Subject area: 
Sciences, Social Studies

Experiences and Outcomes:
SCN 3 – 01a, SCN 4 – 01a,
Soc 3 – 08a

The aim of this lesson is for your pupils to find out about biodiversity and food-chains by playing a board game created by the Woodland Trust as part of their Nature Detective’s programme of activities. The game teaches you how to complete the food chains in the correct order.

Before you begin ask your class to look through the John Muir graphic novel and read the section The Mountains are calling me that describes:

‘Between every two pines there is a door leading to a new way of life.

Squirrel: Dinner!
Snake: Dinner!
John Muir: This is the life’


Print the ancient tree game and use the illustration with copies of the instructions on how to play the game

Pupils should note down everything they find out about biodiversity and food-chains on the Biodiversity Pupil Activity Worksheet.

The above handout also provides information about the Eco School Green Flag Award. Ask your pupils to read and discuss this Award and then collectively provide their findings about bio diversity to your school’s Eco School committee representative so that they can add this to their ‘biodiversity’ section.

Further work/useful resources

The Open University’s OPAL Biodiversity Survey

To explore biodiversity with your class further take part in The Open University’s OPAL Biodiversity Survey.

The survey explains that biodiversity is the variety of life and hedgerows can be important havens for this, both in the countryside and in our cities.

By completing the survey your pupils will be helping the Open University look at the condition of our hedges across Scotland which will help them to see if some are better than others for wildlife. For example, are hedges in the countryside home to more plants and animals than ones in urban areas? Which hedges support the most biodiversity?

By taking part in the OPAL Biodiversity Survey and contributing their results, they can help the Open University find out more about the hedges in their local area as well as enabling them to learn more about this habitat and its importance to wildlife.

Eco Schools

If your school does not have an Eco School committee the information below provides details of how you could set one up! One of the topics required to become an Eco – school is to explore biodiversity in your locality so the work carried out by your pupils as an activity linked to the John Muir graphic novel can also contribute to this Award. Discuss this idea with your class and apply on their behalf if you have a group who agree that they would like to take things forward.

Eco-Schools - what is it all about?

Ultimately by taking part in Eco-Schools your school could be awarded a Green Flag. The process of gaining a Green Flag is out lined below.

There are Seven Elements to the Process:

  1. Establish an Eco Committee (made up of pupils and staff). The Eco committee focuses on both the environment with in school grounds as well as the environment across school by focusing in on key topics such as energy, water, litter and biodiversity
  2. Complete an Environmental Review of the whole school
  3. Prepare Action Plans around three topic areas (there are currently Ten Topics only litter plus two others need to be worked on each time award status is applied for). (The Action Plans are based upon the findings in your Review and focus on how the school can move forward in a more sustainable way. Pupils set targets to be achieved)
  4. Monitor and Evaluate how well your actions are proceeding (All positive changes are logged, if they are not occurring new approaches to help and change direction are explored. It is encouraged that all take responsibility for actions to achieve targets.)
  5. Build links to the wider curriculum eg. Health and wellbeing, citizenship etc
  6. Involve and inform the wider community
  7. Produce an Eco Code to reflect your work

The ten topics that schools can choose from are - Litter (constant), Water, Energy, Waste Minimisation, School Grounds, Biodiversity, Health & Wellbeing, Transport, Sustaining our World, Food and the Environment.

Litter plus two others are chosen as focus areas for the Action Plans to be worked on in the lead up to an assessment/reassessment.

Links to the wider community can include:

  • Woodland groups
  • Improving local habitats
  • Or school visits from experts

As an element of Eco-Schools all contributing schools create an Eco Code - A mission statement

Full details of everything you need are on their website.

or print out this hand out How to get an Eco Schools Green Flag.

Reflecting on learning

Had learners considered how:

  • everything is connected through ecosystems and food chains and that if there is a break in the chain it can affect those higher up and lower down the chain
  • they can help protect eco-systems by getting involved in Eco-school programmes and conservation activities

Learners can:

  • Explain what biodiversity means and why it is important
  • Take part in biodiversity surveys
  • Contribute to the Eco School’s Green Flag Award