DURING YOUR VISIT TO THE GARDEN…
Lesson Ideas for Grade 4
Students will observe the biodiversity present in the garden, taking
note of evidence of the food web. Students will observe and classify
the living and nonliving components of the garden ecosystem.
- Picture of Koi fish
- Field observation sheet
Before you go:
- Before leaving for the field trip, explain to students that they
will be taking field observations of the plant and animals present
at the Japanese garden.
- Remind students that Koi fish are omnivores
and that they will be feeding them pellets made of both plant and
animal protein. Show students the image of a Koi fish mouth. Explain
that Koi fish feed by sucking things from the bottom of a pond or
stream. Ask students to brainstorm what kind of things Koi fish
might eat in the wild (algae, larvae, insects, plant matter that
has fallen to the bottom of the pond). Then have students think
of carnivores that might eat a Koi fish (cranes, raccoons, hawks,
- Explain to students that even though the
Koi fish they will be observing today are not wild fish, there are
still a lot of other animals (including insects) in the garden that
they can observe. This variety of animals is called biodiversity.
The garden ecosystem consists of all the plants and animals within
the garden, and the different habitats (homes) that they live in.
Remind students how plants and animals depend on one another (as
in the food web).
At the garden:
- Before you begin your garden activity, give the students an opportunity
to explore the garden, including the koi. Remind them to look for
some of the things you’ve been talking about in the classroom
(plants, animals, herbivores, etc.)
- Once students have had an opportunity to
familiarize themselves with the space, have students complete the
field observation sheet (or create their own using science journals)
by identifying and classifying the living and non-living components
present in the small garden ecosystem. As they look closely at the
parts of the ecosystem, ask them to also document any evidence of
the food web they observe at the field site. (This could be a squirrel
eating a seed, or a bird eating an insect, etc.) For this part of
the lesson, you might consider having students work in pairs.