Crayfish Adaptations and Ecology

Location: Peavy Arboretum

Kit: Structures of Life

2 Hour Field Trip Activities

  • Structure, Ecosystem Components, Adaptations & Decay – Explore crayfish structure and function within an ecosystem. Use large bingo-like grid with a goal to get 5 in a row but some directions will be challenging. The hunt will involve using knowledge of adaptations and food chains to find the right species (will include journal page activities).
  • All Around the Pond – Hunt for key species around the pond.
  • Netting and Exploration of Life – Explore using different netting tools in pond and stream locations. Students have a goal to find the key components in the crayfish ecosystem.
  • Species Investigation – Write about 3 different species that were discovered including crayfish. Give examples of adaptations and body structure.
  • Crayfish Food Chain to Web – Concentration challenge game. Student groups will each receive a key pond top predator. Teams will work to find a food for their species. Total of 4 or 5 cards ending with a plant. What will invasive species do? What does losing a native species do?

Native and Invasive species in Forest Ecology

2 Hour Field Trip Activities

  • Learn to use a dichotomous Key (Journal Page) – Dichotomous comes from the Greek word that together means: to divide into two parts. Key Out and then label the plant picture during our hike.
  • Label the Invasive Species In a small group ask questions about native vs. non native species and investigate one of the species up close to see if they can answer questions. If you cannot answer your question, hypothesize what information would you need to answer it.
  • Forest Succession Game – Understand how invasives move and spread in forest ecosystems. Teams will race to put forest succession cards in order from clear cut to old growth.What role do invasive plants play in forest succession?
  • Old growth Trail – Watch for plant species and a change in forest structure as hike in the forest.
  • Adopt a Tree (Journal Page) – Students will pick a tree and the area around it to investigate. Look at structure of the tree and forest around the tree, recording key data. Explore ways you could use the data about your tree to answer scientific questions or create a experiment.

1 Hour Nature Center or Classroom Visit

Wild Bats

  • Bat Anatomy – How a bat compares to the students; flap your wings, draw a bat, use math skills to calculate and compare.
  • Echolocation – Small groups will learn about echolocation in a fun game of Bat and Moth.
  • Bat Mask – Discuss special facial adaptations bats have and students will get a mask to color.


  • Amphibian & Reptiles – Compare structure and adaptations.
  • Herpetology Stations – Explore educational hands on stations that teach about herpetology through different classes and adaptations of vertebrates.
  • Live animals – Hold, compare, and discuss native vs. non-native and invasive species with snakes, tortoise, newts, and frogs.

Local Mammals

  • Furs – View and touch over ten different local animal species.
  • Skulls – In small groups look at different skull adaptations and see if you can figure out what mammal species you have. Share with the group.
  • Tracks – Match the track to its owner by solving adaptation clues.

Wetland Wonders (Outdoor Nature Center Program) View local seasonal flooding from the Mary’s River that creates an amazing wetland ecosystem exploding with life each spring. Season depends on rain usually March to early May. Students must wear waterproof boots.

  • Athropods Netting – Find and identify different aquatic invertebrates like insects, crustaceans, isopods, copepods, and arthropods.

Foss Kit: Structure and Function

Benchmark and Standards 2009

4.2 Interaction and Change: Living and non-living things undergo changes that involve force and energy.

4.2L.1 Describe the interactions of organisms and the environment where they live.

4.3 Scientific Inquiry: Scientific inquiry is a process of investigation through questioning, collecting, describing, and examining evidence to explain natural phenomena and artifacts.

4.3S.1 Based on observations identify testable questions, design a scientific investigation, and collect and

record data consistent with a planned scientific investigation.

4.3S.2 Summarize the results from a scientific investigation and use the results to respond to the question being tested.

4.3S.3 Explain that scientific claims about the natural world use evidence that can be confirmed and support a logical argument.

5.1 Structure and Function: Living and non-living things are composed of related parts that function together to form systems.

5.1L.1 Explain that organisms are composed of parts that function together to form a living system.

5.2 Interaction and Change: Force, energy, matter, and organisms interact within living and nonliving systems.

5.2L.1 Explain the interdependence of plants, animals, and environment, and how adaptation influences survival.

Common Core 2014

Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.