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Biodiversity in the Field

Three 55-minute sessions plus some homework time for preparation

This three-part lesson begins with a video that encourages students to focus not on the fact that human activities are leading to massive extinctions of organisms (which is depressing!), but rather on how we can better motivate ourselves as individuals and as a society to improve the situation. If we spend more time in nature—wherever we live—we as a species can learn to do a better job of protecting other species. Students come to understand why it's important to protect biodiversity on Earth and learn some essential vocabulary related to biodiversity. Then they visit a nearby natural area and conduct a field study of three types of organisms: vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants/fungi. Student teams then put together a field report to document what they observed, and they estimate the biodiversity index of the area they studied. Armed with this data and the richness of their outdoor experience, students develop a plan to maintain or even increase biodiversity in their neighborhood.

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