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Keeping the Forest Balanced

Keywords: White-Tailed Deer, Balance, Biodiversity; Lesson Plan Grade Level: 2nd Grade; Total Time Required: One Hour; Setting: Outside area, preferably in grass

Goals

Students will participate in a hands on game that focuses on biodiversity in the forest. They will discover how the forest changes when one player has to much power and that a healthy forest has balance among all its players.

Materials Needed

  1. Before Deer Graphic Organizer
  2. After Deer Graphic Organizer Bandannas (brown, green, red, and blue)
  3. From The Woods: White-Tailed Deer publication

State Standards Addressed:
4.3.4 Environment and Ecology - Understand that the elements of natural systems are interdependent.

  • Identify some of the organisms that live together in an ecosystem.
  • Understand that the components of a system all play a part in a healthy natural system.
  • Identify the effects* *of a healthy environment on the ecosystem.

Subjects Covered: Science

Topics Covered: Balancing the forest; biodiversity

Methods

  1. Have students sit in a circle and show a picture of the white tailed deer. Ask the students: What is this?
  2. Following the students’ response, hold up the Before Deer Graphic Organizer. Place the picture of the deer in the center. Ask students to grab a marker and fill in any information that they know about deers. After two minutes have students sit back in the circle and share their responses.
    *It is OK for students to leave the definition for biodiversity blank.*
  3. Now prepare students for the Deer Game. Students will be divided up into four different groups and they will use colored bandannas to delineate their team: 2 deer (brown), 10 saplings/shrubs (green), 3 older trees (red).
  4. After groups are created explain the rules of the game. In this game deer can skip and walk anywhere in the game zone. They can never be out. Older trees must stay perfectly still and not move one muscle! They are out if they move. Saplings/shrubs can crawl on their hands and knees or crab walk. If a deer touches them on the shoulder they are out and must sit criss cross applesauce with their hand on their head in the game zone. Explain that the teacher will time how long it take for the deer to “eat” the forest. Play the game at least two times and write the times down on the Deer Graphic Organizer.
  5. When the games are over, ask the older trees and saplings if they felt this game was fair. Why or why not? Then ask the whole group: How could we change the game to make it a little more equal for everyone? Teacher can guide students with ideas like creating boundaries specifically for the deer, creating a player that can get the deer out, or creating a base where the saplings can go to be safe from the deer. Write ideas on the back of the Deer Graphic Organizer. Now play the game with whatever modification the students created. For this lesson the teacher will create two predators such as wolves. The wolves will wear blue bandannas. They can skip or walk, and they only can get the deer out. The game will be played and timed two more times. Write times on the Deer Graphic Organizer.
  6. Call the group back together. Ask students to look at the times for each game. What happened to the forest in the first game? What happened in the second game? So when the deer were allowed to rule the forest was it good for the “class forest”?
  7. After this discussion read "From The Woods: White-Tailed Deer" to the students and focus specifically on the "Making A Comeback, Biodiversity, and Keeping A Balance" portions of the article. Ask students about the word biodiversity. Read the definition and ask the students which of the games had more diversity? Which made the forest a healthier place to be?
  8. After the reading, take out the After Deer Graphic Organizer. Ask students to think about the game they played today and what they learned about the word biodiversity then write their new ideas down on the paper.
  9. After five minutes share their results. Compare to their earlier graphic organizer and compare the results.

Evaluation

Students will be assessed with the graphic organizers as well as teacher observation and class discussion.

Literature/ Sources Cited

San Julian, G. J., & Smith, S. S. (2009). White-Tailed Deer; From The Woods series,pgs. 2-4.

Author

Amanda Frick, Seven Generations Charter School