What grows in the corner of your windowsill? In the cracks in the sidewalk? Under the front steps? In the gutter at the bottom of the driveway? Specifically, how  doe these animals build their homes and how much space do they need? What do they eat? Where do fish get their food? How do ants find their next meal?

These are hard questions to answer if you don’t have a chance to observe these animals up-close. By building an eco-system, you’ll get to observe and investigate the habits and behaviors of your favorite animals. This column will have an aquarium section, a decomposition chamber with fruit flies or worms, and a predator chamber, with water that flows through all sections. This is a great way to see how the water cycle, insects, plants, soil, and marine animals all work together and interact.

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Here’s what you need:

  • four (or more) 2-liter soda bottles, empty and clean and with caps
  • scissors
  • tape
  • razor with adult help
  • ruler
  • soil
  • water
  • plants or seeds
  • compost or organic/food scraps
  • spiders, snails, fruit flies, etc

Here’s what you do:


Download Student Worksheet & Exercises

You can easily incorporate the Water Cycle Column, the Terraqua Column, the Predator-Prey Column, Worm Column, and the Fruit Fly Trap into your Eco-Column. If you want to make your Eco-Column more permanent, seal it together with silicone sealant, making sure you have enough drainage holes and air holes in the right places first.


  1. What are parts of the eco system?
  1. Give an example of each.
  1. What do decomposers do?
  1. How do fruit flies breed?
  1. How does the precipitation funnel function in this eco column?


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