Understanding the OBIS Folios
Each OBIS folio can provide an enjoyable and interesting outdoor experience. You may use a series of activities for a particular area or purpose, use the entire program as a course of instruction, and select individual activities to suit your specific needs.
Planning for the Activities
Each activity contains an “Overview,” which describes basically what the children will be doing. Any biological background that you will need in order to conduct the activity is provided for you in the folio. To preserve the discovery aspect of the activities, do not read the “Background” sections to the students! Such considerations for time, site, group size and materials are spelled out in each folio in the “Preparation” section. Generally, activities last an hour and can accommodate a variety of group sizes.
The activities are not tightly structures, so it helps to be flexible. Feel free to depart from the activity plan. Let children's questions lead you on interesting tangents. It is important to encourage children to investigate on their own.
What is provided in each folio?
Overview: description of what participants do in the activity.
Background:biological and other information that you need in order to conduct the activities.
Challenge: the basic task set out for the children.
Materials: a list of all the materials that you will need to conduct the activity.
Preparation: describes time and site requirements, optimal group size, and any necessary material preparation.
Action: the suggested step-by-step activity procedure.
What Do You Think? This section contains questions for discussion that enlarge upon the children’s experience and bring out the biological significance of the activity.
Branching Out: follow-through activities that expand on or reinforce the activity.
Action Cards: Some of the folios contain activity cards (most often called “Action Cards”), which must be duplicated in order to provide sufficient copies for the participants. These may be duplicated on any copying machine and the master sheet saved for future activities. We suggest you do the copying before the active period and, in the case of summer camps or wilderness situations, before leaving the office machine behind.
Some sheets of activity cards contain more than one card. Cut the copies apart and give one card to each participant, or in some cases a set to each team. For some activities, we provide blank Action Cards, allowing you to create special challenges suited to your particular environment.
Basic Equipment, Aids, Guides Materials
OBIS equipment is generally simple, already around the house, or easy to acquire. Items marked with the asterisk in the “Materials” section of the folio are currently not available at Delta Education. Gathering materials and making equipment can be an interesting experience for your group before conducting an activity. When possible, let your group assist you with the gathering of materials. Often the participants can bring items such as empty milk cartons, plastic bags, egg cartons, juice cans and the like from home.
Many OBIS activities call for the use of a data board. This board serves as a portable dry erase board, record board, map, and all-purpose data organizer. The data board relieves participants of the burden of pencils and notebooks. All group members can view important terms easily and field observations are conveniently displayed in one place for group consideration. A piece of thick cardboard or masonite about 80cm x 60 cm, with large pieces of paper (butcher or shelf paper) attached makes a good data board. You may also use a large sketch pad or small dry erase or chalk board for the same purpose.
Equipment and Technique Cards
Also included in some activities are Equipment and Technique Cards. These cards explain how to make simple pieces of equipment used in the activities and describe various biological study techniques used.
Lawn Guides and Pond Guides
These guides are designed for quick, easy identification of some of the most commonly encountered lawn and pond organisms. Only those organisms readily observed by the unaided eye or by means of a simple magnifying lens have been included.
To use the guides, simply flip through the pages looking for a drawing that corresponds to the organism you wish to identify. Because the drawings are black and white and do not move, explain to your group that the organisms they find may not exactly match the guide’s drawings. The investigator should look for the drawing that most closely resembles the organisms. (The guides are currently not available.)