Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Finding Common Ground Curriculum Connections: Modules 1, 2, 3 and 6

Users walk through a fictional Virginia forest, and use scientific tools and methodologies to determine the forest makeup, monitor its health, and conserve its biodiversity. Each walk opens with an animated entrance into the forest in a different season. Guide characters from Smithsonian’s National Zoo assist the user and encourage inquiry.

Dirt Detective: Trees & Soils Walk: Use the texture-by-feel method and test soil pH to predict what trees will thrive in particular soils.

Forest Layers Walk: Take a biological inventory of the forest plants and animals that live in this multi-layered home.

I.D. a Tree Walk: Observe leaves and their arrangement on branches, and use a dichotomous key to identify a tree from its parts.

Observing Seasonal Changes Walk: Use some cool tools to observe and record seasonal changes and the process of growth in the forest.

Mapping Forest Change Walk: Compare scatter graph data to examine the affect of a non-native, invasive insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid, on a population of eastern hemlocks.

Using Amphibians as Indicators Walk: Investigate what might happen if all of the trees in our forest plot were cut down. Listen to a “frog logger” and take water samples to collect baseline data.

Select Links

Rotting-Log Researcher and Decaying-Leaf Detective
/education/conservationcentral/pdfs/M3rottinglog.pdf 352k PDF
Do a real rotting log and leaf litter study!

Shades of Green: Earth’s Forests (ThinkQuest)
Journey into Earth’s forests…

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP)
Volunteer to survey vocal amphibian populations in your region.

Teacher Resources
Download Modules 1, 2, 3, and 6 of the Finding Common Ground curriculum /education/conservationcentral/teacher/ for lesson plans for using the walks in your classroom.

Family Resource
Family Learning Activity: Take a Hike! A Family Forest Walk
/education/conservationcentral/pdfs/hike.pdf 116k PDF
Open your eyes, ears, and noses to life in the forest by exploring a local forest or woodland with your family.