Quick summary: During this lesson students explore how to survey school ecosystems through quadrat and transect sampling. Students begin by walking around the school identifying biotic features of the school yard. They then work in groups to construct quadrats and transects, and survey organisms identified during the walk in these quadrats and transects. Students then use the data they have collected to create a food web of the school yard ecosystem, and to speculate about the health of school yard ecosystems and how they could improve the health and sustainability of these ecosystems.
This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.
- Students understand how to create and use quadrat and transect methods of ecosystem sampling.
- Students understand how quadrat and transect sampling can be used to make assessments about the health and sustainability of ecosystems.
- Students recognise how visualising relationships in an ecosystem as a food web can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of ecosystems.
- Students recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Year 9 Science
- Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)
Syllabus outcomes: SC5-14LW.
General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.
Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.
Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter.
Topic: Outdoor Learning, Biodiversity.
Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.
Time required: 60 mins
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity, facilitate class discussion.
Resources required: At least two copies of School Yard Organisms. Six copies each of Sampling Instructions and the Quadrat and Transect Record Sheet. One copy of the Class Record Sheet. Device capable of taking photos. Ball of string (optional). You will also need a rough estimate of the size of your school yard – you can use a hard copy map or Google Maps to calculate square metres. Six sets of each of the following (one set for each group):
- Quadrat materials: four pegs, 4.5 metres of string, tape measure, one piece of paper (can be small), pen.
- Transect materials: two pegs, 20-30 metres of string (depending on length of transect), tape measure, one piece of paper (can be small), pen.
Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.
Keywords: Ecosystem, transect, quadrat, sampling, organism, school yard, outdoor learning.
Cool Australia would like to thank The Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.