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Five hundred yard field trip

Observable ecology lessons for home and school

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What is the five hundred yard field trip?


The Five hundred Yard Field Trip is a series of curriculum units for teachers, parents, youth leaders. The goal of the Five Hundred Yard Field trip is to help students create a habitat using native plants and learn about the ecosystem createdLessons are free to download on this site. Plants are easily purchased from MA native plant nurseries. See the "Get Plants" tab for the native plant nursery in your area  No bus fee or permission slips necessary, plant, watch and learn!

About the Units

Each unit has several "chunks" so teachers may use pieces as a stand alone lesson or the entire curriculum  for a longer unit.  All lessons have  been vetted by educators currently teaching the age group. No previous knowledge of ecology or native plants is required to implement the unit. Each lesson includes:

  • Presentation

  • Games and/or interactive activities

  • MCAS practice (3-5 unit)

  • Reading passages

  • References to the grade level science standards addressed

  • Language objectives for ELL students

Curriculum Units

The Pussytoes Project: Grades K-2

Pussytoes are a wonderful, low growing plant which sends up its distinctive "pussytoe" white flower in May.  These plants are one of the host plants of the American Lady butterfly, the life cycle of which can be observed on the plant. In this unit, students will learn about the diet of caterpillars, their adaptations to their environment, their metamorphosis into butterflies and moths, the  relationship between caterpillars and their host plants and the mechanisms of pollination. This unit is designed to satisfy many of the life science standards for MA, Vt,  NH  and NY for grades k-2

Mini Medow: Grades 3-5

In this unit,  students will plant a more varied group  of plants: flowers and native grasses that support a variety of caterpillars and other pollinators.  All the plants selected for this unit are drought-proof and non aggressive.  Students will be able to observe an ecological system and learn about the various interactions between plants and insects. This unit is designed to satisfy many of the life science standards for MA, Vt,  NH and NY for grades 3-5

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