Activity Directions

Biodex Field Researcher

In Tyto Online, students always have access to a biodex, which can give them all sorts of information on the various plants and animals that live in Espeth’s biodomes. In this activity, you’ll be observing your environment, using your research skills, and creating your very own with information on the organisms living in YOUR biome! 

Whether you live on a farm, in an apartment, in a bustling city, or on the seashore, you live in an ecosystem that contains non-human living things. All you need to do is look for them!

Directions:

  1. Print out several Field Note templates. (Download on Google Drive)
  2. Grab a responsible adult and head outside! (Remember to practice social distancing while on your walk.)
  3. When you see an interesting organism, fill out a Field Notes page. Be as detailed as you can–you’ll use your notes to learn more about the organism later.
  4. When you feel like stopping (or when you’ve run out of Field Notes!) return home.
Here are some notes and sketches I made during a walk around my neighborhood.
  1. Time to research! Using your notes, try to identify the plants and animals you saw. Go online to find out more about each organism, and fill out the Profile page as best you can.
  2. Repeat as many times as you wish! Eventually, you’ll have a handy field guide with facts about your own, local ecosystem!
  3. Important note: DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING, and DO NOT DISTURB WILDLIFE. Animals may become scared or even defensive if you approach them, so maintain a safe distance. Similarly, some types of plants are poisonous and can harm you if you touch them. Always bring a responsible adult with you when you’re performing field research–they’ll keep you safe while you gather your notes!
I used my notes to help me identify the animals I saw. Turns out that the robin I found had a mutation called leucism!

Animals, Plants, Bugs, and More!

  • Remember, “life” doesn’t just mean large animals! Bugs, birds (even if they’re far away) and even common plants like grass or weeds are still life that grows in your local ecosystem. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find dozens of living things to record without even leaving your backyard!
  • You may want to bring binoculars with you to help you spot far-away organisms.
  • If you have a microscope at home, try taking a water sample from a pond or stream and seeing what types of microorganisms you can find! 
  • Find evidence of life? Bones, owl pellets, footprints, and even scat (animal poop) provide useful clues about an animal that recently passed by. If you find any of these things, take detailed notes and/or photographs and try to ID the animal that left it! (Again, DO NOT TOUCH THINGS, and ALWAYS PUT YOUR OWN HEALTH AND SAFETY FIRST when performing field research.)
  • If you find an animal corpse, again, DO NOT TOUCH IT, not even with gloves or with a stick, and DO NOT APPROACH DEAD ANIMALS THAT YOU FIND ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. You could be hurt or even killed in a traffic accident, and no field research is worth that! 
  • Don’t have a backyard or easy access to nature? Feel free to use houseplants, pets, and even things like fruits and veggies from your refrigerator! It’s all life! Remember, just because something is common doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting!
  • Still running out of things to record? No problem! No matter where you live, your area definitely experiences weather. Instead of looking for living things, look for weather conditions like clouds, rain, thunderstorms, or wind. Can you learn more about the different types of clouds, and take notes on how often they appear in your area?
  • This activity is fun to do more than once. Go on walks at different times of day, or in different seasons. Are the organisms you see different? Do you see more or less of certain organisms?

Research Resources:

Have fun!

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