
Dishwasher (With Electric
Water Heating)
Dishwasher (With Non-Electric
Water Heating)
Drill
Electric Heater (Portable)
Fan (Portable)
Food Blender
Food Freezer (15 cu. ft.)
Frying Pan
Furnace Fan Motor
(Intermittent)
Furnace Fan Motor
(Continuous)
Hair Dryer (Portable)
Heating Pad
175
60
5
5000
Compact Fluorescent (60W
Equiv)
Ceiling Fixture (3 bulbs)
Tri-Light (Table Lamp)
Chandelier (5 Lamp)
Fluorescent (2 Tube 4 ft.)
500
Microwave Oven
1300
500
Power Saw
275
900
200
Range
Range (Self Cleaning Cycle Only)
Refrigerator-Freezer Frost Free
(17 cu. ft.)
Refrigerator (Non Frost Free - 13
cu. ft.)
12500
3200
1300
Sewing Machine
75
300
1200
115
390
335
1150
Stereo
Television
Toaster
Toothbrush
Vacuum Cleaner (Portable)
Video Cassette Recorder
30
180
1150
10
800
40
350
Water Bed Heater
400
350
Water Heater Typical Family of 4
3800
1000
65
Humidifier (Portable)
100
3500
1300
18
180
100
300
100
500
300
Calculate the total of energy usage in the home. When students are finished share
what they discovered.
Discussion Questions: Were you surprised at what you discovered? Did you
correctly guess which appliances used the most energy? Where can you reduce
your consumption?
Wrap up/Reflection: By knowing how much energy we consume we are able to
determine how much energy we need, and ways in which we can reduce energy.
Optional: If you are able, try out the solar cell, water turbine, and wind turbine to
see how much energy you need to produce as much as you consume.
A Solar Oven
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Solar Energy
Objectives: Students will learn how a solar collector works
Background Information:
Solar Collectors
Heating with solar energy is not as easy as you might think. Capturing sunlight
and putting it to work is difficult because the solar energy that reaches the earth
is spread out over a large area. The sun does not deliver that much energy to any
one place at any one time.
The amount of solar energy an area receives depends on the time of day, the
season of the year, the cloudiness of the sky, and how close you are to the earth’s
equator.
A solar collector is one way to capture sunlight and change it into usable heat
energy. A closed car on a sunny day is like a solar collector. As sunlight passes
through the car’s windows, it is absorbed by the seat covers, walls, and floor of
the car. The absorbed light changes into heat. The car’s windows let light in, but
they don’t let all the heat out. A closed car can get very hot!
Materials: Each group will need: A pizza box, newspaper, black construction
paper, clear plastic wrap, aluminum foil, scissors, double sided tape, a ruler, a
marker, a thermometer
Activities:
• Tape black construction paper to the inside, bottom surface of the pizza
box.
• On the cover of the box, draw a large square, 1 inch from all edges.
• With scissors, carefully cut along three sides, leaving the fourth side as a
hinge.
• Lift the flap, bending it at the hinge. Cover the inside of the flap with foil
and take it in place.
• Roll up a newspaper, so it forms into about 1.5 inches thick. Line the inside
edges of the pizza box with four newspaper rolls. The newspaper will
insulate you are often, keeping heat inside.
• Stretch plastic wrap over the opening, on the inside of the box. Tape the
plastic along all four sides.
• Prop open the lid with a ruler and position the pizza box so the foil reflects
on into the oven.
• After your oven has heated for 15 minutes, place a thermometer inside and
measure the temperature. How much warmer is your oven than the
surrounding air?
Discussion Questions: What it the greatest difference in temperature in the oven?
What is the difference in temperature between the oven and the air? DO you
think you could cook something in the oven? If it was hotter out? If it was cooler
out? How long would it take? What could you do to make it cook faster?
Wrap up/Reflection: The best thing about solar energy is that there is an
unlimited supply. However, it is important to find ways to be able to harness this
energy where it can be useful to the task that you assign it.
Simple Solar Collector
Subject: Energy
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Solar Panel
Objectives: Learn how solar energy can be utilized
Background Information:
Solar Collectors
Heating with solar energy is not as easy as you might think. Capturing sunlight
and putting it to work is difficult because the solar energy that reaches the earth
is spread out over a large area. The sun does not deliver that much energy to any
one place at any one time.
The amount of solar energy an area receives depends on the time of day, the
season of the year, the cloudiness of the sky, and how close you are to the earth’s
equator.
A solar collector is one way to capture sunlight and change it into usable heat
energy. A closed car on a sunny day is like a solar collector. As sunlight passes
through the car’s windows, it is absorbed by the seat covers, walls, and floor of
the car. The absorbed light changes into heat. The car’s windows let light in, but
they don’t let all the heat out. A closed car can get very hot!
