Monitoring projects KS3-5

Contribute to a national monitoring scheme by repeating data collection as often as you can throughout the project life. All projects are most suitable for small groups of students, but could be used as class activities with multiple groups of students.

For help choosing or getting started, just email us!

Visit TES to download our KS3-5 project pack containing all projects here.

Bees Moths & butterflies
  • Count species of bees on a bush and mark them with paint marker for population monitoring
  • Measure the temperature and record the date
  • Time of year: February-September
  • Time to monitor: 30 minutes (15 minutes to monitor, 15 minutes to mark)
  • Equipment: FSC bee identification chart, thermometer, permanent paint marker (e.g. edding 751 Paint Marker)
  • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
    • Attract moths with a lightbox or sugar ropes and mark moths for population monitoring
    • And/or attract butterflies with sugar sponges and mark them for population monitoring
    • Record the species, measure the temperature and record the date
    • Time of year: Any time (summer term best)
    • Time to monitor: 1 hour to make ropes or sponges, 30 minutes to identify and mark moths; 15 minutes to monitor butterflies
    • Equipment: light box OR string, wood for frame, cola, sugar, and treacle (for moths) AND/OR small jars, sponges, and sugar (for butterflies); thermometer, magnifying glass, small clear containers for holding insects, permanent paint marker (e.g. edding 751 Paint Marker)
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
Insects Fungi
    • Bury flowerpot pitfall traps to catch beetles
    • Identify and release species, measure the temperature and record the date
    • Time of year: March – October
    • Time to monitor: 10 minutes to set traps, 20 minutes to check and identify species
    • Equipment: FSC insect identification chart, flowerpots, thermometer, magnifying glass, small clear containers for holding insects
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, ecosystems, classification, statistical tests
    • Record fungal species in your grounds, monitor how long they last for and who eats them
    • Measure the temperature and record the date
    • Place fungi in paper cups with vermiculite to rear flies breeding on mushrooms
    • Time of year: October – March
    • Time to monitor: 30 minutes to monitor fruiting bodies; 30 minutes to harvest fungi and 30 minutes to sort flies (1 week after collection)
    • Equipment: camera, FSC fungi identification chart, fly identification chart (provided), thermometer, clear plastic cups, vermiculite, 100% alcohol (provided)
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, ecosystems, classification, statistical tests
Pollen Reptiles & amphibians
    • Put fluorescent powder on flowering plants
    • Track pollination by monitoring how the powder is spread to other plants
    • Time of year: Spring/Summer terms
    • Time to monitor: 15 minutes for initial plant survey, 2 minutes per plant to set powder, 2 minutes per plant to monitor pollination
    • Equipment: Plant identification guide, fluorescent powder, fine paint brush, magnifying glass
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, statistical tests
    • Put down mats to monitor reptiles and amphibians in your grounds
    • Time of year: Spring/Summer terms
    • Time to monitor: Up to 10 minutes per tile
    • Equipment: carpet tiles, rubber gloves, camera, nail varnish
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, classification, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, statistical tests
Pondlife Plants
    • Monitor appearance and development of frog and toad spawn in a pond
    • Measure the temperature and record the date
    • Pond dip to discover which species live in the pond
    • Time of year: Spring term
    • Time to monitor: 10 minutes to monitor spawn, 1 hour to collect and weigh spawn; 2 hours for pond dipping
    • Equipment: thermometer, nets, small bucket, magnifying glass, teaspoons, FSC identification charts, scales
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, ecosystems, classification, statistical tests
    • See which plants grow throughout the year, the dominant species, and how abiotic factors affect it
    • See which plants grow in the hedgerow and which animals live there
    • Look for mistletoe, note tree species and rough dimensions of clusters
    • Time of year: Any time
    • Time to monitor: 15 minutes to monitor mistletoe; 2 hours for quadrats in grounds/hedgerows; 30 minutes for soil tests
    • Equipment: quadrat, identification guides, jars, magnifying glass, small clear containers to hold insects, pH meter
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, ecosystems, classification, field techniques, statistical tests, soil analysis
Trees Slugs
    • Survey the trees in your grounds – find out which trees you have and what is living on them
    • Measure the temperature and record the date
    • Time of year: Any time
    • Time to monitor: About 1 hour
    • Equipment: OPAL tree guide, tape measure, wax crayons, paper, magnifying glass or phonescope, ruler, thermometer
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
    • Record slug species in your grounds
    • Time of year: Any time
    • Time to monitor: 1 hour
    • Equipment: FSC slug identification chart, thermometer, phonescope or magnifying glass, black paper, ruler, petri dish
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
Dead wood Snails
    • Monitor species living in and on dead wood
    • Measure the temperature and record the date
    • Time of year: Any time
    • Time to monitor: About 1 hour
    • Equipment: OPAL tree guide, magnifying glass or phonescope, ruler, thermometer
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
    • Record snail species in your grounds
    • Time of year: Early autumn and spring/summer terms
    • Time to monitor: 1 hour
    • Equipment: FSC snail identification chart, thermometer, phonescope or magnifying glass, black paper, ruler, petri dish
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
Lichens Wet holes
    • Survey the trees in your grounds to see which lichens are living on them and how they change throughout the year
    • Measure the temperature and record the date
    • Time of year: Any time
    • Time to monitor: About 1 hour
    • Equipment: OPAL tree guide, OPAL lichen guide, nail varnish, petri dishes, copydex glue, knife or paintscraper (for removing bark), magnifying glass or phonescope, ruler, thermometer
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
    • Investigate the life living in holes in trees
    • Time of year: Any time
    • Time to monitor: 1 hour
    • Equipment: OPAL tree guide,  FSC freshwater invertebrate guide, thermometer, phonescope or magnifying glass, petri dish, nail varnish, meat baster, jug, sealable plastic containers
    • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
Insects (2) Earthworms
    • Survey the insects living in the soil and leaf litter
    • Measure the temperature and record the date
    • Time of year: Any time
    • Time to monitor: About 1 hour
    • Equipment: FSC minibeast guide, angle-poise lamp, funnel, sieve, glass jar, petri dishes, plastic pipettes, phonescope or magnifying glass
    • Curriculum links: soil analysis, sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests
      • Time of year: Any time
      • Time to monitor: 
      • Equipment:
      • Curriculum links: sampling techniques, data manipulation and handling, data presentation, scientific attitudes and experimental skills, classification, statistical tests

None of these for you? Go back to the project finder to look for something a bit different.

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