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Ecosystems and Environment Science Projects

This article has science project ideas for ecosystems and environment science projects for grades 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Projects include describing and analyzing ecosystems and environments.
Science Projects: Ecosystems, Habitats, and Environment

To give students learning that goes beyond a science textbook and classroom desk setting, science projects can prove useful. Ecosystems and the environment is the focus of this set of projects. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use these ideas only “as is.” Consider adapting them for a better fit with your curriculum or your student’s knowledge and skills. Even projects from a different level may be modified and used. And sometimes repeating a project at a later time  -  perhaps with an expanded scope - will prove instructive.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade

Tips: These science projects for elementary students mainly provide practice in observation and the use of simple measuring devices. Help may be needed for the recording of observations, and/or keeping track of their progress with the task, which may be assisted by a calendar or other record-keeping method.

  • Choose an animal that you can observe both in captivity and in the wild. Spend some time observing it. How does its behavior differ? How is it the same? What effects do you see its environment having?
  • Pick an animal and identify the natural resources it uses for food, shelter, etc. How does this differ from people’s use of natural resources?
  • Investigate the life cycle of a monarch butterfly. Then identify the aspects of its environment that are critical to its life cycle. What results might a change in its environment have?
  • Choose an animal and study its habitat. Identify which aspects of its habitat are living and which are nonliving.
  • Choose an animal and study its habitat. Identify which aspects of its habitat would change with the seasons.
  • Illustrate ways that animals use plants as shelters.
  • Make a matching game for animals and their homes or habitats.
  • Make a list of animals whose habitats are water and who don’t need land.
  • Make a model to shoe the interdependence of animals in an environment.
  • Collect examples that show that an animal has changed or adapted to fit a particular environment.

5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade

Tips: Many intermediate students may be able to do these projects with little or not support, but this will depend on the student, the subject, and the particular project.

  • Make a model showing different habitats within the ocean environment, for example, coral reef, tide pools, kelp forest, etc.
  • Choose one habitat in the ocean environment and describe its characteristics, including depth, temperature, salinity, sea life, etc.
  • Choose an endangered environment and describe the issues and the efforts being made.
  • Compare and contrast the different environments in which your daily life takes place.
  • Choose an area that has multiple animals present, but in which you can determine the entire population. Graph the various populations.
  • Create a map or globe showing the earth’s biomes.
  • Explore the climate ranges of biomes to discover what the extremes are.
  • Take a US map and overlay it with a biome map that you create yourself.
  • Explain the relationships between weather, climate, and biomes.

9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade

Tips:  On the whole, high school students, are usually able to manage their projects independently, but periodic check-ins are a good idea for long-term projects.

  • Choose an ecosystem and predict how climate change is likely to affect it and the populations and communities within it.
  • Find articles on the effects of climate change on an ecosystem and its populations. Critique the articles.
  • Choose an ecosystem or habitat and detail examples of mutualism, commensalisms, parasitism, and predator/prey in it.
  • Examine the effects of an invasion or introduction of an alien animal species or plant on a habitat.
  • Create an illustration of positive and negative human effects on ecosystems.
  • Narrate a case of ecological succession that’s taken place in an area near you.
  • Explain nutrient cycling using local examples to illustrate your points.