E.T. A LOCAL WAY OF LEARNING
Title: ECOLOGY TREASURE HUNT
Author: Eulalie R. Rivera Elementary School
Environmental Education Team
Grade Level: 3-5
2. Ecosystem 1.Science
3. Carrying Capacity 2.Social Studies
In the suggested exercises, students will identify things in nature following
specific clues, select several items for writing descriptive sentences, and
conclude with discussion on some possible interrelationships between the things
collected and observed.
A first principle of ecology is that "everything is connected to everything
else. Every living thing in a natural area is competing to grow and maintain
itself. At the same time each living thing needs something from other living
things. It also gives something to other living things.
The plants give energy in the form of food. They give oxygen. They get carbon
dioxide and fertilizers from animals. Small plants get shade. Large plants
provide the shade but protect the soil from erosion.
Some animals use food-from the plants. Other animals eat the plant eaters.
They keep populations in control.
Bacteria and mushrooms eat up dead plants and animal wastes to recycle nature's
leftovers. So do many small animals in the soil. The large plants get good soil
conditions because of these animals.
If you would think about it, you could think of many ways plants and animals
help each other. The best way is to go to where nature works. Take a walk or
field trip to any wild spot. Look around. Poke around in the soil and in the old
logs and things on the ground.
To help you learn how everything in nature is connected together, go on an
ecology treasure hunt.
What you do need: Several small plastic bags. One medium sized paper or plastic
bag. Some small tags. Two small baby food size jars. A pencil. A trowel would be
ECOLOGY TREASURE HUNT
2. Write Abouts Write a descriptive sentence or two on at least five of
The home of a large animal
A flying animal that sings
A place where animals raise their babies
A sign left by a large animal which tells you who he is
The biggest living thing in your study area
The protective coating of a large plant
(tell its color and how it looks)
A liquid which is important for life
The thing which gives energy to the life in your area
A group of living things which are all very much alike
3. In the classroom
Compare the different bring-backs and write about.
Discuss why these show the interconnection of nature. Go to
the library to find more about the things you found and how they help nature
keep working. Write a report about your favorite thing you found or prepare a
talk about it. Remember to include how it is connected to the rest of nature.
ECOLOGY TREASURE HUNT
Find the parts of nature's interconnected puzzle. Use the clues given below.
Take small samples of some of these to show to your classmates. Be careful not
to take a lot of stuff because nature needs its parts. Don't wreck the ecosystem
by being greedy. Write down the answers for questions which don't ask you to
bring something back.
Note: Search for "bring-backs" could be done by small teams of students.
Where to go: Any wild place which isn't used by man very often. Get permission
of tire land owner.
Treasure Hunt #1
Find as many of these as you can in the time you have to work. Think carefully
about each clue. Find the parts of nature's puzzle. What makes nature operate?
Check off the clue when you find each thing, and place it in your plastic bag.
Use only one clue for each thing.
1. Bring Backs Clues
A small thing waiting to
grow into something bigger
The smallest bit of life
that makes food from sun
A plant, part which hitches
Two plants which live
A hiding place for a small
An animal which recycles
A small animal with four
An animal eaten by another
A color which captures sun
An animal which lives in