1. Determine the type of ecosystem you would like to create. Some options to consider are rain forest, coral reefs, grasslands, deserts, tundra, ocean, rocky shore, grassland / prairie, pond, woodlands, swamp. These are only a few examples, you may decide to do a different ecosystem. When you have chosen an ecosystem you will need to inform Ms. Adams of your decision.

2. Do some research as to what plants and animals live in the ecosystem and how they interact with each other (in other words, who eats who!).
    -For example, if you are doing an American Southwest desert ecosystem, choose rattlesnakes, elf owls, lizards, spiders and jack rabbits. Plant life could include cactus, sagebrush, cottonwood trees and wildflowers.

3.Turn an empty box on its side so you can see into the box. This will be the stage for your display.

4. Start by drawing or creating the landscape.
    - paint the inside of the shoebox to make the background
    -color in paper and cut it out to stick into the model box
    -glue down pieces of construction paper, tissue paper, or fabric

5. Next create replicas of the plants and animals within the ecosystem. You can make plants out of construction paper, pipe cleaners, magazine pictures, or computer printouts. Make animals out of sculpted clay, hand drawings, or cut pictures out of magazines and computer printouts..
    - Cut plants and animals out and stick them onto the background as they would interact.
    - On the model you could draw arrows to show the interaction.
    - You may decide to hang some of the creatures from the roof of the box with fishing line or string.

6. Arrange the materials in the diorama as desired to create your ecosystem display.

7. Consider using real elements to put into the diorama. Real grass clippings look great within a diorama about the rainforest, as does sand in a desert diorama.

8. Create a food web showing how energy is transeferred fron one organism to the next.

9. Finally write a short speech or poem about the contents of your box. Use the names of the ecosystem, plants, and animals in your speech or poem.