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Estuary Explorers

Fellow: Jennifer Porcheddu  Teacher: Jessica Geier

Course Purpose

The purpose of Estuary Explorers is to introduce students to coastal ecosystems, and scientific methods for investigatiing these ecosystems.  Students will learn about environmental factors shaping shorelines, and the plants and animals that rely on these ecosystems. Students will be able to perform several types of field surveys and water quality testing. Students will also learn to read, analyze, and compose scientific research papers.

Click here for an introductory presentation to get students, teachers, parents and administrators excited about this fun new course!

Course Description

Doesn't every child want to be a marine biologist at some point?  This course gives teachers and students to engage in real marine ecology research, close to home! Estuary Explorers will engage students in scientific inquiry and fieldwork in coastal ecosystems.

This course is designed for high school students at all levels, but links and adaptations for younger/ differently-abled students are provided as well.

Prerequisites (for standard EE course; modifications for lower performers provided)

  • Students will read/write on at least an eighth-grade level.
  • Students will have a basic understanding of the following biological concepts: food webs, trophic levels, adaptation, biotic and abiotic parts of ecosystem.
  • Students will have basic understanding of the following geologic concepts: seasons, tides.

Estuary Explorers course overview

Unit 1  Coastal Ecosystems

Activity 1: Discovering our environment (Introductory lesson)

Activity 2: Beaches

Activity 3: Rocky Shores

Activity 4: Salt Marshes

Activity 5: Adaptations to Coastal Ecosystems

Activity 6: Project 1- Coastal Ecosystem Literature Review

Activity 7: Field Trip 1- Exploring our Coast: Intro to nature journaling and photography

Unit 2  Field Methods

Activity 8: Water Quality Testing (classroom)

Activity 9:  Field Trip 2- Water Quality Testing (field)

Activity 10:  Sampling Methods (classroom)

Activity 11: Field Trip 3- Sampling Methods (field)

Unit 3  Research Design and Scientific Writing

Activity 12:  Preparing a Proposal

Activity 13:  Peer Review

Activity 14:  Data Analysis

Activity 15:  Presentation Composition

Activity 16:  Science Fair

Activity 17:  Presentations