7. Habitat Survey - Logistics

For habitat survey:
40-50 minutes at the creek
traveling time varies

For setting up the soil analysis tests in the classroom:
10-15 minutes to set up soil separation and Tullgren funnel tests
10 minutes to identify plants and insects

A day later, analyze the results and have a class discussion:
10 minutes to interpret soil separation and Tullgren funnel tests
10 minutes to compare results with another group
20-30 minutes group discussion

2-4 students

For habitat survey, each group of students needs: (I assembled all the materials into several shoebox-sized plastic containers to become our class set of “creek kits”)

  • Copy of Habitat Survey handout
  • 1 petri dish
  • 2-3 strips pH paper
  • 10 ml of water (A film canister is a handy, free, container and measuring tool. To be more accurate with your measurements, you can buy plastic, graduated 15 ml test tubes)
  • 2-3 white paper towels
  • 1 ziplock bag
  • 1 extra-large spoon or small hand trowel
  • 1 hand lens or magnifying glass
  • 4 meter length of string tied into a knot every 1 meter (brightly colored polyester contractor’s string works well)
  • 1 roll scotch tape
  • optional: bamboo skewers or other sticks/stiff wire to stake out the string

For the habitat survey, the teacher needs:

  • first aid kit
  • gloves and a plastic bag (for unsavory trash items)
  • extra copies of the Habitat Surveyhandout
  • field guides of local plants and insects
  • optional: water and paper cups

For classroom tests and interpretation each group needs:

  • 1 petri dish
  • 1 funnel (card stock paper rolled and taped into a funnel shape and cut to 4-6 inches tall may be substituted)
  • 1 funnel holder to hold funnels upright above a Petri dish (card stock paper rolled into a tube works well or you can eliminate the Petri dish as well by using a cup that the body of the funnel rests in as long as the bottom tip of the funnel does not touch the bottom of the cup)
  • 1 square of cheesecloth
  • 1 clear 15 ml tubes with lids, glass or plastic

For classroom tests and interpretation the whole class can share:

  • printout of the soil analysis stations directions (see bottom of Soil Analysis lesson summary page)
  • 2 tablespoons
  • 2 rulers
  • 3-4 bare light bulbs hung or mounted approximately 1 foot from the table top (desk lamps work well)
  • 1 small jar alum (available at supermarkets for pickling)
  • 1 package removable dot labels or rolls of masking tape
  • assorted field guides of plants and insects