Materials: large foil containers, small foil containers, black waterproof paint,
measuring cup, plastic wrap, a thermometer, sun or lamp
Activities: Have half of the containers painted black, and half not painted in the 2
different sizes. On either a sunny day or under a lamp have each container in the
same environment (same surface, same exposure to the light). Measure and pour
5 oz of water in each container carefully. Cover one of the black bottom
containers and one of the not painted containers with plastic wrap. Measure the
temperature in each of the containers, and in the air above each container.
Record your answers. Wait ten minutes and repeat, record your answers again.
Discussion Questions: Which container did you think would have the highest
water temperature? Were you correct? What were the factors that lead to this?
Wrap up/Reflection: Bringing more heat to an area can be as simple as trapping
the heat by using a color that attracts heat. Think about wearing a black shirt on a
hot sunny day, or in contrast wearing a white shirt on a hot and sunny day. How
can this idea be generalized into other parts of your life?
Water Wheel
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Hydro energy
Objectives: Students will experiment with hydropower.
Background Information:
Hydropower (from hydro meaning water) is energy that comes from the force of
moving water. The fall and movement of water is part of a continuous natural
cycle called the water cycle.
Energy from the sun evaporates water in the earth’s oceans and rivers and draws
it upward as water vapor. When the water vapor reaches the cooler air in the
atmosphere, it condenses and forms clouds. The moisture eventually falls to the
earth as rain or snow, replenishing the water in the oceans and rivers. Gravity
drives the water, moving it from high ground to low ground. The force of moving
water can be extremely powerful.
Hydropower is called a renewable energy source because the water on the earth is
continuously replenished by precipitation. As long as the water cycle continues,
we won’t run out of this energy source.
Materials: Each group needs- Detergent bottle, cork, scissors, craft knife, crochet
hook, length of plastic rain gutter, modeling clay (or pre-made waterwheel),
water bottle, pipe, protractor
Activities:
• To make the waterwheel
• Make a hole through the center of the cork by
carefully pushing the crochet hook through it. Now
remove the crochet hook.
• Cut around the base of the plastic bottle with the
scissors and form it cut out four blades.
• Using the craft knife cut four evenly spaced slits in
the sides of the cork. The slits should be just long
enough for the blades into the cork to fit into, and
not too deep. Insert the blades into the cork to
make the waterwheel as shown in the diagram.
• Now make 2 holes on opposite sides of the bottle,
about .5 inches from the open end. The holes
should be large enough for the for the crochet hook to pass through freely.
• Poke the crochet hook through one hole, then through the hole in the cork,
then through the other hole. Stick a lump of modeling clay at each end of
the hook. This completes the waterwheel assembly.
Once you have made the waterwheel
Connect the water wheel to the dc generator using the clamp.
Hydro electricity has 2 factors to how much electricity can be generated: head
and flow.
• Head is how far the water drops. It is the distance from the highest level of
the dammed water to the point where it goes through the power-producing
turbine.
• Flow is how much water moves through the system—the more water that
moves through a system, the higher the flow. Generally, a high- head plant
needs less water flow than a low-head plant to produce the same amount
of electricity.
High head low flow
Each group will have a large water bottle, a funnel, and 1 inch 3 foot pipe. At a
steady pace pour the water through the funnel into the pipe.
Pour the water through the funnel into the pipe for 10 seconds, and hold a
container at the bottom. The pipe should be held at an 80-degree angle (use a
protractor to position the angle). Multiply the measured quantity of water by 6 to
calculate the gallons per minutes (gpm).
Next calculate the energy generated by high head and low flow
Hold the waterwheel at the end of the pipe. Again using an 80-degree angle (use a
protractor to position the angle). Use the voltage meter to measure the amount
of energy that the waterwheel generates.
High flow low head
Again calculate the gallons per minute by turning on the faucet and letting the
water run into the funnel and then the pipe at a 15-degree (use a protractor to
position the angle) angle for 10 seconds. Hold a container at the bottom. Multiply
the measured quantity of water by 6 to calculate the gallons per minutes (gpm).
To conduct the experiment, turn on the faucet and let the water run into the
funnel and then the pipe at a 15-degree angle (use a protractor to position the
angle). Hold the waterwheel at the end of the pipe. Use the voltage meter to
measure the amount of energy that the waterwheel generates.
If students have done the energy audit, have them calculate how many gallons
per minute of water at low flow high head or at high flow low head they would
need to accommodate all their needs.
If they have not done the energy audit you may either use the chart or the energy
meter to calculate a few appliances and figure out how many how many gallons
per minute of water at low flow high head or at high flow low head you would
need to run these.
Discussion Questions: How much energy did you generate? Which did you think
would generate more energy? Were you surprised by the results?
Wrap up/Reflection: Because of Oregon’s plethora of water sources
hydroelectricity is major source of energy in the region.
Wind Energy
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Wind energy
Objectives: Students will learn how different factors can affect wind speed.
Background Information:
Modern Wind Machines
Today, wind is harnessed and converted into electricity using machines called
wind turbines. The amount of electricity that a turbine produces depends on its
size and speed of the wind. All wind turbines have the same basic parts: blades, a
tower, and a gearbox. These parts work together to convert the wind’s kinetic
energy into mechanical energy that generates electricity.
