Activity Description: WETLAND HABITATS
Estimated Time of Activity: 45 min – 2 class periods
Goals: Process Skills and Content Knowledge:
- Students will classify wetlands based on their characteristics
- Students will learn how to use a flow chart as a classification tool.
- Copies of Wetland Habitats Flow Chart (link coming soon)
- Copies of Habitat Cards (link coming soon)
- Pictures of wetlands (ppt. coming soon)
- Paper and pencils
- Tell students that today they will be looking at the different types of habitats that wetlands provide to a variety of plants and animals.
- Ask “What is a habitat?” A habitat is the place where an animal finds food, water, shelter, and space in a particular arrangement.
- As a review, ask “Does an area have to be wet all the time to be a wetland?” No. Many are covered by water only during the rainy spring season. Others are regularly or infrequently flooded by tides, while others may be covered by water most or all of the time.
- As a review, ask “What type of water is found in wetlands?” Some wetlands have salty water, while others are wetted by freshwater streams, river, ponds or lakes, or rainwater.
- Tell students that wetlands are classified, in part, by the type of water, frequency and degree of inundation (flooding), and types of vegetation most prevalent there.
- Explain that the students will be using a flow chart to identify ten wetland types by the habitats they provide. Review the use of a flow chart and practice as a group with one of the pictures.
- Divide students into group of 3-4, making sure you have enough materials for each. Each group will receive: A Wetland Habitats Flow chart, A set of Habitat Cards.
Answers: 1. Sandy Beach, 2. Shrub swamp, 3. Aquatic plant bed, 4. Wet meadow, 5. Mud flat, 6. Tidal freshwater marsh, 7. Forested wetland, 8. Seagrass bed, 9. Bog, 10. Salt marsh
- Hand out a student chart activity sheet. Have them fill in the categories as they find the correct answer. Collect at the end of the class.
Do Now – Does an area have to be wet all the time to be a wetland?
Hand out “Functions and Values of Wetlands” Fact sheet.
Have them answer the following questions:
- What are the functions of wetlands?
- What does the phrase “the value of a wetland” mean?
- Why is it hard to determine the value of individual wetlands?
- Why is water storage one of the most important functions of a wetland?
- How do wetlands help with polluted waters?
- Besides water filtration and storage, how do wetlands support our valuable commercial fish and shellfish industries?
Student chart activity sheet will demonstrate if students are able to use the flow chart as a classification tool to distinguish between the different wetland habitats.
Parts of lesson adapted from WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands, Educator’s guide, The Watercourse and Environmental Concern, Inc.