Demonstrating Tools for Measurement

CK explains that she has brought tools to use to measure elements in the habitat. We will conduct measurements with the tools at each habitat and enter the information in records. We will also list plants and animals observed in each habitat. The tools measure the percolation rate of water into the soil, air and soil temperature, light and moisture.

We go a bit down the trail and stop in a sandy area with dune grass. KC has two measurement kits. She explains that there will be two groups. Each will need a secretary to record the measurements, record the plants identified and record signs of animals.

Ranger shows notebook for making measurement records.


She looks around and asks the kids to "think of a name for this habitat." She immediately points out the most common plant, the marram grass, and explains that it "holds the dune together." She explains that if people step on it enough it will die. She says that a good name for this habitat is "marram grass dune."

The students gather around as KC demonstrates how to use the measurement tools.

Ranger demonstrates measurement tools.

Percolation Test


KC demonstrates the use of water (in plastic container) a pouring cup and a percolation container which is a can that is open at both ends and inserted into the ground. KC fills a pouring cup with water. Next, the water is poured into the section of the can that sticks out of the ground. She asks someone to monitor their watch to time how long it takes for the water to soak completely into the ground. Some boys watch the seconds on their wrist watches.

A student then follows her model, establishing and performing the percolation test. She pours water into pouring cup.


and then pours water into the percolation container.

Another student times percolation .

2. The light meter is checked , so is the moisture gauge.

3. Wind direction is determined by feeling the wind on the body. Its speed is checked with an instrument.

4. The air temperature and soil temperature are checked. Soil temperature is checked at the surface and about 4 inches beneath the surface. .

Student inserts measurement tool into soil.

Student reads measurement.

5. Students enter data into their notebooks.

KC cleans off the can and other instruments before placing them back in the the kit.

Then she guides the student through which plants should be written down, such as sand cress and sand cherries. She asks the students which animals they might find here.

"Ants" one girl says. "A rabbit?" asks another. KC says that if there was more time, they could look for signs of droppings. There are snakes here, especially the hog nosed snake and the garter snake. KC says the hog nosed snake eats toads. "Then there must be toads here," Alex comments. The kids volunteer to carry the measurement kits and we move on to the next habitat.

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