1. The moving air spins the turbine blades.
2.The blades are connected to a low-speed shaft. When the blades spin, the
shaft turns.
3.The low-speed shaft is connected to a gearbox. Inside, a large slow- moving
gear turns a small gear quickly.
4. The small gear turns another shaft at high speed.
5. The high-speed shaft is connected to a generator. As the shaft turns the
generator, it produces electricity.
6. The electric current is sent through cables down the turbine tower to a
transformer that changes the voltage of the current before it is sent out on
transmission lines.
Wind turbines are most efficient when they are built where winds blow
consistently at least 13 miles per hour. Faster winds generate more electricity.
High above ground winds are stronger and steadier, so wind turbines should be
placed on top of towers that are at least 30 meters (100 ft) tall.
There are many different types of wind turbines with different blade shapes.
Different types of turbines operate most efficiently at different wind speeds.
While one turbine might operate efficiently in winds as low as five miles per hour
(5 mph), another may need winds up to 45 miles per hour.
Materials: Each group will need- small electric fan, dc motor, cork, volt meter,
sturdy wood strip, protractor, electrical wire, alligator clips, rubber bands, scotch
tape, paper clips, wire cutters, scissors, piece of cardboard, cork borer, goggles.
Activities:
Constructing the wind turbine
1. Use the rubber band to attach the small electric motor to the flat end of the
wood strip of the ruler with the motor shaft extending towards the edge of
the ruler.
2. Attach the wires to the volt meter
3. Take four paper clips and straighten out the lower part of each clip. Clip
off enough of this straight part, so that only 1 cm sticks out.
4. Cut out pieces of cardboard 2cm wide and 5 cm long. Tape these 4 blades
onto the central part of each paper clip.
5. Using the 1 cm part of the paper clip that sticks out, insert the blades into
the sides of the cork, 0.5 cm from the small end of the cork. Be sure to
space the blades equally around the circumference of the small end of the
cork.
6. Use the cork borer to make a hole in the exact center in the large cork end,
which is the furthest away from the wind blades. Make the hole slightly
smaller then the motor shaft. It should be tight enough so that the cork
does not slip. If the cork does slip, use a small amount of rubber cement to
keep it in place.
Performing the experiment
1. Set the blades in the cork to a 45-degree angle to the flat plane of the
edge of the ruler (use a protractor to position the angle). Place the
windmill 30 cm away from the fan. Turn on the fan. Measure the
voltage produced. Rotate the blades of the windmill to angle 15
degrees, 30 degrees, and 60 degrees (use the protractor) to see which
angle produces the greatest voltage.
2. Design your own blades. Think about size, shape, and number of blades
that would work best. Attach the new blades to the windmill. Adjust the
angles to see which one gets the most voltage. Record your findings.
Discussion Questions: What techniques did you use to increase your speed? Were
they successful? What made your speed slow down?
Wrap up/Reflection: The more efficient your blades are the more energy you will
generate. This magnifies, as the wind turbine gets larger. Having inefficient
blades could reduce energy consumption drastically.
Making Cob
Subject: Human Habitat
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Natural Building- Cob
Objectives: Students will learn how to make cob
Background Information: Cob is a very old method of building with earth and
straw or other fibers. It is quite similar to adobe in that the basic mix of clay and
sand is the same, but it usually has a higher percentage of long straw fibers mixed
in. Instead of creating uniform blocks to build with, cob is normally applied by
hand in large gobs (or cobs), which can be tossed from one person to another
during the building process. The traditional way of mixing the clay/sand/straw is
with the bare feet; for this reason, it is fairly labor intensive. Some of the process
can be mechanized by using a backhoe to do the mixing, but that diminishes the
organic nature of it. Because of all the straw, cob can be slightly more insulating
than adobe, but it still would not make a very comfortable house in a climate of
extreme temperatures. The wonderful thing about cob construction is that it can
be a wildly freeform, sculptural affair. I've seen some very charming homes made
this way. Cob was a common building material in England in the nineteenth
century, and many of those buildings are still standing.
Materials: Clay, sand, tarp, buckets, shovels, straw
•
Soil containing roughly 30% Clay and 70% Coarse Sand
•
Straw
•
Water
Activities:
Here's how to make cob
Cob is mixed with a combination of stirring and compression. In my
experience, the best way to achieve this combination is with feet and
tarps.
Clear a few places at the site for mixing areas. The closer they
are to the foundation, the less energy it'll take to get the cob to
its destination. Inside the building is a good place for at least
one mixing area. Leave enough room to walk around the
mixing sites easily. Use your brain to minimize work. If you've
imported ingredients, pile them in sensible places to streamline
the process. If you need to add sand or clay to your soil, you can
measure out proportions by the shovel full, or by the bucket full until you can do
it by eye and by feel.
