Learning Experience 1: Schoolyard Observations



For each student:

Student Activity Sheet for Learning Experience 1

Map of schoolyard*


For the class:

Large map of schoolyard*

Felt tip markers*

*provided by teacher


Read the background information in the Schoolyard Studies Teacher’s Manual. (Please see PDF)

You may want to prepare specific areas for students to observe. This learning experience requires two sessions. Create a simple schoolyard map that can be duplicated for students or ask students to create their own maps of the schoolyard.

Basic Skills Development:




Evaluation Strategy:

Students will use their senses to observe the schoolyard environment and make accurate and detailed notations about their observations.












Objective: Students will participate in a nature walk and identify environmental factors around their schoolyard that would influence plant and animal life.

What kinds of plants and animals live on our school grounds?

Session 1

Using a large piece of white paper, create a map of the schoolyard with the class. Be sure to identify landmarks on the school grounds. Create a smaller version of this map for student copies or ask students to create their own maps.

Ask students to identify living things they have already seen in the schoolyard and where they have seen them and create a chart.

Sample Chart

Location of Grounds
Ladybug XNear Rosebushes
TreesX Next to the fence
Birds XFlying above the field
Emphasize with students that we will be studying the animal’s and plant’s environment, the area where they live. Take students out on a nature walk and ask students to act like ecologists who study the environment and the living things in it using their senses. Students are to complete the Student Activity Sheet for Learning Experience 1 by making note of what they see, hear, smell, and feel.

Return to the classroom and discuss what things they observed. Emphasize that some things they observed that maybe important to a living creature. Make a list of these “Environmental Factors.” Sample list may include:

sunlight - sunny areas/shady areas moisture - wet/dry areas

cover - tree or bush covered areas/open spaces

air movement - windy/calm

temperature - warm areas/cold areas

sounds - noisy area/quiet area

humans present - many people use the area/few people use the area


Discuss why each may be important to these living organisms.

Session 2

Go back outside and observe the environmental factors discussed in session 1. Make note of each environmental factor on the list, especially sunlight, cover, and moisture. Students are to mark on their maps the areas in which they observe differences in the environmental conditions. Students should also make note of any plant and animal life that seem to thrive in specific areas. Also, students may want to note if there is plant and animal life that is common in different environmental conditions. (ex. three sunniest places, three shadiest places, three wettest places, three driest places, three interesting sounds.)

Go back to class and compare data from maps. Mark on the large class map of some of the discoveries.

Discussion Questions:

What were your observations?

How would the time of day affect some of the factors?

If we go back into the schoolyard where do you think would we find the most insects? Least? Why?


STUDENT ACTIVITY SHEET for Learning Experience 1


Schoolyard Observations

Use your senses to observe your schoolyard environment.


Answer the questions below based on your observations.


1. List the items that you observed in your plastic bag.



2. Decide which category each object listed above fits into, living or non-living.

Write the name of the object under the correct heading below.

Living Non-Living

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

3. Classify the objects as plants or animals.

Animals Plants

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

____________ ____________

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