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Eco-island: Silverleaf Forest activity 3

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Investigate the ecosystem of a deciduous forest and add a range of animals to the woodland collage started in Activity 2.

Ages 4-7

Curriculum links: Sc2 4b, 5a. Art 2a-c, 5a.

Eco-island: collage image 2

What to do: Investigate the ecosystem of a typical deciduous forest and discover the vast range of wildlife that lives amongst the maple, beech, oak and chestnut trees. Start by looking at the primary consumers that eat the leaves, seeds and nuts from the trees (moths, butterflies, birds, squirrels). Then look at the secondary consumers that eat insects, caterpillars and mice (woodpeckers, badgers). Thirdly, look at predators that eat small mammals and birds (tawny owls, foxes). Lastly, look at decomposers that break down fallen leaves, branches and dead trees (funguses, earthworms, beetles). Talk through this forest food chain so that the children can see how all the life forms in the forest depend on each other for survival.

Find pictures of the forest wildlife that can be cut from magazines or printed from the Internet. Alternatively ask the children to draw their own pictures. Add them to your forest collage (see last month’s activity) and make sure that the children position them correctly – climbing on branches, sitting on the forest floor, and so on. Try not to stick all the pictures down flat – bow them slightly and stick them by the edges to create a 3D effect. Now your forest is complete!

Ages 7-11

Curriculum links: Sc2 4b, 5a. Art 2a-c, 5a.

What to do: Investigate the ecosystem of a typical deciduous forest and discover the vast range of wildlife that lives amongst the maple, beech, oak and chestnut trees. Start by looking at the primary consumers that eat the leaves, seeds and nuts from the trees (moths, butterflies, birds, squirrels). Then look at the secondary consumers that eat insects, caterpillars and mice (woodpeckers, badgers). Thirdly, look at predators that eat small mammals and birds (tawny owls, foxes). Lastly, look at decomposers that break down fallen leaves, branches and dead trees (funguses, earthworms, beetles).

Look at the different areas of the forest where the creatures dwell: invertebrates such as worms and mites can be found inside the layer of decaying leaves on the ground; badgers build burrows by tunnelling under the forest floor and come out at night to hunt; squirrels and jays can be found in the tree branches as well as on the forest floor gathering acorns, chestnuts and hazelnuts.

Explain the forest food chain so that the children can see how all the life forms in the forest depend on each other for survival. Find pictures of the forest wildlife that can be cut from magazines or printed from the Internet. Alternatively ask the children to draw their own pictures. Add them to your forest collage and make sure that the children position them correctly, climbing on branches, sitting on leaves or on the forest floor. Try not to stick all the pictures down flat – bow them slightly and stick them by the edges to create a 3D effect. Now your forest is complete!

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