Throw some soil on a tarp: Break up the clods with your tamper or your
shoes
Adding sand: If you are adding sand, shovel the sand onto the tarp and stir it
into the crushed soil until the two are well mixed. You can do this by pulling up
the edges of the tarp and rolling the ingredients around on the tarp.
Adding clay: If the soil you are working with is so sandy that you have to add
clay, you can either add clay soup or add dry powdered clay to dry sand. Wear a
mask when adding and stirring dry clay to your mix.
Stirring and treading the mix: Stirring and treading well is a
big part of the magic that turns your ingredients into cob.
To stir, stand on one edge of the tarp and lift up the tarp
on the opposite side of the mix. Pull it towards you,
turning the mix over onto itself. Don't lift the edge of the
tarp at your feet or push the mix to turn it. That's
too hard on your back. The more you roll the
tarp, the faster the cob mixes.
Then add water. You're after a cookie dough consistency. Tread
on the mix with your feet. It's easier to feel the mix with bare
feet, and for some mysterious reason, bare feet mix the cob faster
than shoed feet. Don't despair, your feet will return to nature and
toughen up quickly.
Stir the mix often by pulling up the edges of
the tarp, while you're treading. It's impossible to tread the mix
too much, so go for it. You'll notice how it changes plasticity as
you tread on it.
Discussion Questions: What did you think of this process?
What could you build using cob?
Wrap up/Reflection: Cob is a very old building technique that
has been used for a long time. People can create sculptures within the structure of
cob, adding a personal and unique touch.
Insulation Testing
Subject: Natural Building
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Insulation Testing
Objectives: Students will test different insulations to see which works the best.
Background Information:
Insulation reduces unwanted heat loss or gain and can decrease the energy
demands of heating and cooling systems. It does not necessarily deal with issues
of adequate ventilation and may or may not affect the level of sound insulation.
In a narrow sense insulation can just refer to the insulation materials employed
to slow heat loss, such as: cellulose, glass wool, rock wool, polystyrene, urethane
foam, vermiculite, perlite, wood fiber, plant fiber, plant straw, animal fiber
(sheep’s wool), cementitious and earth or soil, but it can also involve a range of
designs and techniques to address the main modes of heat transfer - conduction,
radiation and convection materials.
The effectiveness of insulation is commonly evaluated by its R-value. However,
an R-value does not take into account the quality of construction or local
environmental factors for each building. Construction quality issues include
inadequate vapor barriers, and problems with draft proofing. In addition, the
properties and density of the insulation material itself is critical.
Materials: Cellulose, straw, 4 boxes, 5 tin cans, thermometer, box with fiberglass
insulation in it, pot, and way to water, pens and paper to record findings.
Activities:
• Put the empty tin cans in the box.
• Fill each box with one insulator. Be sure to fill all around the can.
• Fill one box with straw, one box will cellulose, one box is already filled
with fiberglass, and one can be filled with what ever the students think
may be a good insulator.
• Leave one can with no insulation. This will be the control.
• Fill each tin with the same amount of water; it should not be boiling, but
close. Make sure each can has same temperature water.
• Measure the water in the cans each minute and record it.
• Continue doing this for as long as the temperature continues to drop by a
noticeable amount. Record your results.
• If students are inventive you may want to repeat the test and allow them to
test other things that they think may be insulative.
Discussion Questions: Which insulation did you think would work the best?
Why? Were you correct? Which was the insulation worked the best? Why do you
think this one worked so well? How well is your home insulated? Do you think
that you could change the insulation to create a wormer home?
Wrap up/Reflection: Insulation cannot only help to keep things warmer it can
also keep things cooler. Today we learned about a few different types of
insulation. Warmth is not the only factor to consider when insulating, but also its
environmental impact. How the insulation may be recycled back into the earth,
and if it is toxic to humans and animals should also be considered.
Wattle Fence
Subject: Natural Building
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Small round wood
Objectives: Students will use small round wood to build a wattle fence
Hazel is the most commonly used wattle work species. Willow is also common
but must not be used where any thing is backfilled with soil as it might take root
and grow! Sweet Chestnut, being naturally durable, is the ideal species to use but
it is only available in the southeast. It is very difficult to accurately to estimate the
amount of wood required, suffice it to say after over ten years doing this sort of
thing I am always surprised how much it takes.
Materials: Sledgehammer, Loppers, Pruning Saw, Tape measure, lots of small
round wood, 2 x 4 with holes for stakes
Activities:
Staking out
Using the sledgehammer sink two the larger
stakes into the holes in the 2x 4
Wattling
Select the thickest rod and weave it in and
out around the stakes. Press it firmly down
to the ground. Select the next thickest rod and position it so that its butt is where
the thin end of the previous rod is. Weave the rod in and out around the stakes
but on the opposite side of the stake from the previous stake. Continue weaving
until either the last two rods are left or you are with in 3cm of the height desired.
It is important that each rod is pressed firmly down onto the previous rod.
