Environmental and Outdoor Education (EOE) Model Lesson - Identifying Organisms in the Environment

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These model lessons were created by teachers participating in the Minnesota Department of Education's 2011-13 project, "Integrating Environmental and Outdoor Education into Grades 7-12" with funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

Title of lesson: Identify organisms in the environment

Content area: Biology
Grade level: 11-12

Learning objective: Students will be able to identify natural ecosystems ranging from microscopic to macroscopic scales.

Standard or benchmark addressed:
Science - Natural systems include a variety of organisms that interact with one another in several ways.

Description of lesson and how it is adapted for EOE:
Students collected water samples from a local pond then identified the organisms both plant and animal within the samples under microscopes. Students identified trees in the same. Students' looked at how energy flowed through tropic levels in this area.

Teacher's role (i.e. specific activities and instructional strategies):
The teachers' role was very limited. We explained the day's activities and expectations. Our role after that was to help where needed but this was primarily a student lead activity.

Other resources needed:
Waders, collection jars, micro/macro identification tables, tree identification tables, microscopes

How students are assessed:
Ability to follow directions, use of identification tables, use of microscopes

Time considerations:
This took 2 days but could easily be extended to 4 days depending on size of the area and number of students.

Environmental and Outdoor Education (EOE) Model Lessons are freely available for use by all teachers for educational purposes only.

Kay Martin and Krishna Yuvaraj, Simley High School ALC, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Topic Areas: 
Food Chain
Target Audience: 
Grades 7-9
Grades 10-12
Geographic Location: 
All Minnesota
Enhancements / Connections: 

Take water samples at various depths. Try again in a different forest with different species.

Date Produced/Published: 
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