Learning Experience 5: Study Plots


For each pair of students:

2 Student Activity Sheets for Learning Experience 5

Obis Lawn Guide

3 meters lengths of twine

Map of schoolyard*

For the class:

Meter stick*

*provided by teacher


Read the background information in the Teacher’s Manual. (Please see PDF) Permission must be attained by school administration for the use of school property. Be sure to inform administration that in later learning experiences, students will remove part of their study plot, but the area will be reseeded. If space is limited, students could work in groups of three or four.

Basic Skills Development:




Evaluation Strategy:

Students will choose a study plot and create an accurate description of the study plot.




Objective: Students will choose a study plot in the schoolyard and provide an accurate pictorial and written description of that plot.

How can we study the particular population of living things in a given area?

After students look at the overall schoolyard community, students are ready to investigate a particular area of the schoolyard in-depth.

Hold up a sample of twine loop made with three meter length of twine. Explain to students that they are going to choose an area of the schoolyard to place their string and that their “study plot” will be the area inside the loop. They can adjust the shape of their string to include as many interesting things as possible. Model for students on the floor of the classroom. Once students choose where they are going to place their loop, they will mark their location on their schoolyard maps.

Student pairs are to measure out three meter lengths of twine provided and tie the ends together to form a loop. Student pairs are to choose their area, mark it on their maps, find their area in the schoolyard, and place their loop on the ground. Student plots should be labeled. Allow for some space between plots.

Discussion Questions:

Where would be a good location for a study plot? Why?

Why do you think studying one area of land is helpful to understanding the schoolyard community? What things should we look for?

On the Student Activity Sheet for Learning Experience 5, students are to draw the features located in their site. They are to write every detail they can about the environmental factors in their site and any plants or animals they observe. Students can use the Obis Lawn Guide to help with their identification. Students should focus on their study plots for 20 minutes. Students can sit on newspapers or bags, if the grass is damp. After students complete their observation, they can share what they have found.

Discussion Questions:

Did any sites have a lot of cover? Sunlight? Humans nearby?

What animals and plants were found there?

What animals and plants were found in the open sites?

Were there any animals found in both type of sites?

Predict the kind of changes that will occur in your site in future weeks. What questions would you like answered about what you observed in your site today? How can you find the answers you need?

STUDENT ACTIVITY SHEET for Learning Experience 5


Study Plots

A community is a place where plants and animals live together. The plants and animals are able to get food, water, warmth, and protection from the community. A community may be as small as a crack in the sidewalk, or it may be as big as a desert hundreds of miles wide. You might find a community under a decaying log!

1. You are studying a living community in your study plot. Draw a detailed picture of the plot or community and label the living and non-living things you find.



2. Describe in detail all the environmental factors in your site.


3. List the names of any plants and animals you see in your site.

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