Resource Image Forest or Field?

by: Elaine Silva Mangiante
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Type of Resource: Journal Article
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 1 review
Publication Title: Science and Children
Publication Date: 9/1/2009
Grade Level: Elementary School


An open field—with its wildflowers, grasses, and vole tunnels—became an instant classroom. Students’ senses were awakened there, and upon entering a nearby forest, they immediately detected a difference: less light and cooler air. “Why are there no grasses in the forest? Why aren’t there ferns in the field?” These and other questions emerged as fifth-grade students collected and compared data from both a field and forest at a local Audubon Society wildlife refuge.

Ideas For Use


Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Food web
Nonrenewable resources
Analyzing data
Collecting data
Interpreting data
Scientific habits of mind
Intended User Role:Curriculum Supervisor, Elementary-Level Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Assessment of students, Classroom management, Community involvement, Curriculum, Educational research, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Integrating technology, Interdisciplinary, Professional development, Science safety, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 22 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 22 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Life Science
    • Populations and ecosystems
      • A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. (5-8)
      • All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. (5-8)
      • Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • Energy passes from organism to organism in food webs (5-8)
      • The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition.
      • Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources and no disease or predators, populations (including humans) increase at rapid rates. (5-8)
      • Lack of resources and other factors, such as predation and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystem. (5-8)
    • Diversity and adaptations of organisms
      • Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. (5-8)
      • Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. (5-8)
      • Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment (5-8)
  • Science as Inquiry
    • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
      • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
      • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
      • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.
    • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations. (K-4)
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    • Populations, resources, and environments
      • Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and from country to country. (5-8)
  • Process Standards for Professional Development
    • Design
      • Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
  • Teaching Standards
    • Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.
      • Select teaching and assessment strategies that support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.
    • Teachers provide students with the time, space, and resources needed to learn science.
      • Create a setting for student work that is flexible and supportive of science inquiry.
      • Identify and use resources outside the school.

State Standards Correlation

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User Reviews

Outside Inquiry Teaches about Ecology
  Patricia (Pottstown, PA) on April 6, 2012
  This article is an excellent example of how to tailor inquiry education in an outdoor setting. The author gives very specific directions and detailed worksheets to help readers conduct their own comparative study between two ecosystems. Although the author had students conduct a variety of tests to examine the differences in biotic and abiotic components of a field and forest, you could adapt the instructions to compare any two types of ecosystems in your area.