Unit 3: Biodiversity Inventory of the School Grounds

In this unit, students will understand the importance of biodiversity and use a biodiversity inventory to collect data and make observations representing the plants and animals on their school grounds, which they will then use to tell a story. The lessons would be good preparation for students to organize and participate in an Eco-Meet or BioBlitz.

Please read the introduction to this curriculum before beginning any lessons.

Grade Level:

  • 6 - 12 grade or equivalent

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations:

Middle and high school:

  • Asking questions and defining problems

  • Planning and carrying out investigations

  • Analyzing and interpreting data

  • Using mathematics and computational thinking

  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions

  • Engaging in argument from evidence

  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

5E Unit Element:

  • Explain

Ecological Society of America 4DEE Framework:

  • Human-Environment Interactions

  • Cross-Cutting Themes

  • Ecology Practices

  • Core Ecological Concepts

Enduring Understandings (the Big Ideas)

Students will understand that:

  • Biodiversity is essential to support the ecological processes that ensure life on Earth continues.

  • Biodiversity is valued by many cultures and is vital to ensure that we can continue to appreciate nature for its intrinsic value.

  • Biodiversity inventories are used to measure the flora and fauna in a prescribed area to provide data for management decisions.

Essential Questions

  • What is biodiversity and why is it essential for healthy ecosystems?

  • How does biodiversity contribute to the intrinsic value of nature?

  • Why is it important to provide biodiversity inventory data to inform management decisions?


  • Contributions to class discussion

  • Quality of teamwork while observing on the school grounds

  • Descriptions of observations in student journals

  • Small group work

  • Biodiversity data sheets

  • Pre-assessment question (entrance slip)

  • School grounds map

  • Accuracy of biodiversity index calculations

  • Data visualizations

  • Claim-Evidence-Reasoning posters

  • Journal entries describing key takeaways from this lesson

  • Preparation of slide(s) for presentation in Lesson 5