Lesson ideas

Teaching and learning resources for homeschooling

The British Ecological Society aims to support parents and teachers in teaching ecological sciences during the current pandemic. The below resources are all offered free and provide students of different key stages the opportunity to continue their learning during homeschooling:

Association for Science Education provide links and resources on various topics including ecology

Back Garden Biology fun lessons by Dr Lindsay Turnbull, Oxford University. Covering practical work in your own garden and guided by an expert to look at theory of everyday biology

BBC Bitesize have launched daily lessons that include biology and are regularly being updated.

The Field Studies Council and EncounterEdu have teamed up to provide free #fieldworklive lessons giving students the opportunity to take part in real fieldwork around the UK

The Linnean Society of London provide a free downloadable resource entitled Linnaeus at Home to build parent’s confidence in helping their children carry out activities to explore the natural world

For younger viewers CBeebie’s Maddie Moate is running live lessons on different topics related to ecology at 11am each weekday on her Youtube channel #letsgolive.

Oak National Academy  provides curriculum linked lessons created by teachers and can be searched by subject. Lessons are free and with additional information for parents to access.

STEMLearning provide primary, 11 – 14 and 14-16 resources which are downloadable once you have signed up for free.

TES offers resources and information to aid in homeschooling from EYFS to key stage 5, many of which have removed fees during the current pandemic. It is possible to search directly for free resources relating to ecology

Zooniverse provides the opportunity to become a researcher and contribute to real academic research projects through your computer

ZSL London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo have created Zoo School with online learning resources linked to the national curriculum and designed for homeschooling

To add additional resources to the above list please contact Amy Padfield, Education and Engagement Manager

Freshwater Ecology

Ponds provide an excellent resource for both quick and extended learning activities. Ponds are not just for primary science – these activities are aimed at secondary students, but many are easily adapted for use with younger and older students. Watch this short video for more ideas

Acid Attacks: What effect does the pH of a pond have on the organisms that are found living there? A simple comparison of pH within and across ponds and how life differs depending on this.

Blooming Algae: What causes the “bloom” of algae in ponds? A lab-based activity that measures the effect of increased nutrients on algal growth.

Designing Keys: Why are keys so important? Students can develop and use a pond-based key using their own observations of the organisms they find.

Getting oxygen: All organisms demonstrate adaptations to their environment. How do aquatic invertebrates get oxygen? This simple game of bingo helps students to identify a few key organisms and link their physiology knowledge to the process of gas exchange.

Photosynthesis: How well do plants photosynthesise in aquatic environments? This activity compares three species and their photosynthetic activity.

Water Biochemistry: Why is water so essential for life? This lesson focuses on the chemistry of water as it applies to ponds and its inhabitants, and is more suited to A-level biologists and beyond.

Hedges

We have a series of resources related to hedges. Hedges form one of the most widespread wildlife habitats in the UK, home to both common and rare species. These habitats offer schools many opportunities for teaching practical ecology in a terrestrial environment.

What is a hedge? Why are hedges important and what are they?

Varieties of Leaves: There are lots of different plant species which can form a hedge and telling which ones are which are great skills for students to develop.

Laterality in leaves: This lesson idea explores laterality in holly leaves.

Creating a Hedge: Tips and information for creating a hedge in a school ground and how to maintain it.

Hedges and Safety: Make sure you stay safe when doing hedge fieldwork.