Biodiversity: Past and Present

An Inquiry Unit for Multiage 5/6 Students

Created by Diana Dell


What will I learn?

What is the assignment?

 How will I be evaluated?

What vocabulary words do I need to learn?

How can I organize my research?

How should I prepare for the test?

What print resources are available?

Begin your search!

Play a learning game!

Take the Test!



What will I learn?


At the completion of the unit you will be able to:

1.    Describe the climate and location of each of the major biomes on the Earth.

2.    Identify types of plants and animals that are supported by the different biomes.

3.    Identify the special adaptations that allow organisms to live in their habitat.

4.    Classify organisms as producers, consumers, decomposers, scavengers, herbivores, carnivores and/or omnivores.

5.    Interpret information presented in a food chain or web.

6.    Give examples of environmental issues that lead to the endangerment and extinction of plants and animals.

7.    Cite theories concerning the extinction of dinosaurs.

8.    Describe the process of fossilization including necessary conditions.

9.    Relate the location of a fossil to the time period the organism lived.

10.Create a board game based on the knowledge you gained in this unit.




What is the assignment?

You will be assigned a partner.  You and your partner will choose a biome to research in detail.  You will then develop a board game to share with the class.


1.  Explore as many Internet sites and print resources as necessary to complete the research organizer.

2.  Use the information that you learned to help you create a board game.  See “How will I be evaluated? for detailed information concerning the board game project.

3.  Prepare for the test. See “How should I prepare for the test?”  The study guide must be signed by a parent.




What print resources are available?

Silver Burdett Ginn Science Discovery Works

(the turquoise textbook)

Unit D

What’s to Eat? and  Eat or Be Eaten- Pages D18- D22
The Cycle of Food- Pages D29 – D31
Earth’s Biomes and Water EcosystemsPages D48 – D55

Variety in Ecosystems and the Challenge of Biodiversity- Pages D58- D62


(the lime green textbook)

Unit C

The ABCs of Animal Needs – Pages C8 – C11

Parts That Help the Most – Pages C18 – C23

Behavior for Survival- Pages C28 – C30


Let the search begin!


See a map of the world's biomes.

Learn where the earth’s land ecosystems are located.



Explore the biomes and the animals that live in each one.

 To return to the biome key, scroll to the bottom or top of the page and click on “Biome Key” or use the back button on your browser.  To learn about the animals that live in a particular biome, click on the animal link at the bottom of the page.  Then click on the name of an animal to learn about its habitat, niche, and adaptations.  You will also find a food web for each of the biomes.  Pictures and short videos are provided for many of the animals.


The Wild Habitat

At the Wild Habitat you can learn and play games about animals. Test your knowledge with fun quizzes on The Wild Habitat! The bobcat simulation will bring you into the life of a female bobcat. You have to make the right decisions to live successfully!


Amazon Interactive

The Amazon rainforest is one of the world's great rainforests. With these games, you can virtually visit the Amazon, learn about its rainy climate and find out who else lives there.


Wild About Wildlife

Learn interesting and bizarre facts about animals' habitats, defenses, locomotion, and senses. Look at cool photos and discover such things as where beavers like to hang out and what bullfrogs like to eat!


Endangered! Study a World at Risk.

Tour the American Museum of Natural History to learn about the dangers animals like tigers face today. You can also learn about the effect deforestation has on fish, or the impact global warming has on coral. What can be done? Find out here.


Fossils: A Link to the Past

Read this article to learn important information about fossils.


Dinosaur Extinction

Read scientific theories about the cause of dinosaur extinction with a poetic twist.  Make sure you take the elevator!


The Museum of Natural History

The halls of this museum are crawling with fun dinosaur facts! Get the lo-down on dinosaurs, the Ice Age, and what fossils can tell us about ancient animal diets. Play on-line dinosaur games and watch animation. Here, life before, during and after dinosaurs is alive and real.


Collecting Fossils in California

Got your pick-ax handy? You’re going digging for dinosaur fossils. This site tells you where and how to find fossils of plants, shells, sharks' teeth and more! Who knows, maybe you'll make the next BIG discovery!


Play a game to help you learn!


Dinosaur Match

Test your knowledge. Match the dinosaur description with the dinosaur name.


Ecology Quiz

Review the basic principles of ecology.


Biome Challenge

Test your knowledge of the major land ecosystems.


Eat or Be Eaten!

Test your knowledge of terms relating to feeding relationships among organisms!


Biodiversity Quiz Game

Here's your chance to find out what you know about the world's diverse plants, animals, and natural places! For each question, select all the correct answers.


Mapping Biodiversity

Travel around the world!  This quiz highlights the amazing diversity of life around the world and how scientists survey and map ecoregions.





Are you ready to take the test?


Do not take the test until you have permission!


Click here to take the test.