Lichens of the Adirondack Forests
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Grade: 9th - 10th grade
Class: Living Environment
Author: Douglas Allen
Mayfield Central School
NYS Content Area Standard:
Math, Science & Technology:
Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design
Standard 4: Science
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Natural History
Performance Indicators:

MST: Living Environment Standard 1: Key Idea 2-2.1a

Standard 4: Key Idea1: 4.1.1d, 4.1.1f; Key Idea 5: 4.5.1b; Key Idea 6: 4.6.1g, 4.6.3b, 4.6.3c

Keywords: lichens, photographs, GPS
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: What lichens are found in our forests?
The Challenge:

In groups of five, develop a power-point presentation that shows pictures/photographs of lichens and describes their characteristics. When you are done with this challenge, you will submit this to the school’s website. Those students who have received the highest grade on this challenge will present their project to the Adirondack Research Consortium.

Please include the following in your presentation:

  • A photograph of your lichens.
  • The type of lichens (crustose, foliose, or fruticose) your lichens are.
  • A photograph of the habitat and substrate your lichens are growing on including the GPS location of your lichens.
  • A picture or photograph of lichens you think are related to your lichens.
  • The area of your lichens measured in cm2.
  • The importance of your lichens to the abiotic and biotic factors of your forest ecosystem.
  • One unique trait your lichens possess.

Your power-point presentation must be set up in the following way:

  • Five slides—no more, no less!
  • Very few words on slides; we want to see pictures and hear you talk, not to read the slides!
  • Creative animation and sound effects.
  • No longer than three minutes.

You and your group members will need to assume the following roles:

  • Lichen locator and photographer—this individual will locate a group of lichens in the forest, find their GPS coordinates, and photograph them.
  • Lichen tracer, and measurer—this individual will trace the lichens with wax paper, and measure the area of the tracing.
  • Habitat photographer—this individual will photograph the habitat the lichens are located in. He/she will also take notes on important factors in the habitat: light level, type of soil, type of vegetation, other organisms present, etc.).
  • Coordinator and head researcher—this individual will make sure all other group members are on task.
    • He/she will assign others to research separate pieces of information for the power-point presentation. The informationthat must be in the power-point includes:
      • Determining the type of lichens found.
      • Researching the importance of your lichens to the abiotic factors of your forest ecosystem.
      • Describing the importance of lichens to the other biotic factors of your forest ecosystem.
      • researching one unique trait of your type of lichens.
  • Power-point preparer and presenter—this individual will make sure the information from the other four individuals ends up on the final product (the power-point). This individual will also preview the power-point and present the information about lichens to the rest of the class. While outdoor research is being done in the forest, this person will help wherever he/she can.

You have _____ days to complete this challenge. Extension: Perform the same challenge for lichens found near your home or from an area you have visited! Since lichens are long-lived, your lichens will be used in future studies. Students will measure the future growth within our forest and the future effects of these lichens on the forest.

Examples of Student Photos

Project supported in part by the New York State Museum Biodiversity Research Institute

Quality Standards:

You will need to perform the following tasks during this challenge:

  • Photograph lichens found in a particular spot in our forest. Please don’t damage your lichens!
  • Photograph the habitat your lichens are located in. Be sure to include the substrate for your lichens in this photograph.
  • Determine the GPS location of the spot your chose.
  • Trace the shape of your lichens using pencil and wax paper.
  • Measure the area of your tracing (in cm2) using a planimeter or other area-measuring method.
  • Perform research about your lichens and their relatives on the Internet or in the library.
  • Prepare a power-point presentation that is set up as described above.
  • Present your information to the rest of the class.
Product Quality Checklist
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Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

¬†Individual Participation—you will receive a subjective grade on a scale from 1-5 on this; I need to see that you are on task and accomplish your job for you to receive a five (5)


Number of Slides—you need to have five (5)


Limited Number of Words: No pictures—0, paragraphs with pictures—1, long sentences with pictures—2, short phrases with pictures--3


Time Limit—three (3) minutes: three (3) minutes or less—2, more than three (3) minutes--1


Photograph of Lichen—must be clear


Photograph of lichen habitat and substrate—must be clear


GPS Location


Photograph/Picture of lichen relatives


Lichen Type—Crustose, Foliose, or Fruticose

Area of Lichens Sampled (in cm2)

Importance to Abiotic Factors

Importance to Biotic Factors

Unique Trait of Your Lichen


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