Investigating the biodiversity of different habitats: Introducing STEM Careers


This resource is part of the SAPS Careers in Science series, a set of resources to support science teachers in integrating STEM careers information with practical activities. This resource is aimed at pupils aged 14-16 (key stage 4).

In this resource, students investigate the biodiversity of different habitats, looking at the relative abundance of different plant species. Students carry out a practical activity in the school grounds or other green space, comparing the diversity of habitats using Cairns’ sequential comparison index.

Their investigation is put in a STEM Careers context, through a short video case study of Amy Eycott, landscape ecologist for the Forestry Commission. Students find out more about the skills and knowledge that she needs for her job, and how her scientific research has had an impact on government policy.

As an extension activity, students can then use Google Earth to see the areas they have investigated within the context of their surroundings, and make a preliminary assessment of the opportunities for movement of species between areas.

This resource includes full teachers’ notes, foundation, higher, extension and plenary activities, a case study, a students’ worksheet and technical notes for the practical.

Starter activity: Case study on Amy Eycott, landscape ecologist, and questions
Foundation activity: Sampling – comparing the diversity of habitats
Higher activity: Habitat networks and biodiversity
Extension activity: Investigating habitat networks
Plenary activity: Biodiversity in the UK

Careers education

Motivate and engage young people so more of them want to continue to study science and make it their career.

How science works

Pupils should be taught to:

  • collect data from primary and secondary sources, including using ICT sources and tools
  • work accurately and safely, individually and with others, when collecting first-hand data
  • evaluate methods of collection of data and consider their validity and reliability as evidence

Living organisms and life processes

Pupils should:

  • understand that the effects of human activity on the environment can be assessed using living and non-living indicators.

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