Before your Visit
In this activity, students will review some key terms and concepts related to ecosystems while exploring the flow of energy and matter through a food chain.
At the Gardens
During their visit to Matthaei, students will be able to explore both the conservatory and the trails. While they do so, they can identify, observe, and record different components of ecosystems and plant-animal interactions.
In the Classroom
After visiting Matthaei, students will have the opportunity to diagram the components of ecosystems they observed on their trip. This activity can also be used to explore other ecosystems that students may have encountered or studied.
Willow Pond Program
This program gives students an opportunity to explore Matthaei’s Willow Pond as an ecosystem case study. Students should review the background information on Willow Pond before the trip. At Matthaei, they’ll follow the Sue Reichert Discovery Trail, which loops around the pond. During their walk, they will make observations about the consumers, producers, and decomposers present at the pond. Finally, students will make a food web to describe the cycling of energy and nutrients through Willow Pond’s ecosystem.