Keywords: biodiversity, species, ecosystem, habitat, adaptation; Lesson Plan Grade Level: tenth through twelfth grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: one semester requiring about 2 minutes per day; Setting: Tioga County, PA

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will gain an appreciation for their local biodiversity.
  • Students will relate the habitat to the types of species found.
  • Students will be able to identify at least 50 animal species that are indigenous to Tioga County.

Materials Needed

State Standards Addressed: E &E Standards: Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species (4.7.10 A, B)

Teaching Model: Experiential Teaching Model

Subjects Covered: biology, ecology

Topics: species richness, biodiversity, habitat, ecosystems


Students will first read selected background material in environmental science textbook and also the booklet Forest Stewardship: Understanding and Conserving Biological Wealth in Our Forests. The goal is to compile an extensive list of animal species seen throughout Tioga County by the students over the course of a semester.

Doing the Activity

  1. Students will report daily any animal species seen during the course of their travels and adventures outdoors.
  2. The students must reports the date, time, location, and specie's name to a student recorder at the beginning of each class period.
  3. The species list will be cumulative throughout the semester.
  4. All the data will be compiled and stored on a spreadsheet on a computer.


  1. The students will be required to learn the name of at least 50 of the animals compiled and name them for an exam.
  2. The students will also pick one animal and write a short report (one to two pages) on its natural history, distribution, and habitat requirements. This report will then be given orally to the class to be followed by discussion.
  3. Any student that does not contribute to the species database will lose a percentage of the total points on their short report.


This lesson should provide an extensive list from rural students in Tioga County. I would be very interested in seeing a list from an urban school. Population for comparison purposes. Species checklist are available from both the PA Fish & Boat Commission and PA Game Commission .


Dubay, D. (1999). Environmental Science . New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

O'Donnel E., and C. Pickens-Schwetzer (2002). Forest Stewardship: Understanding and Conserving Biological Wealth in Our Forests. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

PA Fish and Boat Commission .

PA Game Commission .


Jere White, Liberty Junior Senior High School