A field course at a Field Studies Council centre offers an unrivalled opportunity for students to develop their skills of scientific enquiry and deepen their understanding of ecological syllabus content in a variety of inspiring habitats, developing their interest and enthusiasm for biology by getting outside of the classroom.   

Tailored to the National 5 specification, this course will cover key ecology subject content, as well as giving students opportunity to become familiar with several different apparatus and techniques. Students will develop their understanding of the natural world by working scientifically, developing their experimental and analytical skills.  

Example Timetable

The following is an example of how a 3-day course might look. Our courses are as flexible as possible to meet your requirements, and there is also some variation between what is offered at specific centres due to habitat availability.

Day 1

Arrive Midday

  • Welcome by staff, centre tour and introduction, pre-course meeting of staff and teachers, allocation of wellies and waterproofs as appropriate.


  • Habitat comparison
  • Students will carry out fieldwork to compare abiotic and biotic factors in two contrasting areas, for example coniferous and deciduous woodland.
  • They will use random sampling to measure the population size of common species in each habitat and measure abiotic factors such as temperature and light intensity.
  • Reviewing the data collected, students will consider how varying abiotic factors are affecting the community of living organisms.


  • Remote Sampling
  • How do we monitor mobile organisms? How about organisms which are active at night? In this evening session students explore field techniques and equipment used to monitor mammals, bats, and invertebrates.

Day 2

Morning and afternoon

  • Rocky Shore Zonation & Adaptation
  • How do organisms survive on the rocky shore? What influences their distribution? Students will conduct a transect study of the rocky shore to investigate the distribution of organisms on the shore and the abiotic factors affecting their survival.


  • Campfire
  • A chance to reflect on their experiences so far and toast a marshmallow or two!

Day 3


  • Freshwater ecology
  • Students will sample invertebrates in a freshwater habitat, identify them using a dichotomous key and identify key adaptations. They will consider how energy flows through this ecosystem, how and where it is lost, and draw pyramids of number and energy from their own data.

Depart Midday 

How this course fulfills the specification

Biology: life on Earth

  • Ecosystems, a – d
  • Distribution of organisms, a – f
  • Energy in ecosystems, a and b

Apparatus and techniques

  • Quadrats, pitfall traps and light meters
  • Measuring abiotic factors
  • Measuring the distribution of a species
  • Using a transect line

Added value of this course

  • Develop personal skills
  • Have fun
  • Be inspired by a passion for the subject
  • Build friendships

Why Choose Field Studies Council?

  • Expert tuition by fully trained staff

  • Stunning locations across the UK

  • Outstanding curriculum knowledge

  • Rigorous health and safety procedures

  • Support before and after your visit

  • Free places for visiting staff