Option 1: If students take digital pictures of what they see in and around trees, they can upload their photos to Project Noah, which is an online photo album for sharing wildlife pictures. The class can have a designated “mission” for students to upload and share their photos.
Option 2: Read aloud Forest Explorer: A Life-sized Field Guide by Nic Bishop, described in Additional Resources. Invite students to sketch a forest—labeling the understory, treetops, and edge of the forest—and include different organisms that might be found in different parts of the forest.
Option 3: Build a “log station” at your school or site. Place the logs on the ground, preferably in a moist, shaded area, to allow animals and other decomposers to become established on the logs. The station can be monitored over time to see how the decomposition process progresses. Record the different organisms found at each stage can be recorded and compared to those found in other stages. Make a scrapbook to keep notes and photographs of the decomposition at the log station. Read A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer and Robin Brickman or Log Hotel by Anne Schreiber (listed in Additional Resources) to help students deepen their observations.
Option 4: After reading One Day on Beetle Rock by Sally Carrighar (listed in Additional Resources), make flip-up books showing what lives under or around a granite outcropping. On one piece of paper, have students draw the animals that live under Beetle Rock and then glue or tape paper flaps colored like rocks over them, with clues as to what is under each rock.
Option 5: Order pill bugs from a scientific supply company, and invite students to observe them over time using their science journals to record what they see. To learn more about pill bugs, read together Next Time You See a Pill Bug by Emily Morgan (listed in the Additional Resources).
See Additional Resources for more ideas to enrich this activity.