Free Classroom Exercises - Operation Wallacea

Free Classroom Exercises

Preparing 16-18 year students for key science exams can be a challenging and often frustrating experience for teachers and there has been an increasing emphasis placed on the analysis of scientific data. One major problem facing science teachers has been finding good data sets to support all of these new initiatives and many of the examples often used within present education fail to represent recent advances in research, especially in the field.

Operation Wallacea has been running research expeditions since 1995 and started taking high school/sixth form students in 2004. With the help of funding from the Weston Foundation we have created a new science resource known as WRL . In addition there is a 45 minute film available below, which describes some of the ecological survey techniques used in the Opwall sites to gather these data sets. Please contact us if you’d like a copy of this video.

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This resource provides novel data sets for the classroom and uniquely, these data sets have all been processed and produced by the actual scientists involved in the research. These data sets all originate directly from Operation Wallacea research sites around the world and there is now a full set containing 19 data sets.  The data sets reflect much of the style of research being carried out across the Opwall expedition sites and in the future we hope to add in many more examples.

In the updated Wallace Resource Library (WRL) coming soon, we have included 45 smaller ‘Biodiversity Data Tasks’ based around many of datasets that adopt the style of an examination question worth 10+ marks or a much shorter 40 minute homework task. These will be standalone, and where possible have explanatory notes to help with the answers. As with the bigger WRL data sets, we have matched their relevance with the most important exam specifications.

The resource library has been very helpful when teaching statistics to A-level Biology students. The resources provide both an exciting context which students can explore using the available images and videos, but also real data that can be analysed to practice using statistical tests. I like it a lot! Dr Tom Chipperfield, Teacher at Malmesbury School 

To make this valuable resource more usable in the classroom, we have now indexed each WRL dataset to a significant number of educational frameworks  and these can be investigated by following the links from this menu: you will then find a summary table suggesting how a dataset might be used as a classroom resource.

You can also look in more detail at what is in offer in each dataset by looking at the dataset summary table.

The full set is free and available by contacting your country Opwall Office which can be found on the contacts page.

A demo-version is also available and can be accessed immediately by following the link below.

Wallace Resource Library demo edition –

WRL content:

M01 – Ecosystems – coral reefs:
MO1 D01 – Effect of light on coral morphology
MO1 D02 – Variation in habitat quality between two Indonesian coral reefs
MO1 D03 – Temperature tolerance of lionfish in Indonesia
MO1 D04 – Interspecific variation in anemone fish calls.

M02 – Ecological Survey Techniques:
MO2 D01 – Mark release recapture of Hog Island Boas
MO2 D02 – Analysis of bird point count data from a cloud forest
MO2 D03 – Transect and mist net data for assessing bird communities in lowland forests
MO2 D04 – Camera trapping to assess mammals in Amazonia.

M03 – Animal Behaviour:
MO3 D01 – Calculating elephant hierarchies
MO3 D02 – Impact of intertidal height on the feeding rates of fiddler crabs
MO3 D03 – Mantled Howler Monkey vocalisations
MO3 D04 – Surgeonfish feeding behaviour on coral reefs.

M04 – Ecosystems – tropical rainforests:
MO4 D01 – Prevalence of chytrid fungus in two critically endangered species of tree frog
MO4 D02 – Quantifying forest disturbance in cloud forests
MO4 D03 – Dung beetle community structure in cloud forest
MO4 D04 – Abundance of bat feeding guilds in Guyana.

M05 – Natural resources:
MO5 D01 – Identifying overfishing on Indonesian coral reefs
MO5 D02 – Monitoring agricultural land use in Transylvania
MO5 D03 – Quantifying the effects of fishing on Amazonian fish.

Copyright: these resources are the sole property of Operation Wallacea although they may be used freely for educational purposes within the classroom or for internal examinations.  Further use will require permission which can be gained by email to