Biodiversity Fun – Magic all around us!
Imagine you ate the same food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day… Pretty boring, right? In fact, you might even get sick – if you were missing some nutrients. Diversity – or variety, or having lots of different things around – is important for life – both for survival and happiness! Luckily, you don’t have to eat the same food every day! And luckily for the world, there is lot of diversity of living things – something we call BIODIVERSITY (or Biological Diversity).
Look Around You – Biodiversity is all Around!
There are lots of different types, or species, of plants and animals. Oak trees and Dogwood trees are different species of trees – and one example of Biodiversity. Snakes and cows are different species of animals – and another example of Biodiversity. This type of Biodiversity – called Species Biodiversity – is what most people think of when they hear the word Biodiversity.
But wait, there’s more! Look at your family. Do all the people look the same? But all the people in your family are the same species – Human. There is even diversity inside us! This is called Genetic Diversity. All the tiny little things inside us that make us special and unique give us a huge amount of variety, inside a single species.
But wait, wait, there’s even more! Look outside! There is Biodiversity outside in the form of different ecosystems. All those different animals live in different places – like forests and deserts, coral reefs and ponds. Ecosystems are made up of living creatures and non-living things (like rocks, air, water), and are influenced by things like weather and climate. All the different kinds of combinations of living creatures, non-living things, and climates makes for a lot of different ecosystems! This is called Ecological Diversity.
Fun with Biodiversity – do one or do them all!
1. Species Diversity: Go outside and collect fallen tree leaves from your yard. Try to find as many species of trees as you can. Bring your clean, dry leaves to class.
2. Species Diversity: Do you have any pets? Write down a list of how many animal species live in your house or yard. Remember, people are a type of animal species!
3. Species Diversity: Track your meals! Make a list of how many species of food you eat at a meal. It’s a lot! If you really want a challenge, keep track of the biodiversity you consume (what you eat) over the week and make a chart to show it during our class.
4. Ecosystem Diversity: Think about the Forestville School Grounds and the Great Falls Nike Park right next to the school. Can you think of at least three different types of ecosystems in the area?
5. Genetic Diversity: Stand in front of a mirror with a member of your family or with a friend. Record at least three ways in which you are similar (things that make you the same species, human) and at least three ways in which you are different. If you want, you can draw, make a video or voice recording, take photos, or write down your answers!
6. Biodiversity and Human Impacts: Make a cool tower with a diversity of different toys, boxes, books, rocks and sticks – whatever you can think of to put into a tower. Take a picture! Now, one by one, start pulling things out of the tower – from the top, middle, and bottom. See how long it takes before the tower starts to get weak. Take more pictures along the way – hopefully before it tumbles! Ask your parents to send your pictures to Ms. Nuria so we can put them on Facebook.
Billy Nye the Science Guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZJJWYGIb44
Biodiversity Basics Website http://library.thinkquest.org/08aug/00473/whatisit.html
World Wildlife Fund http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/