ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE LESSON
Unit Plan Title: "Who Will Survive?"
Lesson Plan Title: "What Are Wetlands?"
Grade 4 Regular Classroom Teacher, Computer Teacher, Library Media
This is an introductory lesson to the Wetlands, giving the
students a basic overview of the characteristics of wetlands.
Application of knowledge of those types will be used to determine the
kinds of wetlands on Maui. After becoming familiar with terms and
examples and their importance to animal, plant, and human survival,
students will build models of how a salt marsh like Kanaha Pond
develops, detailing their directions on a web page for future use as
instructions for others to build models of wetlands.
Photograph provided courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Division of Habitat Conservation, National Wetlands
- All things depend on each other to survive
- The kind of change, whether positive or negative, will
- Earth Science
- Environmental Science
- Computer Technology
- Language Arts
Students will be able to:
- Identify the characteristics of different kinds of wetlands:
swamp, marsh, or bog, and their subtypes. Identify what Kanaha
Pond Wetlands is.
- Make models of the six (6) phases of a salt marsh with the
first five (5) phases showing development and formation models and
the 6th phase as a the present day Kanaha Pond
- Make a web site that has at least six pages, providing
directions for building that particular phase, as well as
detailing what was going on developmentally with the land,
animals, and plants, including human impact.
- Participate in discussion in a relevant way.
- Use literature to build a larger understanding of one's
- Publish quality pieces appropriate to grade level.
- Illustrate that living things have definite life cycles,
growth patterns, and behaviors.
- Demonstrate an understanding that every species is directly or
indirectly interdependent with others in the ecosystem.
- Demonstrate an appreciation for the environment and develop an
awareness of environmental issues.
- 25 copies of (or class size) of the Kids Discover Children's
Magazine issue: "Wetlands." Kids Discover. Vol. 7, No. 10,
December 1997. New York: Kids Discover. A children's magazine,
Grade Levels 3-5, each issue focuses on a different subject. This
whole issue is devoted to the study of wetlands. Articles: "Wild
and Wondrous Wetlands"--Introduction to the importance of
wetlands; "What's in a Name?"--The many kinds of wetlands; "Birth
of a Salt Marsh"--Evolution of a marsh, as well as the food chain;
"At Home in the Wetlands"--Wetlands as habitats for a variety of
animals; "River of Grass"--About the Florida Everglades; "Secrets
of the Bogs"--Bog mummies; "Save the Wetlands"--Importance of the
wetlands to the ecology of the world.
- 1 copy of the National Geographic Magazine issue: Mitchell,
John G. "Our Disappearing Wetlands." National Geographic.
Vol. 182, No. 4, October 1992, p. 3. Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic Society. Photographs by Raymond Gehman and Jim
Richardson. Summary: Rich and complex ecosystems, wetlands, reduce
water pollution, alleviate flooding, and provide critical wildlife
habitat. yet the U.S. loses 300,000 acres of this natural resource
- Video: Fabulous Wetlands . Hosted by Bill Nye. 30 min.
Or if inavailable, substitute with one of the DOE's ITV videos on
Wetlands found on the Materials and
- Digital camera to record the building of each phase, for
insertion into the web pages.
Helen J. Challande, Disappearing Wetlands, Children's
Molly Cone, Squishy, Misty, Damp & Muddy, Sierra Club,
Trent Duffy, The Vanishing Wetlands, Franklin Watts,
Jean Craighead George, Everglades, HarperCollins, 1995.
Ron Hirschi, Save Our Wetlands, Delcorte, 1994.
Karen Liptak, Saving Our Wetlands and Their Wildlife,
Franklin Watts, 1991.
Ewan McLeish, Wetlands, Thomson Learning, 1996.
Donald M. Silver, One Small Square: Swamp, McGraw-Hill,
Lynn M. Stone, Wetlands, Rourke Enterprises, 1989.
Bryony and John Coles, People of the Wetlands: Bogs, Bodies and
Lake-Dwellers, Thames and Hudson, 1989.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, The Everglades: River of Grass,
rev. ed. Banyan Books ,1978.
