Remember that field labs must be done in order....on time if possible.
Biology Lab: Field Lab #5
The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments
has a number of labs focussing on observation of plants and animals:
- Lab IX-1 Fungi
- Lab X-1 Simple Plants: Mosses and Ferns
- Lab XI-1 Porifera and Cnidaria
- Lab XI-2 Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, and Annelida
- Lab XI-3 Arthropods
See instructions below for including one of these procedures in this field lab.
Goal: To observe an animal closely
- Magnifying glass
- Specimen cases for small specimens
A very good resource for animal observations is Animals Alive! An Ecological Guide to Animal Activities by Dennis Holley (Roberts Rinehart 1994 ISBN 1-879373-58-0 Library of Congress 93-85480). This book has excellent advice on collecting, observing, and releasing specimens caught in natural habitats.
- In situ observation (habitat observation)
- Return to your field area.
- Spend at least one hour at a likely time of day (near dawn or dusk is usually better than mid-day) observing the area for animals. Be sure to check for all types: worms, fish, birds, reptiles (lizards and snakes are often found under wood tangles), amphibians (frogs near ponds), birds, insects, and small mammals. Depending on where you live, you may be limited to birds and insect life.
- Focus Area: Depending on the availability of forms in your field area,
- Select one of the IGHBE labs listed above (We recommend Porifera and Cnidaria or Platyhelminthes, Nematoda and Annelida if you have water sources available which might harbor freshwater sponges, hydra, or platyhelminthes. If you have not already done the Arthropod lab, this may also be an option). Complete the observations for the appropriate procedure and include these in your report.
- If you have the materials and time to do so, use the Animals Alive! guide to capture a larger animal (frogs, fish, small reptiles, bird) for close observation. Handle your specimen with care: use glovesTreat your specimen with respect and release it unharmed back into its native habitat.
- If you are unable to capture the animal, but can set up equipment to photograph it several times over a two to three week period, you may be able to collect enough photos to do some detailed observations.
- Hypothesis: Review your report from Field Lab #1. Copy your table of information and include updated information and measurements. Assess the hypothesis your created in Field lab #1: do any changes in the plants and animals you observe now support your hypothesis?
Write up your notes as completely as possible in a formal report, using the same format as you did in Field Lab #1 to make comparisons easier. Your report should include the explanation of how you obtained your samples, and a chart of their characteristics, with enough detail to identify each one again.
Report: Your report should include the explanation of how you obtained your samples, and a chart of their characteristics, with enough detail to identify each one again.
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