In this activity developed by NOAA, students investigate the incredible biodiversity that exists in estuarine environments. They begin by exploring the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) using Google Earth. Students then produce an estuary biodiversity concept map and individual organism profile that becomes part of an estuary wildlife exhibit.
Students will be able to:
- Describe the physical and biological components of habitats that exist as part of an estuary.
- Explain the relationships between primary producers, consumers, and secondary consumers.
- Describe some adaptations of living organisms to the changing conditions within an estuary.
- Explain why biodiversity is important and worth preserving in an estuary.
CONTEXT FOR USE
Teaching Time: 4 (55 minute) class sessions + homework
Organization of the Activity: This activity consists of 3 parts which help deepen understanding of estuarine systems:
- Investigating Habitats in an Estuary
- Biodiversity in an Estuary
- Portrait of Life in an Estuary
- Download Google Earth, if you haven’t already done so, and install it on your classroom computer(s) or computer lab machines http://earth.google.com/
- Arrange for students to access the Internet and/or other resources on organisms. For example, the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web site.
- Obtain the poster paper for the concept maps in Part 2 and the poster board for the students’ organism profiles in Part 3.
- Make copies of the Student Reading and Student Worksheet.
- If feasible, assign the Student Reading—Introduction to Rookery Bay and Student Reading—Biodiversity in an Estuary before beginning the activity, as preparation for Part 1.