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Biodiversity Activities & Games

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Do your students understand the importance of biodiversity to our Earth? Check out some engaging activities and games that deepen your students' understanding of biodiversity.

Biodiversity Activities

Explore Your Backyard

Why not check out biodiversity right from your home?

Materials:

  • Outdoor area (backyard, garden, park)
  • Recording sheet
  • Posters
  • Computers if possible
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils

Procedure:

  • Students will work independently.
  • Review how living and non-living things depend on one another to create diversity in our ecosystem. Explain that students will get to observe ecosystems at home.
  • Review recording sheet with students.
    • Record date of observation (as well as time of day)
    • List everything they see in outdoor area
  • Go over potential places to look, such as flower gardens, under trees, etc. Students should attempt digging through the dirt to observe organisms in the soil.
  • Discuss findings as a class the next day. Explain that students will present their findings visually.
  • Allow time for students to work on posters and/or PowerPoints/Google Slides that include information and descriptions of what they observed.
  • Display visual aids and/or present them to the class.

Take Care of Our Earth

Students will persuade their classmates to take better care of our Earth.

Materials:

  • Computers for each student
  • Resources about biodiversity
  • Pencils, pens
  • Index cards

Procedure:

  • Students will work individually or with partners.
  • Review all of the environmental factors that could affect biodiversity - droughts, fires, pollution, deforestation, etc.
  • Explain that students will present a persuasive speech focusing on one of the mentioned factors. Example: pollution, speech must convince classmates to stop causing pollution because of how it harms our Earth.
  • Assign each student or pair a specific topic.
  • Students must include the following:
    • A 5-7 minute persuasive speech
    • At least 2 visual aids - PowerPoint or Google Slides, even a poster
    • Typed speech to turn in to teacher
  • Allow ample class time for students to work on speech and presentation.
    • When students present to the class, they must use note cards and/or memory for the spoken portion.
  • Set up a schedule for students to present to the class and begin speeches.

Poor Frank

In this experiment, students will gain a better understanding of how pollution affects living and non-living things.

Materials for each group:

  • Plastic Fish
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Clear bottle or container with about 1 cup of water
  • Dixie cups labeled #1-4
    • Cup #1 - 1 tbsp of salt (treatment of roads)
    • Cup #2 - 1 tbsp of dirt (erosion)
    • Cup #3 - 1 tbsp of maple syrup (leaking oil)
    • Cup #4 - pieces of torn tissue (litter)
  • Green food coloring (toxic waste)
  • Record sheet

Procedure:

  • Students will work in groups of 4-5.
  • Discuss types of litter and/or pollution they notice surrounding their community.
  • Explain that students will create a story about Frank the Fish who lived in a stream and was affected by environmental factors.
  • First, have students work on a story about Frank the Fish traveling through the stream while incorporating the various types of pollution. Students should explain where Frank the Fish is every time he is up against a specific type of pollution as well as how the pollution gets into the stream.
    • Example: One clear sunny day, Frank the Fish was swimming through Clean Creek. He was going past the school's playground when all of a sudden a huge gust of wind blew paper right into the stream.
  • Once students have finished their story, they will carry out the experiment.
  • Suspend Frank the Fish in his bottle of water (place pencil across opening as fish dangles inside).
  • Students tell the story of Frank the Fish. At the appropriate time, students add the 'pollution' to Frank's water (cup contents and food coloring).
    • Example: After Frank the Fish passes the playground and wind blows paper into the stream, students will add cup #4 to Frank's water.
  • Each time Frank is up against pollution, the students will observe, discuss, and write the following on a record sheet:
    • How would you describe Frank's living conditions?
    • What non-living factors are affecting Frank's ecosystem?
    • How do you think Frank the Fish feels?
    • Real life - What kind of impact does this make on biodiversity in a stream?
  • When each group has finished, discuss findings as a class.
    • Talk specifically about how pollution and other non-living environmental factors affect biodiversity.

Biodiversity Games

What Am I?

This game allows students to learn more about various species in an ecosystem.

  • Note: activity requires students to have background knowledge in specific plant and animal adaptations.

Materials for each group:

  • Index cards labeled with a variety of living things from at least 4 different ecosystems
    • Example: camel (desert), palm tree (tropical coast), orchid (rainforest), reindeer (tundra)

Procedure:

  • Students will play in groups of 3-5.
  • Explain that students will get to play a game where giving and guessing clues allows them to learn more about biodiversity in ecosystems.

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