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Taking a Micro Hike

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Keywords: micro, hike, habitat, field,
Subject(s): Life Science, Science
Grades 6 through 8
School: St Aloysius School, Pewee Valley, KY
Planned By: Theresa Murphy
Original Author: Theresa Murphy, Pewee Valley
Day 1: The students will need field guides of invertebrates and plants, magnifying lenses, hand-held 30X magnifiers, digital camera, flip videos, tweezers, one meter length of string. They will work their way from one end of the string to the other using the magnifiers to find life on the surface of the soil. They will take close up shots and video of any plant and animal found and use the field guides to identify the organisms.

Day 2: Students will be able to identify the life existing on a rotting log and will be able to expand the food web to include these organisms. The students will be supplied with field guides, tweezers, magnifying lenses, cameras and flip video They will identify any fungi, lichens, and invertebrates. They will take pictures and video of the surface of the wood, roll the log and repeat the process for the bottom of the log and the area of contact with the soil.

Day 3: The students will be given field guides for arachnids, magnifying lenses, cameras, tweezers, hairspray and black construction paper. The students will look at ground level, in trees, fallen wood, under rocks and around any structures to find any spiders. Students will take pictures of any spider that they find to document any distinguishing markings. After completion of the identifcation, students will use the tweezers to lure the spider from the web. Students will spray the web with hairspray and will bring the black construction paper from the back side of the web so that the web sticks to the paper. Students will label each collected spider web with the type of spider that made it. Document cameras will be used to show each spider web.

Day 4: Students will use Inspiration to sort out and classify all organisms identified at the soild surface; all plants, invertebrates, mammals, lichens, and fungi from the micro hike, the exploration of the rotting log and the spider hunt.

Day 5: Students will list all organisms found in the micro hike, the rotting log and creepy crawlers and create a table of the names of the organisms, its specific environment, its food source, animals that may be natural enemies, its covering, and its means of getting around. Notebook software from Smartboard will be used for students to compile a presentation. Pictures and video will be included to show concepts learned.

These lessons are part of a hands-on outdoor classroom project. Students will be designing, implementing and maintaining outdoor habitats.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This unit integrates life science with math and language arts. Students must find, observe, and keep data. Students will journal information for presentation.
The students will be able to apply their knowledge of the study area to develop a scavenger hunt for other classes in the school. All students in the school will get exposure to the school grounds as a biome.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Flip Video, Tripods, Batteries, Inspiration
Other Items: 1 Document Camera, $849 each, total of $849.00