LabVenture: Students use the data they collected during their LabVenture! experience to identify their study speciments, and certian traits about them, such as what they eat.
This Activity: Not all science happens in the field, a lot of it is lab work. Students look closer at the specimens they collected at their study site to describe them further and possibly identify them.
Vital Signs:

  • To describe in detail the plant/animal species that you found at your study site.
  • To identify the plant/animal species that you found at your study site,
    • Identifying species is difficult, and it is just as important to be able to make good observations and be able to describe something so that you can share that with others who may recognize what something is from your photos, drawings, and/or description.

Question: What plant and/or animals species did you find at your study site? (can be answered through identification or description)


1. Collect objects from the field of a common theme (ex. all sea shells, all rocks, acorns, pinecones, feathers, etc)

2. In the class room place a group of these objects in the center of the table have the students pick one object without letting others know which one. Give them about 15 min to write down as many words (or a paragraph) that describes their object.

3. Collect, shuffle and distribute paragraphs/list. Have the students then find the object their classmate was looking at.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 having the students draw their object. Repeat again using both drawings and words.
5. Ask the students which way was “easiest”? What observations helped the most? Is there importance of drawings in science? Are labels important? Etc. (This part can be a class discussion (I think this is preferred to get the kids thinking) or a writing activity.


In student teams, have students look at the photos and/or drawings and samples of one of the plant or animal species that they collected at the study site. Have students look at their data more closely - use microscopes, hand lenses, flash lights, measuring tools, etc.
  • Have each student draw the species, and select either the best drawing, or incorporate the best parts of each students drawing to create a new one.
  • Write down 10 words that best describe your plant/animal species.

Repeat for each plant/animal species found at the site (2 or more per team).

Place the descriptions and their drawings around the room (number them), and place the original photos/drawings/collected materials in the middle of the room (assign each a letter). Ask students to look at the descriptions and see if they can figure out which materials go with which description - matching the number with the correct letter.

Discuss: What makes a good description/drawing?

  • Allow students to modify their descriptions and drawings.
  • To share this data with others: drawings can be scanned and placed in a digital document along with the descriptions and digital photos.
  • Extension: To identify species, use local field guides or websites.

Related Activites that could be adapted:
Look More Closely
Taking a Good Photo

Teacher Survey

Student Survey