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A Field Guide to East Bog Swamp

School: Marlboro Elementary School

City/State: Marlboro, VT

Grade(s): 6

Format(s): Field guide: Natural science

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This micro-field guide was created by 5th and 6th graders from Marlboro Elementary School in Marlboro, Vermont. Groups of 3 or 4 students worked together to investigate their own 3 by 3 foot (i.e. approximately one square meter) research plot, over multiple visits, and then created a field guide to their plot.

Each group started by sub-dividing their larger plot into nine smaller one-foot square plots; each student, though responsible for the entire plot also became experts in one of the smaller plots. Groups then did an inventory of all the plants and animals they observed in the entire plot and created a table in which they recorded the species, the count and other relevant information. Students also measured and graphed the air temperature on each of their 8 visits to their plot.

Additionally, these students studied specific species found in their plot using microscopes and illustrated their observations. Students also described the life cycle of one species – moss.

A Field Guide to East Bog Swamp is one small group’s micro-field guide.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A unique extension of the field guide format which allows students to closely investigate one tiny plot of land. Many schools have playgrounds or small proximate wooded areas that would be well suited for this exercise. The small size is real advantage for teaching students to observe closely.
  • Highlights scientific observation and data collection by older elementary students.
  • A powerful combination of art and science.
  • Shows detailed scientific drawings that include color and multiple perspectives. See pages 7 and 15 for examples.
  • When looked at with entry #153 shows the unique features each group included in their own investigation.
  • Layout is appealing, including the colorful front cover, the student-created title, the “brief foreword” and the biographical information on the contributing students.
  • An example of a small group, collaborative product, which also highlights the work of individuals.

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can use correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling to send a clear message to my reader.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.
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