Do It Yourself Grasslands

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1 Do It Yourself Grasslands Curriculum for Excellence Links The study of a Grassland Environment will help deliver the four capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence by: recognising and naming some common plants and animals found in grasslands. giving examples of how plants and animals are suited to their grassland environment. giving examples of physical factors that affect the distribution of living things. constructing and explaining food pyramids. using simple equipment and techniques to make observations and measurements. recording findings in a range of ways. reporting and presenting the information collected. interpreting and evaluating the results and processes. taking responsibility for their own health and safety out of doors. participating in the safe and responsible care of living things and the environment. thinking through the various consequences for living things and for the environment of different choices decisions and courses of action. understanding the importance of the interrelationships between living things and their environment. Before You Go On Site In order to prepare yourself and the children for a field studies visit it is important to outline the activities that the children will participate in, the risks associated with working outdoors and the behaviour which is expected at all times. The following activities could be used prior to going out on site: Children RESEARCH and STUDY various aspects of grassland i.e. plants, animals, insects and the influence of people DRAW OR COMPOSE a grassland code in the form of a poster, play or poem DISCUSS/BRAINSTORM their feelings about visiting a grassland what do they imagine it will be like? What will they find? DISCUSS the classification of plants and animals using simple categories PRACTICE with the equipment that will be used during the field visit include identification keys DISCUSS the worksheets which will be used during the visit Teacher RESEARCH grasslands VISIT the grassland DISCUSS with the class the importance of safety out of doors PREPARE materials and equipment section two - grasslands 1

2 Recommended Equipment The following is a list of suggested equipment which would be useful on a visit to a grassland site. Items marked with an * can be borrowed or obtained from Countryside Services. Mobile phone First Aid Kit Camera Wellies and warm clothing Poly bags to sit upon Bug Boxes * Quadrats or hoops * String and bamboo poles for transects Magnifying glasses * Books to help with identification * Clipboards, pencils and erasers * Worksheets Maps of the area Fieldwork Summary The following briefly describes the recommended activities for a visit to grassland within your local area: Complete observation sheet Look carefully as you travel along Listen carefully and complete the sheet Things we hear on the Grasslands Look carefully for birds and complete the sheet Grassland Birds Study the plants around you and complete the appropriate sheets: Grassland plants, Plants of the Grasslands, My favourite plant, Plants-Quadrats and Plants-Transects Observe Minibeasts and complete the sheet Grassland minibeasts section two - grasslands 2

3 Sheet 1: Look Carefully as you Travel Along Tick the things you see as you walk to site for your visit Bird on the ground Road sign which includes the name of a flower Someone using the outdoors for leisure Woodland or Forest Wildflower An area good for wildlife Footpath to the site Farm animals Machinery at work Litter Buildings People section two - grasslands 3

4 Sheet 2: Things we Hear in the Grassland Sit down, close your eyes and listen... When you have heard something, describe the sound and which direction it came from. Then listen again! section two - grasslands 4

5 Sheet 3: Plants of Grasslands Can you find the following plants? When you find them, colour them in using the living plant as your guide Daisy Buttercup Heather Cuckoo Flower Meadow Saxifrage Meadowsweet Cow Parsley Orchid section two - grasslands 5

6 Sheet 4: Grassland Plants Draw and describe any of the plants that are: That are very tall That are very small That are very bright That are very dull Remember to draw any minibeasts that you find on your plants too. section two - grasslands 6

7 Sheet 5: My Favourite Plant Choose one of the many plants and take a closer look My plant in the landscape My plants and its neighbours My plant close up One leaf of my plant section two - grasslands 7

8 Sheet 6: Grassland plants Using a quadrat Take the quadrat and simply find a dry place to place it down. Use a plant key to identify the plants in your quadrat. Make some sketches of the plants. Don t forget to include the minibeasts within your quadrat too. Once you have done this move your quadrat to a wet place and start again. Repeat this several times. Use the diagram to record your findings for four quadrats are they different? Yes No What is the main plant on your corner of the grasslands? Do you think this would be the same for all grassland? Why? section two - grasslands 8

9 Sheet 7: Grassland plants using a transect You will need 2 bamboo canes and a piece of string about 1m long. Find a bumpy bit of the site. Tie the string to the top of the bamboo canes and put them as far apart in the ground as possible. Try to make the string touch the highest plant that you can. Make a drawing of your transect landscape as outlined below. Bamboo stick Bamboo stick Write short descriptions and arrows e.g. tall leafy plant, small yellow flower, tiny frog etc. String: about 1 metre, touching tallest plant. Draw grassland plants and minibeasts What plant is the tallest? Mark on all the different plants along your transect. Repeat this activity for another piece of the site. Is it different? Why? section two - grasslands 9

10 Sheet 8: Grassland Minibeasts Animals and insects can be found all around the grassland. Have a good look and record what you can see. Drawing or description of animal or minibeast Whereabouts did you find it? What were they doing? What do they eat? Back at school identify your minibeasts and try to find out more about them. Compare your notes with the rest of the class. Which minibeasts did most people find? Were there any unusual ones? section two - grasslands 10

11 Sheet 9: Grassland Birds Grasslands are very important places for birds. They can be difficult to see. Find a quiet spot and see if you are lucky enough to spot or hear any. Us e a bird identification book and see how much you can find out about each bird. If you see a bird close up make a quick field sketch note wing, body and head markings and type of beak. Also note where it was and what it was doing. All these notes will help you identify it back at school. In the classroom, use bird books to find out more about these birds. What do they feed on? What adaptations help them to live on the grassland? Do they live there all year round? If not, where do they go? Draw or describe the birds that you spot. section two - grasslands 11

12 Sheet 10: Grassland Food Pyramids This activity can be done either inside or outside, or both. Think about what YOU eat, where does it come from? Now think about where the plants and animals around you get THEIR food from What happens if there is a change to the food supply? Try this game and find out for yourself Divide the class into 4 groups of the following sizes for example a class of 20: Half the class into one group(10) (plants) About a quarter into another group (6) (minibeasts) Half again into the third (3) (insect feeding birds or mammals) And just one person as the fourth group (1) (the highest predators foxes, owls, hen harriers) Decide which creature each group is based on knowing who eats who The children arrange themselves in a pyramid Look at how important the largest group is (but often the smallest creatures) NOW introduce something that damages the biggest group (pollution, fire, human interference) What effect does this have on the rest of the pyramid? section two - grasslands 12

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