Project Formats: Local Field Guides

Benefits of This Format

  • Ties in well with fieldwork done locally
  • Appropriate for any grade level
  • Engages original student research
  • Genuinely contributes to community
  • Connects to natural world or local history
  • Real-world format

Examples from Models of Excellence


Local Habitat Survey and Animal Research (Pre-K)
Hitchcock Center for the Environment
Each student researched an animal. The guide includes a drawing and their research.

Trees For Everyone (Kindergarten)
Capital City Charter School
A local field guide where there was previously no existing guide.

Pond Field Guide (Grade 1)
Montague Center School
2-sided laminated quick reference guide

RMSEL Birds: A Neighborhood Guide (Grade 1)
Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning
Students developed their own taxonomy. Handwritten and illustrated.

Field Guide to Insects in Western Massachusetts (Grade 2)
Alice B. Beal Elementary
Local field guide. Students also worked with an entomologist.

Field Guide to Aquatic Gardens at Forest Park  (Grade 3)
Mary O. Pottenger School
Fieldwork was done in a local city park, specifically the ponds.

Sunrise Springs (Grades 4-6)
Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences
Field guide for guests staying at a local resort describing area plants and animals.

Field Guide to Insects in Western Massachusetts (Grade 5)
Conservatory Lab Charter School
Entries include an illustration, common and scientific name of species, description of species, and overview of how it affects the local ecosystem.

What’s Happening in the Bog? (Grade 6)
Duggan Middle School
Includes descriptions of animals and plants in the bog and with digital photos or scientific illustrations. Students also cleaned up the site as they studied it.

Life in A Vernal Pool Field Guide (Grade 7)
Four Rivers Charter Public School
Students conducted intensive scientific research and then created a creative guide for younger children.

Invasive Species in Maine (Grade 7)
King Middle School
Includes thorough explanation of invasive species and their impact.

Access Portland: A Resource Guide for New Immigrants and Refugees (Grades 6-8)
King Middle School
A cultural/historical guide for new refugees and immigrants in their community. Created by ELL students and fulfilled a real need.

San Diego Bay: A Story of Exploitation and Restoration (Grades 9-12)
Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High School
Documents the historical interaction between humans and industry with the ecology of the bay. Professional quality work.

Perspectives of San Diego Bay: A Field Guide
Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High School

Professional-quality field guide meeting a genuine market need.

Visit Models of Excellence: The Center for High-Quality Student Work to find out more about these projects.Models of Excellence - Project Collection

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EL Education

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