Inside the world of forests
This activity helps students explore the connections between and among living and nonliving components of a healthy natural forest ecosystem. Students discover that biota are intimately connected with abiotic components of the environment and that there are various interdependent relationships between living organisms as they feed upon, shelter among, and compete with each other. They learn how to define an ecosystem using a forest as an example. They also learn that a healthy ecosystem functions because of the presence, strength, and quality of interrelationships among biota and their environments.
The activity makes use of nature exploration and observation to introduce students to these forest elements. Students go on a scavenger hunt in the forest, and later in the classroom they compare notes and observations to come up with a definition of a forest ecosystem. Students then enact an ecosystem using sounds, motions, and facts about forest elements. They later discuss the relationships observed between organisms and their environment and the quality of the forest as a result of these connections.
Please note all credits go to the University of Florida's School of Forest Resources & Conservation (SFRC) Extension Programs. Plant Heroes did not create any of the materials shared here.