Build a Miniature Forest Biome

Article excerpt

The new online educational storehouse at http://www.galeschools.com has just launched a free environmental science section with a wide array of teaching resources. It includes 12 experiments from the book Experiment Central, published by Gale imprint UXL.

Students can explore desert, rain forest and wetland biomes, and review a timeline of important environmental occurrences beginning in 1798. There's also an entry on the Endangered Species Act and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' (IUCN) Red List Categories of endangered species. In addition, there are articles on environmental ethics and the food web.

Here's one of the experiments available on the site

Building a Temperate Forest Biome

Purpose: Biomes are strongly influenced by the climate and soil type in a particular region. These same factors determine the success of a mini-biome model. In this project, you will attempt to build, grow and maintain a temperate forest biome. This particular biome is characterized by a temperature range of 32 to 68[degrees]F (0 to 20[degrees]C). It has an annual precipitation of 20 to 95 inches (50 to 240 centimeters) and a fairly deep soil layer. The purpose of this project is to try to maintain the correct climate, soil and vegetation in the temperate forest biome.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate. (This project requires continuous tending and attention to maintain a proper climate.)

Materials: 10-gallon fish tank (plastic, if possible, for safety), indoor/outdoor thermometer, watering container, gravel, sand, topsoil, incandescent light fixture with a 40-watt bulb (optional), plants and/or seeds (choose oak, maple, sassafras, hickory, tulip trees, sweet gum, dogwood). Note: Choose all deciduous trees. Seeds may be hard to grow unless they have been chilled. …