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Biological Communities

Jimmie Whitney                 Lucy Flower Vocational High School
                               3545 West Fulton Blvd
                               Chicago, Illinois 60624
                               (312) 534-6767

Objectives:

1.  List familiar organisms found in several different communities.
2.  Distinguish between producer and consumer organisms in your list.
3.  Examine and identify as many organisms as possible from a soil community.

Materials Needed:

l.  soil sample
2.  newspaper
3.  vials
4.  hand lens
5.  four small jars (baby food) with cover
6.  isopropyl alcohol or methyl alcohol

Procedure:

You are probably used to thinking of your city, town or neighborhood as a 
community.  But did you know that all animals and plants live in communities 
too? 

Part A.

Based on your knowledge and previous observations, list in table form, at least 
four organisms found in these communities:  Home, Farm, Forest, Ocean and Pond.
Identify the organisms as producers or consumers.  Circle the organisms that you
consider to be consumers. 

                  Producers are usually green in color and are
                  capable of producing their own food.  Consumers
                  are usually brown or other color and cannot
                  manufacture their own food.  They obtain food 
                  by eating or consuming.             

Part B.  Soil Community

Collect a variety of soil samples.  Place each sample in a plastic bag to 
prevent drying and then label the bag.  Vegetation found on the soil must be 
included with the sample.  Divide students into four groups.  Give each group a 
sample of soil and a sheet of newspaper.  Empty the bag of soil on the sheet of 
newspaper.  Probe through the soil and look for hidden organisms.  Record in 
table form the common names of all observed consumer and producer organisms. 
Record the approximate numbers of each type of organism that is listed.  Place 
small consumer organisms into containers (jars) of isopropyl alcohol for future 
microscopic study. 

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