Resources for Grades 3-5 Activity – Discover Diversity

Students imagine that they are visitors from outer space, viewing life on Earth for the first time. By describing in minute detail all the life they find in a small plot of land, they will become more aware of the diversity and abundance of life on Earth and will better understand its importance.

To get this activity, purchase it from Shop.PLT.org as part of the Biodiversity Blitz activity collection and/or find out about professional development opportunities in your state.

Below are some supporting resources for this activity.

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:

Data for Deevoid (PDF)

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals while building upon concepts learned in this activity with the following children’s book recommendations:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • Seek by iNaturalist

    The Seek App uses image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of birds, amphibians, plants, and fungi and participate in monthly observation challenges.

  • iBiome Digital Games

    The iBiome series of educational STEM games invites students to play while learning about environmental science. Build virtual ecosystems to study human impacts on the environment and explore what people can do to help.

  • Video: Wildlife Habitat

    Wildlife Habitat.” This 7:42-minute video describes how the habitat requirements for different animals are diverse and ever-changing, and how most Great Lakes States vertebrate species require or prefer at least one forest type for part of their lifecycle. It is one of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

  • NGSS Correlations for “Discover Diversity”

    Download “Discover Diversity” NGSS Correlations which includes a guiding question, science connections found in the activity, and explicit NGSS correlations. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) define what students should know or be able to do at the end of instruction. This activity provides students opportunities to explore the three dimensions of science to build knowledge and understanding. In addition, activities offer phenomenon-based learning, which involves exploring the real world through learner-centered, multidisciplinary investigations that promote inquiry and problem solving.  It is a useful resource even if your state has not adopted NGSS.

  • Detroit Parks Coloring Pages

    Learn what makes a city park great, such as local wildlife, spaces for public enjoyment, and community activities, with this Detroit Parks Coloring Book. Use these coloring pages (available for download, print, and color) for students to explore the parks around the city of Detroit, Michigan. Then, discuss with students ways your community might conserve and enhance its public spaces with the help of PLT activities and have them investigate organizations, like the non-profit Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, that work to support community public spaces.

  • A City in the Forest

    How is a forest like a city? This 4-minute video, A City in a Forest from PBS Plum Landing, explores a child’s perspective of a forest and what they see living and growing on trees—from the top of the canopy to their roots in the ground, to dead trees lying on the forest floor. Aligned to several Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) standards, use this video to teach your students about ecosystems and engage them in conversations about their own community and urban forests. This video is one of many resources offered by PBS Kids through Plum Landing, a multi-platform, indoor-outdoor, science exploration adventure for kids.

  • Foldable Paper Microscopes

    Foldscope is a foldable microscope made mostly of paper that achieves the goal of being less than one U.S. dollar in parts to produce. These origami microscopes weigh less than 10 grams and provide the magnification power of your standard classroom microscope. Produced by Foldscope Instruments, the company’s mission is to produce low-cost scientific tools that globally expand access to science.

  • PHYLO: The Ecosystem Trading Card Game

    A study 20 years ago found that British kids were better at identifying Pokemon than real wildlife. So a Canadian professor of teaching has crowdsourced ideas and created a competitive card game that teaches kids about ecosystems.

    Learn more about this scientific Pokemon-type card game called Phylo: The Ecosystem Trading Card Game. Download rules and a starter deck for free and watch this video to learn how to play.

  • Agents of Discovery

    Agents of Discovery gets students moving with an augmented reality, geo-triggered app. Students play the role of a top-secret Agent to help solve mysteries of science, culture, technology, and nature. Download the app and mission with WiFi or data and then use the app offline outdoors. Agents of Discovery includes missions all across North America. Find one near you to learn why bumblebees buzz, beavers build dams, and more about the natural world.

  • Conservation Connect

    Conservation Connect is an online video series developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center designed to encourage students, ages 8-16, to spend time outdoors, observe wildlife in their local habitat, and learn more about natural resource conservation careers. Topics include endangered species such as Bats and the Monarch Butterfly as well as green careers, such as conservation law enforcement. Watch the educator’s introductory video to learn how the series can be used to supplement the existing environmental education curriculum, citizen science projects, and STEM content (science, technology, engineering, and math). The overview highlights the recovery of the American Bald Eagle, one of conservation’s biggest success stories.