Finishing the Top
Take the two thinnest rods and place
them side-by-side so that the tip of one is
beside the butt of the other. Start at one
end and weave the thin end of the rod
(Rod A) around the first post. Place the
thick end of the second rod (Rod B) over
Rod A so that it goes around the opposite
side of the first stake and then around the second stake. Weave Rod A around the
second third stake. Weave Rod B around the third and fourth stake. You will
notice that this results in the two rods going over and under each other at the
same time as going around the stakes. This keeps the top of the fence from being
easily pulled apart. Trim the rod and stake ends with the loppers or pruning saw.
Discussion Questions: What could you do with a wattle fence? What other ways
do you think you could use small round wood?
Wrap up/Reflection: You can build wattle fences using live trees as the posts and
create a living fence. This is beneficial because it will increase the life of the fence.
Plaster Mixes/Finishes
Subject: Natural Building
Grade(s): 4-8
Topic: Earthen Plaster
Objectives: Students will make plaster and apply it to a surface.
Background Information:
Earthen plaster is a blend of clay, fine aggregate, and fiber. Other common
additives include pigments, lime, casein, prickly pear cactus juice (Opuntia),
manure, and linseed oil. Earthen plaster is usually applied to masonry, cob, or
straw bale interiors or exteriors as a wall finish. It provides protection to the
structural and insulating building components as well as texture and color.
Materials: Sand, Clay, Straw, screen, scissors, bucket, a place to apply plaster,
water
The recipe for earthen plaster is
• One part clay
• Three parts sand
• One part fine straw
• Enough water to make the plaster slightly wetter then the consistency of
peanut butter.
Activities:
Preparation: Gather clay and screen clay through half-inch screen. Let it sit in
water.
With students: Pour out water. Mix clay. Take correct proportion on sand and
mix with correct proportion on clay. Add a little water to make mixing easier.
Then add straw the straw last. Apply to sample area.
Discussion Questions: Do you think that this plaster can hold up as well as
conventional plaster? How do you think it might differ? What might be an
advantage of using earthen plaster? What might be a disadvantage?
Wrap up/Reflection: There are many different materials that you can when
building. It is important to look at all your options and way the pros and cons of
each choice.
Shadow Puppet Myths
Click on the Myth below to get to the story
How the Bear Lost His Tail
Why Owls Stare
Why the Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves
Heron and the Hummingbird
Why the Spider has 8 Thin Legs
Coyote and the Mice
How the bear lost his tail
A long time ago, Bear had a beautiful, long, furry tail. He thought it
was really cool. He laid it out behind him and people had to walk
round it.
He asked everyone: "Don't you think my tail is the most beautiful tail
you've ever seen?"
People thought Bear was very vain, but they were frightened of his big
claws and didn't want to make him angry.
So they told him he looked totally cool with his big, black, shiny tail.
One cold winter's day, Bear went lumbering down to the lake.
Fox was sitting on the frozen water, surrounded by fish.
He knew that Bear was hungry, and decided to play a trick on him.
"Hello brother Fox" said Bear, his mouth watering. "Where did you
get all those fish?"
"I caught them" said Fox, pointing to a hole in the ice. "But you don't
have anything to fish with" said Bear.
"I used my tail" said Fox. Bear was totally blown away by this. "You
used your Tail?" he shouted.
"Sure. It's the best thing for catching fish. Shall I show how? Then
you'll always have as many fish as you want to eat."
"Yes please" said Bear in his deep, gruff voice. His mouth watered
again.
Fox pointed to the hole in the ice. "There's no fish left in there. Let's
go to another part of the lake where there's more."
Trying not to laugh, Fox led Bear to a shallow part of the lake. Bear
dug a hole in the ice with his claws.
"Now, sit with your back to the hole and drop your beautiful tail into
the water," said Fox.
"You'll feel when a fish bites. Then you can pull your tail out with the
fish on the end of it."
Bear wanted the fish big time.
He put his tail into the icy water.
"Now" said Fox, "this is important. You must sit very still and only
think about fish. Pretend to count the fish you catch with your tail.
The more you count, the more you will catch."
The Bear scratched himself with pleasure. "My tail will catch more
fish than any other."
"Sit still" said Fox. "I'll watch from those trees, so I don't scare the
fish."
Bear sat very still and thought about fish jumping onto his tail. He
counted each one. It was very tiring. He fell asleep.
It became very cold and started to snow. Fox went back to his house,
taking his fish with him.
A few hours later, Fox came back to the lake.
Bear was still asleep and snoring. His black fur coat was white with
snow.
Fox laughed so much he fell over on his back with his legs waving in
the air. "This is such a cool trick" gasped Fox. Then he stopped
laughing and quietly snuck up on Bear.
He shouted "Bear! Bear! I can see a fish on your tail. Can you feel it?"
Bear woke up with a fright and felt a sharp pain in his frozen tail.
"I can feel it!" he shouted. He leaped up and his frozen tail snapped
off.
