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Salt Marshes

Activity Description/Rationale

Salt marshes occur on the shores of bays and estuaries where the full force of the ocean waves and currents is dampened by geologic formations such as barrier beaches.

In this lesson, we learn about the abiotic conditions of the salt marsh, how salt marshes are formed, and the adaptations of several organisms that inhabit this location.  We also reflect on how human activities and salt marsh organisms interact.

Estimated Time of Activity:

One 90 minute period

Goals: Process Skills, Content Knowledge, Attitudes: Students will…

  • describe the formation, ecological conditions, and human impacts on the salt marsh ecosystem, and the adaptations of the organisms that live there.

Materials

Pre-Activity

Students exchange their species’ profiles and grade them according to the rubric (this will save the teacher time).

Review the conditions of the sandy beach and rocky shore ecosystem.

Activity Instructions:

  1. Show images of salt marsh at high and low tide.
  2. Next have students brainstorm to describe the types of adaptations that an organism might need to live on the salt marsh.  Have them think about life processes: what would they eat? Where would they rest? Etc…
  3. Watch EstuaryLive video, answer questions as video progresses.
  4. The questions at the end are questions students should be prepared to answer on the quiz in 3 weeks.
  5. Discuss assignment.

Assignments:

Investigate one plant and one animal that live exclusively on local salt marshes.  Create a one page species profile for each (format provided) using four or more sources. 

Assessment:

 

Instructor’s Notes:

Watch EstuaryLive and get a sense of when each question is answered in the video.  You will probably have to pause a few times in order for students to keep pace.

Also, the questions provided are adapted for the EstuaryLive 2006 video form Jamaica Bay.  You may choose a different one from the region nearest you.  You will then need to adjust the questions sheet.

 

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