  • NestWatch Citizen Science Project

    NestWatch is a nest-monitoring project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and funded by the National Science Foundation. Sign up with your classroom to become a certified NestWatcher and help track the status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds including nesting, eggs laid, eggs hatched, and hatching survival. Record your observations on the NestWatch App. Data collected through this citizen science project is intended to study bird populations and how they may be changing as a result of climate change, habitat loss, and the introduction of invasive species. You can even create your own nest box trails to monitor birds more closely. NestWatch’s new free resource for middle school educators, called Thinking Outside the (Nest) Box, can help educators anywhere in the country create nest box trails for birds on school grounds in order to provide habitat and project-based learning.

  • Encyclopedia of Life Biodiversity Cards

    The Encyclopedia of Life is a biodiversity resource that collects and shares information about living things on earth from microorganisms, invertebrates, and trees. When you share observations on the iNaturalist app, scientists come together to properly identify the species. This live data becomes a part of the Encyclopedia of Life and is made into an EOL Biodiversity Card. You can collect or make your own by collecting data on species found in your community.

  • Climate Change around the World

    An article in BBC News that discusses impacts of global warming in countries around the world and in major sectors of society: health, water, food, ecosystems, coasts, and industry.

  • Earth from Space

    This Smithsonian Institution website provides students (and teachers!) access to views of conditions and events on earth that are nearly impossible to document from the Earth’s surface. The site proves interactive; explaining how satellite imagery is gathered and used to better understand the world around us.

  • EarthViewer App

    Have you ever wondered what the Earth looked like 400 million years ago? With EarthViewer, a free iPad application, users can explore the Earth’s geologic history. The app tracks the planet’s continental shifts, changes in climate, and explores biodiversity levels over the last 540 million years. Combining visual analysis withe hard data, the app can help students make connections between geological and biological change. 

  • iNaturalist

    iNaturalist is a species identification app that allows users to record their observations of living things by way of taking photos and appending GPS coordinates to their discoveries. Each user has their own profile and can follow others to keep a tab of what others are posting, or share what they have photographed. The app also facilitates connections with thousands of scientists to help users identify the species they have observed.

    Another exciting aspect of iNaturalist is that users can contribute their photos and data and participate in a number of citizen science projects. You can find a list of some of these projects here or click on “find your location” using this map to see the observations in your area. You can also develop your own for your school or local community!

  • Encounters: Wild Explorer

    The public radio program Encounters: Radio Experiences in the North explores the natural history of Alaska and the Far North. An accompanying website offers K-12 teachers links to the episodes as well as resources, such as slideshows, videos, and sound clips, introducing the animals and habitats of the regions: beavers, bears, caribou, humpback whales, boreal forests, moose, and others.

  • WildLab Bird

    A free app that can be downloaded onto any Apple device (try iBird Lite for Android). Use WildLab Bird to learn the basics of bird identification. This application uses audio, photographs, maps, and the process of elimination to help identify over 200 bird species. Sightings can also be entered into a national bird watching database for comparison. 

  • Habitat the Game

    The Wildlife Conservation Society and Rainforest Alliance have created a free, new app designed for students 7-12. Habitat challenges students to care for virtual endangered animals while they earn points by completing real-life missions, like recycling or visiting a park zoo. 

  • Biointeractive’s Holiday Lectures on Science

    Biointeractive’s Holiday Lectures on Science series brings current research into the classroom, bridging the gap between textbook science and real life science. The Biodiversity in the Age of Humans series asks powerful questions, such as: Are we witnessing a sixth mass extinction? What factors threaten ecosystems on land and in the sea? What are researchers doing to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems around the world? What tools do we have to avoid a global catastrophe? In six half-hour lectures, three leading scientists describe the state of biodiversity on our planet and how to face the great challenges that lie ahead.

  • PBS Kids Plum Landing

    A PBS KIDS environmental science project, PBS PLUM LANDING offers educators fun and engaging resources to get kids outside and connected to nature. Encourage kids to explore their local water systems, find out what happens to life in the desert, and investigate nature’s sounds and smells. Download PLUM LANDING’s free summer camp resources, including interactive games and videos. Furthermore, all of PLUM’s lesson plans are Next Generation Science (NGSS) standards aligned and easy for educators to plug and play throughout their summer programming.

  • Every Kid Outdoors – Free Passes for 4th Graders

    Do you teach 4th grade students? Every Kid Outdoors was created so fourth graders and their families could get a chance to experience our federal parks, lands, and waters and discover our wildlife, resources, and history for free. Educators can visit https://everykidoutdoors.gov/educators.htm to get passes, download activities, or plan a life-changing field trip for your fourth-grade students. The Every Kid Outdoors website is full of additional resources to help you plan the perfect trip for your students. Plus, check out Project Learning Tree’s suggestions for family activities.