AFTER YOU VISIT THE GARDEN…
Lesson Ideas for Grade 4
Note that this activity is linked to Activity
#2. You may choose to complete this activity without completing
Activity #2, however, be sure to look over the background and procedure
described there to provide students with any necessary background.
Students will compare the results of their field observations with
each other, and understand that animals in an ecosystem depend on
both living and non-living components for survival.
- Chart paper or black/white board
- Ecosystem cards (from pre-visit activity)
- Non-living component cards
- Ball of yarn
- Ask students to share evidence of the food web they observed
at the Japanese garden. Ask them to identify
- Draw a large T-chart on the board or on
chart paper. Have students share their list of living and non-living
components in the garden ecosystem, recording the items on the chart.
- Discuss the non-living components, asking
students to conclude how the animals or plants in the ecosystem
use the object for survival. (For an animal to survive, they must
have food, water, space, and shelter) Some non-living components
observed might not normally be used for survival, such as signs
or benches—however, students may find that some animals have
made them part of their habitat.
- Have students sit in a circle, as in the pre-visit activity #2.
- Explain to students that they are going
to make another web, but this time it will contain non-living components
as well as plants and animals. Remind the class that some of the
plant cards from the last activity might provide shelter as well
- Provide an ecosystem card (including non-living
components) to each student.
- As before, begin with the teacher as the
sun (also a non-living component), and have students raise their
hands if they have a card with a living thing that depends on the
sun for survival. Choose a plant to pass the yarn to, and continue
as before. This time students may represent non-living things that
connect at different points in the web. Also, as mentioned, the
relationships may be more than food-related (e.g. bird needs tree
for nesting). As before, when students show their card, they must
explain why they would be connected to the previous student.
- By the end of the activity, there should
again be a complex web of yarn in the circle.
- This time, have students representing non-living
components of an ecosystem gently tug at their threads. Ask students
to raise their hand if they felt the pull. Emphasize that a healthy
ecosystem requires places for pants and animals to live, as well
as things to eat.