Learning Experience 2: Communities


For each pair of students:

2 Student Activity Sheets for Learning Experience 2 (Please see PDF)

Large plastic bag

2 double lens magnifiers

Obis Lawn Guide

For the class:

Shirt box* (gift box is effective)

*provided by teacher


Read the background information in the Teacher’s Manual. (Please see PDF) It is suggested that copies of the Obis Lawn Guide should be made for students to use.

This learning experience can be repeated to see if new animals are in their chosen areas.

Basic Skills Development:




Evaluation Strategy:

Students will observe an area of the schoolyard community and classify the members into appropriate groups.






Objective: Students will observe an area of the schoolyard community and classify the members of the community as living and nonliving things; plants and animals.

What is a community? How do living things depend on each other in a community?

Now that students are more familiar with the schoolyard area, ask pairs of students to choose a tree or bush they would like to examine for animal communities.

Shake a branch of the tree or bush over the shirt box and allow small animals, leaves, etc. to fall into the shirt box. Carefully pour the contents into the plastic bag for observation.

Students are to use their magnifiers to observe and identify the items in their bag and list them on their activity sheet for Learning Experience 2 in the Schoolyard Students Student Activity Book. (Please see PDF) Students can use their Obis Lawn Guide to help with the identification.

Discuss with students the differences between living and nonliving things. Explain that living things reproduce, grow, and need food of some kind. Test these concepts with several examples from their lists.

Grass - Reproduce? Yes Grow? Yes Needs Food? Yes --> Living Thing
Rock - Reproduce? No Grow? No Needs Food? No --> Nonliving Thing

Discussion Questions:

What is a living thing?

What is a non-living thing?

How can you tell if something is living or non-living?

What are some living and non-living things you found in your study plot?

From their list of living things, direct students to classify those items as a plant or animal.

Once students complete their classification, pairs of students are to complete the plant and animal I.D. cards on their activity sheets. (Please see PDF) These I.D. cards are to include information about the kind of plants or animals they find and a thorough description. Students can share their I.D. cards with the class and the plants and animals can be labeled on the large map of the schoolyard. Point out to students that animal communities are made up of a variety of animals that live in the same area and depend on each other for food and survival. Plants and animals live together in a community. Some animals depend on plants for food--“plant eaters.”

Discussion Questions:

What surprised you about this learning experience?

What animal did you find the most? Largest animal collected? Smallest?

What plant had the least animals? Most animals? Why the difference?

Did any environmental factors make a difference in what you found?

Student pairs are to get together with another group and classify sort their I.D. cards. Share classification with the rest of the class.

For the accompanying Schoolyard Studies Student Activity Book, please refer to the PDF found here. (Please see PDF)

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