All that was left was a small stump where his beautiful long, black tail
had been.
"My tail! My beautiful tail" he wailed. Fox, the trickster, ran away
laughing.
And that's why bears now only have short tails. If you ever hear a bear
groaning, it's because he remembers his big, black, beautiful tail.
And it's also the reason why you won't see Bear and Fox having lunch
together! Fox knows he would be lunch.
Why Owls Stare
Native American – Choctaw Story retold by Sanjit
Owl and Pigeon were friends. Most mornings they sat in the same tree
to talk and watch the sunrise.
Sometimes one of them would boast about how fast they could fly, or
their relatives could fly, or how far, and how good their eyesight was
when they were high above the ground.
One morning Owl boasted about something different. “I think there
are more owls than pigeons,” he said.
“No,” said Pigeon. “That’s not right. There are lots more pigeons than
owls.”
“There’s only one way to find out,” hooted Owl, fluffing out his
feathers.
”I challenge you to a counting!”
“Agreed,” cooed Pigeon. “Where and when should we do this? We’ll
need lots of perching space.”
Owl scratched his wing feathers with his beak as he thought for a
moment.
Then he said “the Big Woods will do. It’s a nice place, with plenty of
trees for everyone to land.”
“Okay,” said Pigeon. “The Big Woods it is. You fly round and tell the
owls and I’ll tell the pigeons. I’ll need a week because there are so
many of us.”
“Well, I’ll probably need two weeks,” hooted Owl.
“No way,” said Pigeon jumping up and down angrily. “One week from
today, an hour after sunrise. All owls and pigeons should be here.
Anyone who’s late won’t be counted.”
“Agreed,” hooted Owl. Then they both flew off to tell everyone.
A week later the owls arrived first, just as the sun was rising.
They swooped down on the Big Woods from every direction until
there were owls in most of the trees.
They hooted and laughed to each other “Toowoo, wah, wah! The
pigeons are still asleep!”
The hooting and wing flapping died down as they settled on the
branches and waited. They were sure there were more of them than
the pigeons.
After a while they heard a swooshing sound in the distance.
Huge grey clouds moved towards them from the east, south and
north.
The clouds were pigeon wings.
Thousands of pigeons swooped down on the Big Woods, blocking out
the sky.
As the pigeons landed in the trees, the owls had to shuffle closer
together. Branches broke when too many pigeons tried to land at
once.
The owls couldn’t believe their eyes or their ears. The noise of
flapping wings and scratching feet was deafening.
The owls stared, moving their heads from side to side to watch the
pigeons land all around them.
And still the pigeons kept coming, circling down from the sky looking
for landing space. The owls could not believe there were so many
pigeons.
Their eyes grew wider and wider as they moved their heads from side
to side, trying to keep track of the pigeons. More and more of them
swooshed in.
Some of the owls started to feel nervous. Being surrounded and
squashed by so many pigeons was a bit scary. They began to hoot to
each other “Tooooowoooo, we’re being trampled. Let’s get out of
here!”
One by one the owls took off, darting up between branches and diving
away from the still incoming pigeons.
The owls fled into the sky, their staring eyes flattened even wider
open by the wind rushing past them.
No-one did any counting.
The pigeons settled themselves all over the Big Woods, cooing and
calling to each other, celebrating their win.
Since then, owls have always traveled at night when pigeons are
asleep.
They stare at everything around them, watching out for pigeons.
The End
Why the Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves
by Florence Holbrook
Winter was coming, and the birds had flown far to the south, where
the air was warm and they could find berries to eat. One little bird
had broken its wing and could not fly with the others. It was alone in
the cold world of frost and snow. The forest looked warm, and it made
its way to the trees as well as it could, to ask for help.
First it came to an alder tree. "Beautiful alder tree," it said, "my wing
is broken, and my friends have flown away. May I live among your
branches till they come back to me?"
"No, indeed," answered the alder tree, drawing her fair green leaves
away. "We of the great forest have our own birds to help. I can do
nothing for you."
"The alder is not very strong," said the little bird to itself, "and it
might be that she could not hold me easily. I will ask the oak." So the
bird said, "Great oak tree, you are so strong, will you not let me live
on your boughs till my friends come back in the springtime?"
"In the springtime!" cried the oak. "That is a long way off. How do I
know what you might do in all that time? Birds are always looking for
something to eat, and you might even eat up some of my acorns."
"It may be that the willow will be kind to me," thought the bird, and it
said, "Gentle willow, my wing is broken, and I could not fly to the
south with the other birds. May I live on your branches till the
springtime?"
The willow did not look gentle then, for she drew herself up proudly
and said, "Indeed, I do not know you, and we willows never talk to
people whom we do not know. Very likely there are trees somewhere
that will take in strange birds. Leave me at once."
The poor little bird did not know what to do. Its wing was not yet
strong, but it began to fly away as well as it could. Before it had gone
far a voice was heard. "Little bird," it said, "where are you going?"