John and Mildred Teal, Life of the Salt Marsh,
Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1969.
Materials to create wetlands: wetlands (dirt & water, etc. -
- 6 small aluminum disposable roasting pans
- florist foam to fill a two to three inch spaces of the entire
width of the pans
- modeling clay or home-made baker's clay - enough to fill about
a third of the pans
- assorted leaves, twigs, pine cones, etc. to simulate wetland
- paper for students to make small drawings of wetland
- crayons or colored pencils
- small popsicle sticks or toothpicks to attach the animals
- watering cans or tin cans with holes punched in the
- aluminum foil (makes a good parking lot)
- salt (a good toxic to dump)
- building blocks (houses)
- knife (to remove part of it)
- felt (can become a beautiful lawn)
- Claris Home Page or another web authoring software
Students will have:
- Started a K-W-L with teacher on Wetlands.
- Practiced working with Claris Home Page for web authoring on
various simple issues in the Computer Lab with Computer
- Become familiar with Internet and netiquette.
- Computer Teacher will have taught word processing lessons and
have students record specific directions on their word processing
documents, as they build their wetlands phases, type them in
Clarisworks word processing format for insertion into the Claris
Home Page web authoring program.
- Computer Teacher, with collaboration with Gr. 4 Teacher, made
a Claris Home Page web authoring template for the students to
insert their particular phase "how to make wetlands" directions
information from their word processing documents.
- Whole class reads, with teacher guidance, the Kids Discover
Children's Magazine issue: "Wetlands." Kids Discover. Vol.
7, No. 10, December 1997. New York: Kids Discover. A children's
magazine, Grade Levels 3-5, each issue focuses on a different
subject. This whole issue is devoted to the study of wetlands.
Articles: "Wild and Wondrous Wetlands"--Introduction to the
importance of wetlands; "What's in a Name?"--The many kinds of
wetlands; "Birth of a Salt Marsh"--Evolution of a marsh, as well
as the food chain; "At Home in the Wetlands"--Wetlands as habitats
for a variety of animals; "River of Grass"--About the Florida
Everglades; "Secrets of the Bogs"--Bog mummies; "Save the
Wetlands"--Importance of the wetlands to the ecology of the world.
Students complete the "Steppingstone Crossword" on wetlands on the
inside last page of the issue.
- Teacher shows pictures, reads and interprets national wetlands
issues, from the copy of the National Geographic Magazine issue:
Mitchell, John G. "Our Disappearing Wetlands." National
Geographic. Vol. 182, No. 4, October 1992, p. 3. Washington,
D.C.: National Geographic Society. Photographs by Raymond Gehman
and Jim Richardson. Summary: Rich and complex ecosystems,
wetlands, reduce water pollution, alleviate flooding, and provide
critical wildlife habitat. yet the U.S. loses 300,000 acres of
this natural resource each year.
- View Bill Nye's video on the Wetlands: Fabulous Wetlands
. Hosted by Bill Nye. 30 min.
- Students in groups of 2-3 are scheduled and go to the class
computer learning center, go on Internet, type in specific URL's
(web site addresses) teacher has chosen, and study various
wetlands those web sites, and answer specific questions teacher
has on a questionnaire.
- Go to the School Library Media Center and research everything
possible on wetlands: books, encyclopedias, CD-ROM, Internet
- Class creates one good question about the Wetlands to Ask An
Expert and teacher acts as a recorder and e-mails the
Ask an expert: "Ask Dr. Wetlands."
- Identified location, characteristics, different terminology
connected with the wetlands. (See lesson plan by Master Teacher
Michele Lawler at http://www.wnet.org/nttidb/lessons/ma/wetldma.html)
- Identified animals of Kanaha Pond wetlands that are affected
by change and stimuli
- Students continue their K-W-L
Activity: Make six (6) models of various phases of the formation
of a Salt Marsh, with the last model being the present and including
the present-day airport, Costco, Triangle Square, and oil companies'
storage facilities, including simulated sound of airplanes.
