Learn About Ecology
Data And Science
Marine Mammals
Classroom Projects

Mr. Wilcox’s Class Experiment Page Are Bigger Islands Better Targets?

Students share there project at the Kids Do Ecology Poster Session

Purpose: We did this project because we wanted to find out why there are more species on bigger islands. We wanted to test if the size of the island affected the number of species found on the island. We also tested whether the island’s distance from the mainland would affect the number of species found on the island.

Hypothesis: We think that the islands that are larger and closer will have more seeds.


  1. First we collected the materials.
  2. Next we cut the milk jug and 4 oz container in half
  3. Next we added soil, filling the containers half way
  4. We put the far container 6 feet away from a boundary line representing the mainland, and the close container 3 feet away from the boundary line
  5. Each student tossed three seeds at each container from behind the boundary line
  6. We watered and watched the containers as seeds began to grow, recording results.

Results: Most seeds landed in the large container. Not a lot of seeds landed in the small container. The larger pots, overall, had more seeds, and ended up having more plants than the small pots.

Conclusions: We thought the reason why more seeds landed in the larger container was because of the size. The larger the container, the bigger the target, and the bigger the target, the more easy it is for seeds to land there. Since the seeds represent the species, and the containers represent the islands, the bigger islands get more species.

Discussing the experiment with NCEAS scientists