Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth and includes everything from tiny, microscopic organisms to ecosystems and biomes! Each organism and species work together to create an ecosystem that humans or other animals rely on. Teach your students about the importance of caring for the environment and animal interactions with our selection of hands-on biodiversity activities. Get your hands dirty and learn all about the environment with these 17 great biodiversity activities for students of all ages.
1. Bottle Biospheres
Bottle biospheres is an excellent, hands-on activity to teach students all about biodiversity and microbial diversity. All you need are a few plastic bottles and a quick trip to a local pond or lake! Students will be in charge of maintaining a balanced ecosystem in which their organisms will survive and reproduce.
Learn More: NAU
2. Create Your Creature
Creature construction is a wonderful way to teach about biological and species diversity. There are millions of organisms on the planet, so why not teach about a few of them, and then have students create their own and learn about their adaptations and body parts? This quick and fun activity is great for younger students as an introduction to their animal unit.
Learn More: OFTTEO
3. A Web Of Life
Building a food web is an incredible ecosystem diversity activity in which students will discover the relationship between living things. Each student will become a plant, animal, or food. Then they will use a string to map out how energy is transferred from one organism to the next.
Learn More: AMNH.org
4. Build A Birds Nest & Feeder
One simple and fun biodiversity activity to get learners to see an influx of biodiversity in their own backyard is by creating a bird’s nest or bird feeder! Students will learn about the type of plants or food that birds like and can graph the number of different birds they see at their feeders.
Learn More: Barley and Birch
5. Create A Garden
One way to learn about different types of plants is by creating a garden! Students can study the differences between plants and the variety of plants that humans use on a daily basis. Plus, this is a great activity to teach about the needs of plants and various living things.
Learn More: Food Corps
6. Backyard Biodiversity
Looking for a biodiversity activity that gets your students up and moving? Have your students go on a backyard scavenger hunt! Students can identify types of trees and different types of plants to explore the diversity of life using only their eyes!
Learn More: Generation Genius
7. Endangered Species Bingo
If your class is exploring biodiversity on a deeper level, you can start talking about biodiversity loss due to human activities. How do humans affect the ecosystem? What are the affected animals called? Explore endangered species with this awesome BINGO game that can teach children which animals need our help and how we can help them.
Learn More: STEM
A great introduction to biological diversity and the meaning of biodiversity is creating a collage about animals and what biodiversity means to them. Whether it be with photos and drawings of different species or entire ecosystems, these resources will spark a class discussion about biodiversity and its importance to life.
Learn More: Mercy Primary School
9. Biodiversity Hospital
After talking about endangered species and the effect of human activities on animals, extend your lesson with this fun activity! Students will examine each animal as a patient and determine if they are threatened, vulnerable, endangered, or almost extinct!
Learn More: STEM
10. Create A Bug Hotel
Creating a bug hotel is an incredible way to study organisms and adult insects. Students can cut a water bottle and fill it with soil, sticks, rocks, and more! Then, place it outside where adult insects and worms can access it. After a week, students can observe what animals have entered and started living in their hotel.
Learn More: Cork City
11. Mussel Invasion
A wonderful way to teach about invasive species and how they affect the ecosystem is by studying mussels! Students will extend their knowledge about balanced ecosystems by exploring how overpopulation and invasive species have a negative impact on the rest of the environment.
Learn More: Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority
12. Cone Dissection
Dissecting pinecones is a great way to explore the different types of plants. Students can classify the different organisms they find in their backyard and extend them further by labeling each part of the pinecone. Students can also explore the different microorganisms that live in the tiny ecosystem of a pinecone.
Learn More: Lemon Lime Adventures
13. Design an Ecosystem
Similar to bottle biodiversity, in this activity, students will design their own ecosystem. Students can choose an animal and then recreate their habitat and ecosystem in a small box. Whether it be an extreme environment or an urban environment, students will learn about all the interactions within each ecosystem.
Learn More: Stir The Wonder
14. UV Light and Plant Growth Investigation
If you are learning about plants, do a UV light and plant growth investigation! Students will learn about the needs of plants and create an experiment to determine which type of light is better for plant growth. Not only will they learn crucial science skills, but math as well!
Learn More: STEM/STEAM Teaching & Learning Journey
15. Frog Population Study
Teach older kids about ecosystems and interactions within the environment with a frog population study. Students will use dice and beads according to the cards they pull to make changes in the environment. Who will have the most frogs in the end? Will an invasive species lower the population or will a predator die and increase the frog population? This game is perfect for the classroom and will have the students engaged until the very last card.
Learn More: Flinn Scientific Canada
16. Plantable Seed Paper
Trying to teach your kids to take care of the ecosystem and the importance of biodiversity? Then have them create their own recycled and plantable seed paper! This fun, hands-on activity is an intensive study of recycling and how we can make the Earth a better place.
Learn More: Green Craft Kids
17. Biodiversity Web Quest
This online activity talks about the definition of biodiversity, the effects of humans, and biodiversity loss. This web quest is excellent for older students and will have them apply their knowledge of what we can do to help the environment and the importance of biodiversity.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers