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Science - Biology
Standard 5 Objective 3
1 class periods of 60 minutes each
Scientists use many tools to evaluate the health of a habitat. One way to classify and determine the health of a habitat is to identify the organisms that live there and compare those to other habitats. To do this biologists use identification keys. In this exercise students will use identification keys to identify plants in various habitats and determine adaptations for success / evolution of different species.
Identify an area suitable for habitat evaluation. The area should contain several micro-habitats. These may include riparian, shrub, grass, forest, desert. Habitat alteration is both a natural and human-caused phenomenon. It is best to have areas that have been altered by nature &/or man (land slide, development, restoration).
Groups will explore two micro-habitats. The difference between these two sites is the time each has had to recover from human-caused alterations. If possible identify micro-habitats that represent different stages of succession (changes in the structure of an ecological community) and it is the students job to determine how these two sites differ and the adaptations of organisms to survive different environmental pressures. .
In this project students will learn to identify plants, identify adaptations to micro-climates and make biodiversity estimates (number of species), measure other indicators of habitat health (moisture, temperature, etc), and compare adaptations and biodiversity data to the other indicators of health.
Students should be familiar with how to use a dichotomous identification key and the following vocabulary:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
Group presentations of findings
Use the attached worksheet as an assessment tool.