KS4 Biology: Meadow ecosystem investigation

Students undertake a grassland investigation in one of the many beautiful meadow areas at Wakehurst.

Daisies in Coronation Meadow


Key Stage 4


90 minutes - 2 hours

Allocated space

20 students per group


Students explore the grasslands using a variety of sampling and measurement techniques. They study how distribution of plants depends on different growing conditions and management regimes.

This can either be a half day session, or part of a full day visit that is tailored to the needs of your group and planned in detail prior to your visit. 

Learning outcomes

School visits at Wakehurst support and enhance the curriculum offered in schools and colleges. We aim to give students opportunities that are difficult or impossible to create in the school or college environment.

We design our sessions to match the learning outcomes in the National Curriculum and GCSE specifications.

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Identify plants species in the meadow.
  • Apply sampling techniques to show distribution of plants across the meadow.
  • Measure factors affecting distribution of plants e.g. soil, light, water and temperature.
  • Notice human effects on distribution.
  • Explore the interdependence of plants and animals.
  • Describe the management of a conservation area.
  • Compare this habitat with another.

Curriculum links 

KS4 National Curriculum

  • Levels of organisation within an ecosystem.
  • Some abiotic and biotic factors which affect communities; the importance of interactions between organisms in a community.
  • How materials cycle through abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems.
  • The role of microorganisms (decomposers) in the cycling of materials through an ecosystem.
  • Organisms are interdependent and are adapted to their environment.
  • The importance of biodiversity.
  • Methods of identifying species and measuring distribution, frequency and abundance of species within a habitat.
  • Positive and negative human interactions with ecosystems.

Links to GCSE curriculum

  • OCR Gateway Science Biology A B 4.1 Ecosystems.
  • OCR Twenty First Century Science Suite - Biology B Chapter B3: Living together – food and ecosystems.
  • Edexcel Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles.
  • AQA 4.7 Ecology.
A wide shot of the winter garden

Key Stage 4 sessions

Engaging and hands-on curriculum-linked activities taught by experienced and enthusiastic Kew teachers.