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Leaf Litter Experiment
 
Collecting Leaf Litter from Nature
Materials you will need:

• Bucket or Plastic Bag
• Small Shovel
• Hand Magnifying Glass
• Paint Brushes
• Small Shallow Pot (petri dish) with lid
• Large container (white washing bowl)
• A Pooter
• Garden gloves

What is life and its complex food chain???

 

 
 
Steps
 
1.  Find an area where you can collect a good sample of layers of leaves and soil.

2.  Observe the area around this spot and take note of the life around it.

3.  Collect several scoops of leaves and the soil to put in your bucket or bag.

4.  Take your sample to an area to work in.

5.  Empty your contents of leaf litter on or in a contained surface/area so that you can spread it around to get a good look at all the contents within.

6.  Use a paint brush to move around and sweep through the leaf litter.

7.  Can you see anything moving?  If so collect the insects with a scoop, the paint brush or pooter and put them in your small container or Petri dish and examine it with your magnifying lens.

8.  Make notes of what you can detect from the leaf litter.  Can you identify any of the insects collected?

9.  Collect leaf litter from a completely different area and compare your findings.  Maybe you collected from under a tree so you may want to compare these insects with what you may find from an entirely different surrounding.

                            

                          

Ask yourself these questions?

1.  Did you find anything that was alive and moving?

2.  Did you find anything that was no longer alive?

3.  What insects did you find in your leaf litter?

4.  Would you consider leaf litter to be part of the food chain?

5.  Do the non-living insects and microbial life serve any purpose?

From leaf litter you could possibly find:   (Within the ecological food chain, consumers are categorized into three groups within an ecological food chain).

Primary consumers  - are usually herbivores, feeding on plants and fungus.
Secondary consumers - are mainly carnivorous and prey on other animals.
Tertiary consumers - are carnivore at the topmost level that feed on other carnivores.  They feed on secondary consumers and primary consumers.  In this experiment we are looking for spiders..

Did you know...

~Leaf litter is food and shelter for insects and microbial life.

~The composition of leaf litter contains living and non-living parts.

~Leaf litter and soil litter help to maintain soil fertility and structure.

~ Nutrients locked up in dead organic matter are released through a complex food chain.

BE SURE TO WASH YOU HAND AFTER DOING YOUR EXPERIMENT!


 
 
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