When you think about ecosystem project ideas, do you immediately think about dioramas in a shoebox, like this one I found on Pinterest?
Don’t get me wrong, dioramas are a great way for students to demonstrate their learning but it’s also the most common way. If you are like me, you are always looking for unique ways for students to express what they learned. That’s why I have a variety of ecosystem project ideas!
10 Ecosystem Project Ideas
Create Your Own Ecosystems or Habitats.
Have your students work in groups, research, and then create an ecosystem together. It can be something as simple as collecting pond water, organisms, and plants. You could also have students create individual habitats instead of an entire ecosystem. We created our own habitats and the students really enjoyed it. Together we discussed the importance of meeting our living things’ needs and a healthy environment. We had a habitat for ants, fish, worms, and so much more.
Create a Flap Book.
Provide students with a 12 x 9 strip of construction paper and several index cards (one per ecosystem you are studying). Have students name, draw, and color the ecosystem on the outside of the index card, and on the inside provide valuable information about the ecosystem inside. When you are done, it will look like this:
Create an Imaginary Ecosystem.
Have students create their own ecosystem but still requiring the characteristics of ecosystems such as needing to have both living and nonliving factors, populations, communities, and so on. Have students determine the food chains and much more. It will definitely require some creative thinking on their part, but it will definitely be fun!
Create an Ecosystem Mobile.
Students love creating mobiles and they make for a cute display. If you can’t find hangers to make mobiles, you can easily use other materials such as sticks (yes, sticks from trees.), dowels (found in craft stores), or paper towel rolls. When creating an ecosystem mobile, you can have students again use index cards like in the example above, designing the outside and describing the ecosystem on the inside. You could also have students get creative and design something that represents that ecosystem, such as a raindrop for the rainforest. Students will love this ecosystem project idea!
Read Around the Room.
Set out many books about ecosystems around the room and students are sure to get excited! Have different locations representing different ecosystems and then move students around from station to station. If you want, you can have a student record in a chart or on one big piece of chart paper what they learned about that ecosystem. There are many great books out there on ecosystems.
Create a Scavenger Hunt.
What student doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? To create an ecosystem scavenger hunt, you would just place information about each ecosystem around your room in different locations. For instance in one spot you may have information about deserts and in another location information about grasslands. Then create a few questions for students to answer regarding each ecosystem. Students move around the room reading about each ecosystem and hunt for those questions. It’s a great way to sneak in some reading and just another ecosystem project idea.
Create an Accordion Book.
Can you tell I’m a crafty, foldable kind of gal? I just love hands-on activities and foldables. I think I wrote about this a little in my Going Wild for Ecosystems post. Drag out some construction paper or copy paper and have students fold it in half. Then have them draw the ecosystem at the top and write about its characteristics at the bottom of the half sheet. (See image below).
Do this with each half for however number of ecosystems you are studying. Then connect them all by gluing them (or taping) side by side. (see image above).
Create a Circle Book.
Are you looking for an ecosystem project idea that is easy-peasy? These circle books have been my latest obsession. I’ve even got some created that I haven’t uploaded yet! But just like any of the above, you don’t have to head to my store to purchase them, you could easily create them yourself! Provide each student with one circle per ecosystem you would like them to represent. Then on each circle have them illustrate the ecosystem on the top and describe its characteristics on the bottom. (Sensing a theme?) Then fold each circle in half back to back and glue them together to form your ecosystem circle book.
Project Based Learning.
Are you looking for a way to get in a little PBL? Why not have students design their own ecosystem zoo? (This is a shameless plug!) This project integrates area, perimeter, geometry, and STEM learning in your science classroom. Students work through a series of steps, including research, to design and build a model of their own ecosystem zoo! It’s differentiated and can easily be adapted!
Why not have your students create a display similar to a science fair? In this display, students would take a regular file folder (see image below) and attach pieces that describe the landscape, climate, plants, animals, and food chain/web of the ecosystem. Then have students place a world map in the middle and color all the locations in the world where their ecosystem can be found. This can also be done on a larger scale with an actual tri board.
I actually have these tri board materials (minus the file folder) for you to download FREE! Just click here to download it.
This is just a small sampling of some ecosystem project ideas. If you’re looking to save time, you can find many of these items inexpensively prepared for you in my store here, though you can also create them easily yourself.
Stay tuned because soon I’ll be writing ideas on teaching beyond ecosystems themselves and diving deeper into subcategories. 🙂