"Indeed, I do not know," answered the bird sadly. "I am very cold."
"Come right here, then," said the friendly cedar, for it was her voice
that had called.
"You shall live on my warmest branch all winter if you choose."
"Will you really let me?" asked the little bird eagerly.
"Indeed, I will," answered the kind-hearted cedar tree. "If your
friends have flown away, it is time for the trees to help you. Here is
the branch where my leaves are thickest and softest."
"My branches are not very thick," said the friendly fir tree, "but I am
big and strong, and I can keep the North Wind from you and the
cedar."
"I can help, too," said a little juniper tree. "I can give you berries all
winter long, and every bird knows that juniper berries are good."
So the spruce gave the lonely little bird a home; the pine kept the cold
North Wind away from it; and the juniper gave it berries to eat. The
other trees looked on and talked together wisely.
"I would not have strange birds on my boughs," said the alder.
"I shall not give my acorns away for any one," said the oak.
"I never have anything to do with strangers," said the willow, and the
three trees drew their leaves closely about them.
In the morning all those shining, green leaves lay on the ground, for a
cold North Wind had come in the night, and every leaf that it touched
fell from the tree.
"May I touch every leaf in the forest?" asked the wind in its frolic.
"No," said the Frost King. "The trees that have been kind to the little
bird with the broken wing may keep their leaves."
This is why the leaves of the cedar, the fir, and the juniper are always
green.
Heron and the Hummingbird
A Native American Myth (Hitchiti Tribe) retold by S. E.
Schlosser
Heron and Hummingbird were very good friends, even though one
was tall and gangly and awkward and one was small and sleek and
fast. They both loved to eat fish. The Hummingbird preferred small
fish like minnows and Heron liked the large ones.
One day, Hummingbird said to his friend: "I am not sure there are
enough fish in the world for both of our kind to eat. Why don't we
have a race to see which of us should own the fish?"
Heron thought that was a very good idea. They decided that they
would race for four days. The finish line was an old dead tree next to a
far-away river. Whichever of them sat on top of the tree first on the
fourth day of the race would own all the fish in the world.
They started out the next morning. The Hummingbird zipped along,
flying around and around the Heron, who was moving steadily
forward, flapping his giant wings. Then Hummingbird would be
distracted by the pretty flowers along the way. He would flit from one
to the other, tasting the nectar. When Hummingbird noticed that
Heron was ahead of him, he hurried to catch up with him, zooming
ahead as fast as he could, and leaving Heron far behind. Heron just
kept flying steadily forward, flapping his giant wings.
Hummingbird was tired from all his flitting. When it got dark, he
decided to rest. He found a nice spot to perch and slept all night long.
But Heron just kept flying steadily forward all night long, flapping his
giant wings.
When Hummingbird woke in the morning, Heron was far ahead.
Hummingbird had to fly as fast as he could to catch up. He zoomed
past the big, awkward Heron and kept going until Heron had
disappeared behind him. Then Hummingbird noticed some pretty
flowers nearby. He zip-zipped over to them and tasted their nectar.
He was enjoying the pretty scenery and didn't notice Heron flapflapping passed him with his great wings.
Hummingbird finally remembered that he was racing with Heron,
and flew as fast as he could to catch up with the big, awkward bird.
Then he zipped along, flying around and around the Heron, who kept
moving steadily forward, flapping his giant wings.
For two more days, the Hummingbird and the Heron raced toward
the far-distant riverbank with the dead tree that was the finish line.
Hummingbird had a marvelous time sipping nectar and flitting
among the flowers and resting himself at night. Heron stoically kept
up a steady flap-flap-flapping of his giant wings, propelling himself
forward through the air all day and all night.
Hummingbird woke from his sleep the morning of the fourth day,
refreshed and invigorated. He flew zip-zip toward the riverbank with
its dead tree. When it came into view, he saw Heron perched at the
top of the tree! Heron had won the race by flying straight and steady
through the night while Hummingbird slept.
So from that day forward, the Heron has owned all the fish in the
rivers and lakes, and the Hummingbird has sipped from the nectar of
the many flowers which he enjoyed so much during the race.
Why the spider has 8 thin legs
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a spider named Anansi.
Anansi's wife was a very good cook. But always, Anansi loved to taste
the food that others in the village made for themselves and for their
families.
One day, he stopped by Rabbit's house. Rabbit was his good friend.
"There are greens in your pot," cried Anansi excitedly. Anansi loved
greens.
"They are not quite done," said Rabbit. "But they will be soon. Stay
and eat with me."
"I would love to, Rabbit, but I have some things to do," Anansi said
hurriedly. If he waited at Rabbit's house, Rabbit would certainly give
him jobs to do. "I know," said Anansi. "I'll spin a web. I'll tie one end
around my leg and one end to your pot. When the greens are done,
tug on the web, and I'll come running!"
Rabbit thought that was a great idea. And so it was done.
"I smell beans," Anansi sniffed excitedly as he ambled along.
