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Looking for an Ecological Succession Lab Activity that will actually show the changes in an ecosystem? This print and go dry lab resource will have your students counting “trees”, calculating percentages, and graphing data! They will see the results of ecological succession in ways that a simple diagram can’t show.


Ecological succession is one of those concepts that it’s really hard to find a lab for. After all, it’s not like you can take your kids out to see this process in action! This lab is the next best thing. And the only materials your students will need are calculators, rulers, and colored pencils.


What will students do?

  • count tree symbols in 6 different quadrats that cover 100 years, both in the canopy and in the understory
  • calculate percentages of different tree species in each quadrat
  • make 2 line graphs of the percentages … one for the canopy and one for the understory
  • answer rigorous analysis questions

This lab is great for an introduction to ecological succession, or it can also be used to review percent calculations and graphing exercises with some real-world applications. The analysis questions will really help students to understand succession, climax communities, and the changes that can occur over time.


Here’s what you’ll get in your download:

  • 7-page Lab activity
  • Teacher suggestions
  • 9-page Answer Key which includes completed graphs
  • graph paper template

Here’s what other teachers had to say:

“Great resource, kids really connected with it well.”

“Excellent lab in a subject where labs are difficult.”

“I use this with the 7th grade and then again with the 8th grade as they review for the STAAR test”


My students enjoy this lab, even the graphing part!


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