Ecosystems: Enquire

This session allows learners to explore how biodiversity is measured (the distribution and abundance of organisms) through conducting enquiry. Learners develop key 'working scientifically' skills through carrying out fieldwork on an ecosystem.  

This is recommended as session three of the Key Stage Four Ecosystems Science Unit.

KS4

Preparation

Green Skills

  • Identification 
  • Recording data
  • Data interpretation

Curriculum Links 

Biology 

Ecosystems 

  • Methods to investigate the distribution and abundance of organisms in an ecosystem

Working Scientifically

While teaching the outcomes outlined above the following working scientifically skills objectives can also be delivered

  • Presenting observations and other data using appropriate methods
  • Interpreting observations and other data, including identifying patterns and trends, making inferences and drawing conclusions

Geography 

Global Ecosystems 

  • An overview of the distribution and characteristics of large scale natural global ecosystems

Step by step

Quick Starter Activity  

Zooniverse 
Choose a short citizen science project to participate in (they don't take long!). Zooniverse in Schools provides introductory videos and supporting tutorials. 

Zooniverse is the world's largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. Both you and your students can become community scientists, participating in real science, by taking part in one of the projects. There are over 50 biology projects to choose from, illustrating to learners how we can contribute to measuring and researching biodiversity. 

Main Activity Suggestions 

Suggestion 1 (Indoor) 

Biointeractive: The Anthropocene: Human Impact on the Environment. This interactive presentation allows learners to investigate the causes of species loss in the sixth mass extinction.

Suggestion 2 (Indoor) 

Biointeractive: Vertebrate Declines and the Sixth Mass Extinction. This activity asks students to interpret and discuss a published infographic about population declines on a global scale, and the possible impacts on human populations.

Suggestion 3 (Outdoor) 

SAPS: Ecology Practical - Measuring abundance and random sampling. In this practical ecology activity, learners use random sampling to measure the abundance of various different species on an area of grassland, promoting fieldwork skills and plant identification techniques. 

Top Tips

These activities help students develop working scientifically and biodiversity literacy skills, promoting competencies to understand and care for local and global biodiversity. Learners can also be encouraged to raise their own investigable questions. 

Through the Nature Park, learners can map their site, measuring progress to boosting biodiversity.