OBIS and EOL Collaboration

OBIS and EOL Collaboration

Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) and Outdoor Biology Instructional Strategies (OBIS) have teamed up to help educators explore local biodiversity through hands-on STEM learning opportunities. This collaboration was presented at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference in Chicago, IL, USA in March of 2015 but the resources prepared for this event are posted here for all to benefit from. Although these resources are specifically designed for OBIS and EOL activities in wintery Chicago, they will serve as an example of how the two programs can support each other to have a greater impact upon student learning.

OBIS offers educators activities and strategies to guide exploration of ecological concepts in the local environment. EOL offers extensive information about biodiversity and tools, such as Collections and customizable field guides, built upon the interactive iNaturalist observation platform.

We suggest you start with an OBIS activity and use the supporting EOL resources following the hands-on exploration:

EOL page

Populations, Variations and Natural History

Students will learn that a population is a group of organisms, belonging to the same species and that each population of species has its own natural history or story.
OBIS Activity: Bugs, Worms & Others
EOL Natural History Stories Species Collection
EOL Podcasts

Winter Survival

Students will explore how animals prepare for periods of hibernation, dormancy or torpor (inactivity).
OBIS Activity: Animal Anti-freeze
EOL Surviving Winter Species Collection
EOL Surviving Winter Memory Game


Students will experience that an animals coloring, markings, shape or behavior can help it camouflage or hide itself from predators or prey.
OBIS Activity: Invent an Animal 
EOL Camouflage Species Collection
    An Octopus changing its appearance, color and body structure (Video)
    A Pygmy Seahorse as it blends in with its coral host (Video)
    A cuttlefish hides among rock reefs and seaweed (Video)
    A canyon treefrog in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, USA. (Video)

Leaf Litter Organisms

Students will examine that decomposing leaf litter provides habitat for a variety of organisms.
OBIS Activity: Litter Critters
EOL Leaf Litter Species Collection
EOL Podcasts
    Beetles and Moths

Local Resources

Examples of resources that can used to support the exploration of your local biodiversity.
EOL Trait and Game Species Cards
    Example: Chicago Biodiversity Species Cards
Customizable Field Guides