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Schoolyard Field Investigation Teacher Sheet

Schoolyard Field Investigation Teacher Sheet

Introduction

Use the information on this sheet to help you direct students on how to conduct a field investigation.


Materials

  • Field journal (notebook or pad)
  • Hula Hoop
  • Rope or thick string/twine
  • Yardstick
  • Tape measure
  • Clipboard
  • Colored pencils
  • Optional supplies
    • magnifying glass
    • thermometer
    • camera
    • field guide for your local area

Directions

  1. Before they go outdoors, have the students write down what they are curious about and to come up with a few specific questions that they want to investigate.
  2. For the large schoolyard field study (allow 15-20 minutes), each student team or pair should look around in all directions, make and record observations considering these questions:
    • What do we see? (Examples could include types of trees, shrubs, insects, or birds.)
    • How many trees are there and how often did we see a particular animal? (Examples of animals could include birds or squirrels.)
    • What do we smell? (Examples could include the scent of flowers, fresh cut grass, or car exhaust.)
    • What do we feel? (Examples could include a warm breeze, raindrops, hard, or frozen ground.)
    • What type of ground cover is in the area? (Answers could include grass, weeds, dirt, or leaves.)
    • What is the soil like? (For example, is it clay, sand, or rocky?)
    • How many different types of insects can we find and identify?
  3. For the small area study (allow 15-20 minutes), have each student team or pair go to their designated area and mark off the area of investigation using the hula hoop or rope/string. Questions the students can ask include:
    • What type of ground cover is in the area? (Answers could include grass, weeds, dirt, or leaves.)
    • What is the soil like? (For example, is it clay, sand, or rocky?)
    • How many different types of insects can we find and identify?
  4. The students should record their observations within the area using words and diagrams. They will use the Schoolyard Investigation Data Sheet to record the basic information that is needed for any field investigation including:
    • Group/team name
    • Group/team members
    • Date
    • Name and location of study site
    • Time of day
    • Temperature and other weather conditions
  5. After the field investigation, students should analyze their observations and any data collected. They should record their results using words, diagrams, tables, charts, pictures, etc. Students should compare and contrast the large versus smaller areas noting similarities and differences. Prompt the students with open ended questions such as:
    • Did you notice any particular patterns?
    • How can you explain what you found or observed?
    • Are there other possible explanations?
    • Why do you suppose or think the area is this way?
    • What would happen if?
  6. Next the students should reflect on the experience and share their work with the class in the form of a science project poster. Students should write a summary of the investigation and what they learned, draw conclusions about their findings, and discuss what they would like to know next.

 

This teacher sheet is a part of the The Frog Scientist 2: Schoolyard Field Investigation lesson.

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