"Delicious beans, cooking in a pot."
"Come eat our beans with us," cried the monkeys. "They are almost
done."
"I would love to Father Monkey," said Anansi. And again, Anansi
suggested he spin a web, with one end tied around his leg, and one
end tied to the big bean pot.
Father Monkey thought that was a great idea. All his children thought
so, too. And so it was done.
"I smell sweet potatoes," Anansi sniffed happily as he ambled along.
"Sweet potatoes and honey, I do believe!"
"Anansi," called his friend Hog. "My pot is full of sweet potatoes and
honey! Come share my food with me."
"I would love to," said Anansi. And again, Anansi suggested he spin a
web, with one end tied around his leg, and one end tied to the sweet
potato pot.
His friend Hog thought that was a great idea. And so it was done.
By the time Anansi arrived at the river, he had one web tied to each of
his eight legs.
"This was a wonderful idea," Anansi told himself proudly. "I wonder
whose pot will be ready first?"
Just then, Anansi felt a tug at his leg. "Ah," said Anansi. "That is the
web string tied to Rabbit's greens." He felt another. And another.
Anansi was pulled three ways at once.
"Oh dear," said Anansi as he felt the fourth web string pull.
Just then, he felt the fifth web string tug. And the sixth. And the
seventh. And the eighth. Anansi was pulled this way and that way, as
everyone pulled on the web strings at once. His legs were pulled
thinner and thinner. Anansi rolled quickly into the river. When all the
webs had washed away, Anansi pulled himself painfully up on shore.
"Oh my, oh my," sighed Anansi. "Perhaps that was not such a good
idea after all."
To this day, Anansi the Spider has eight very thin legs. And he never
got any food that day at all.
Coyote and the Mice A Native American tale retold by Oban
Not many animals liked Coyote. Some thought he was foolish and
others thought he was boastful. The mice didn't like him because he
was mean to them.
One day when he was out walking, Coyote saw the Mice making lots
of noise and rushing around under a tree.
"Quick! Quick! Throw that rope over the branch!" cried one. "I need a
bag! I need a bag now!" cried another.
They scurried around, tripping and falling over each other as they tied
small bags onto the ends of several ropes, then threw the other ends
over the branches.
"What are you stupid mice up to now?" asked Coyote. "We haven't
got time to stop and talk Mr Coyote," squeaked one mouse, throwing
a rope over another branch. "Haven't you heard? North Wind is on
his way. He's going to throw hailstones as big as a bear's paw at all the
animals! We're going to climb into these bags and pull ourselves up
under the branches, so the hailstones can't hit us."
Fearing the hailstones, Coyote said "I'll join you." All the mice
stopped dead in their tracks. "Ohhh! I don't know about that," they
squeaked. "If you don't let me, I'll be mean to you again," shouted
Coyote.
"Alright. You can join us," squeaked the mice. "But you'll have to get
your own bag and rope because we don't have anything big enough or
strong enough to hold you." "No problem," said Coyote. "I've got
everything I need at home". "Then hurry Mr Coyote, because North
Wind will be here any minute."
Coyote rushed off home. The mice waited until he was out of sight,
then fell over squeaking with laughter. When they saw him coming
back they picked themselves up and pretended to tie more bags.
"You must wait until last and pull yourself up, Mr Coyote, because
you are too heavy," said the mice. "No. I'll go first," said Coyote.
"North Wind is fast and could get here before I'm protected. If all of
you hold the end of the rope you can pull me up."
The mice shook their heads doubtfully. Coyote yelled "do it, or I'll be
mean to you!" "Alright," said the mice. Coyote got into the bag and
the mice tied the rope around the top of it. A mouse picked up a small
stone and threw it at the bag.
"Ouch," said Coyote "I felt a hailstone already. Quick, get me up
under the tree!" The mice pulled on the rope until Coyote swung off
the ground. Then they tied the end of the rope around the tree trunk.
The mice picked up stones and threw them at the bag. "Ooowww!
Ooowww!" howled Coyote. "The hailstones hurt." "Be brave Mr
Coyote. The storm will pass soon," said the mice. And they picked up
bigger stones to throw at the bag."Ooowww, my head! Oooww, my
back!" howled Coyote. Finally they stopped throwing stones and one
of the mice said, "North Wind has gone now, we can come down."
When Coyote's bag was on the ground and the rope untied, Coyote
slowly crawled out onto the ground, all battered and bruised. "I
thought I was going to die," he said. "They must have been the
biggest hailstones ever!"
Coyote felt the ground. It was dry. He looked up at the blue sky and
there wasn't a cloud to be see. "How could this be? We've just had a
hailstorm," he said.
"We tricked you, you dumb old Coyote," yelled the mice as they
scurried off into their holes, laughing.
"I'll get you for this," howled Coyote, feeling his sore head. "But not
today". "Ooow, my sore head. Ooow, my sore back. Ooow, my sore
nose" he cried as he slowly hobbled home to bed.
The End
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