Lessons for Learning

Are you ready to explore? Below you will find lesson videos that describe and demonstrate different activities that will get you moving and grooving outside with the natural world. They are organized by topic, and any worksheets, handouts, or links mentioned can be found under the Resources tab (also organized by topic). Any words highlighted in purple along the bottom of the screen can be found on the Glossary page, which is also under the Resources tab. Please pause when you need to! I encourage you to discuss, ask questions, and participate in the activity. Teachers and parents: After you try a lesson, please pop over to the Surveys tab to provide some much-needed feedback, and head over to the Contact tab if you have specific questions or would like to share how the lesson went.

Enjoy yourself, and happy learning!

Introduction Video: Watch Me!

This whole website is centered around the longleaf pine savanna ecosystem and the different characteristics that make these forests so special. Not many of us live within or even near such a place, so I recommend that before you jump into any of the lessons, take a second to receive a brief overview on longleaf pine savannas and why they are awesome.

Disturbance: What happens next?

Longleaf pine savannas have an unlikely friend: Fire.

Semi-frequent, low-intensity surface fires are what help create this diverse and interesting landscape. Historically these fires were ignited by lightning strikes or Native Americans managing the environment, but since European settlement they have not been as common. Lack of fire, coupled with land use changes and extensive timber harvest, have dwindled the range of this unique forest type to almost extinction. Thankfully, current restoration efforts are working to reinstate the longleaf pine savanna to its native range.

This lesson involves an experiment where you monitor how a disturbance alters an ecosystem and can potentially create new opportunities for life. Head over to the Resources tab for instructions to follow along, a worksheet to show what you learned, and Helpful Links to explore all of these ideas further. Here is where you will also find more about recycling and how you can do it at home.

Parents and teachers: This is your reminder to please take a quick (ten minute) survey to provide me feedback on this lesson. Pop over to the Survey tab to access, and do not hesitate to email me through the Contact tab!

Part One

Part Two

Bugs and Biodiversity

Alright, the longleaf pine savanna has an incredibly diverse vegetation community due to fire disturbances, but how does that relate to everything else that lives there?

Plants are the foundation for every ecosystem type. They stabilize the soil, offer cover from storms, and most importantly provide the rest of the biotic community with a food source. All wildlife species are consumers, so they need to find the energy they need from the environment around them. Some of them eat just plants, some eat just other animals, and some prefer a combination of both. Understanding the plant foundation of an ecosystem can help you fully understand the community of animals as whole.

This lesson will have you surveying two sites of your choosing that show different plant diversity. One site should have low plant diversity, meaning there are only one or two species present (like a lawn), and one should have high plant diversity, meaning there are many different species present (like a forest). We will be setting out a Paper Bag Pitfall Trap and creating Sound Maps to describe the insect diversity of the two sites. Head over to the Resources tab for instructions to follow along, a worksheet to show what you learned, and Helpful Links to explore all of these ideas further. Here is where you will also find more about paper grocery bags and composting and how you can do these actions at home.

Parents and teachers: This is your reminder to please take a quick (ten minute) survey to provide me feedback on this lesson. Pop over to the Survey tab to access, and do not hesitate to email me through the Contact tab!

Part One

Part Two

Thirsty Trees

The main tree species that makes up the canopy of the longleaf pine savanna is, you guessed it, the longleaf pine! Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) is a softwood tree species, but what does that mean?

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In this lesson you will conducting a demonstration to explore a major difference in soft- and hardwood trees: water transport. Grab a friend, put on your thinking caps, and get excited about trees!

 

Head over to the Resources tab for instructions to follow along, a worksheet to show what you learned, and Helpful Links to explore all of these ideas further. Here is where you will also find more about reusable alternatives to single-use plastics and how you can start using these substitutes at home.

Parents and teachers: This is your reminder to please take a quick (ten minute) survey to provide me feedback on this lesson. Pop over to the Survey tab to access, and do not hesitate to email me through the Contact tab!

Part One

Part Two