(Variation of lesson plan by Michele Lawler at http://www.wnet.org/nttidb/lessons/ma/wetldma.html,
1. Correspond with the Wetlands Ask an Expert. Research in the
Maui News what has happened to Kanaha Pond in the past and the plans
for its future.
2. Students will work in pairs and determine what Maui has done to
Kanaha Pond and the future plans.
Past and present:
- drained it and built buildings and an international airport on
- Large airplanes fly over Kanaha Pond and noise level for
animals is very loud
- took away 1/2 of it for building Costco and Triangle
- Volunteers attempt restoration of Native Hawaiian Plants to
attract Native Hawaiian Plantlife and restore ecological
- build an extended airport runway
When they have finished making their six (6) model phases of
wetlands, have students do some more writing in their word processing
document about how they feel about the "progress" that has been made
in their wetland. Have them describe how they would spend a day in
their wetlands now, and how they feel about it, relating what it was
in the early days, and now with the shopping centers, oil storage
facilities, and airplanes flying overhead.
- "Was Kanaha Pond and all the things in it better off before
all this development?" For plants and animals? For people? For
- Why did Maui decide to change Kanaha Pond?
- "Is the Native Hawaiian Plants restoration project a "drop in
the bucket" kind of action?"
- "How does this affect migration of the Golden Plover?"
- "How can Kanaha Pond be changed to be a better place for
everything and everybody?
Class continues K-W-L.
- Create a web site with at least 6 pages, one for each phase,
with students reporting about how things were then (are now) and
how they felt (feel) about it.
- Include in that web site what their role is in the protection
of Hawaii's wetlands, especially Kanaha Pond.
- Post the web site when finished and in May, which is National
Wetlands Month, arrange to have it link to the other National
Wetlands Month web sites.
- Finish up K-W-L.
- Inform Gr. 5 that their directions are on the web and they
could use those directions to build the wetlands they are
"destroyed" in Gr. 5. Providing advice, and collaborating with Gr.
5 regarding the "destruction" of the wetlands in Gr. 5.
- Continue adding links to the school wetlands web site.
- Create a Kanaha Pond awareness questionnaire and graph the
results on Clarisworks for Kids
- Visit Kanaha Pond on a regular basis, whenever their parents
go to Costco, to see the changes.
- Use the digital cameral to record changes in the Kanaha Pond
- Create a web site for the Golden Plover, an animal in the
- Create a web site for instruction of crafts to be made with
the Makaloa Plant found at Kanaha Pond
- Plant Makaloa in a terrarium simulating wetlands
Below are ideas from Michele Lawler at http://www.wnet.org/nttidb/lessons/ma/wetldma.html
Language Arts: creative writing. Have the students be an animal or
a plant in Kanaha Pond before, during and after development of the
airport extended runway. (From Master Teacher Michele Lawler)
Social Studies: The social studies ramifications of a wetland
study are endless, particularly if the class decides to "adopt" a
wetland. Meeting with public officials who protect wetlands, as well
as loggers and developers, is an excellent lesson in civic
responsibility. Also, discussions about what a wetland is are
interesting. It really is not as simple as Bill Nye makes it out to
be. Mapping important wetlands in your area is a good lesson in
Art: There are so many animals and plants in the wetlands, and so
many different names for wetlands, that an alphabet book done in
watercolors is really effective.
Science: To demonstrate the filtering ability of a wetland, take
some dirt and put it in a pan, tilt the pan, and let water run down
in. Then take a plot of grass and dirt taken from the edge of a
wetland, and pour "dirty" water through the grass. The liquid that
comes out will be considerably cleaner that what you poured on it, in
spite of the fact that it ran through dirt!
1. Identification of the different types of wetlands can be
assessed in the following ways:
- Students do a "jigsaw" and research one type of wetland in
depth and report to the class as a whole their particular
- Students do a slide show for Gr. 1, showing what plants are in
each type of wetlands: swamp, marsh, bog.
- Make a "hide and seek book" for Gr. 1, where they draw the
kind of wetland on a page and put "pop-up" animals and plants for
the younger students to find.
2. Models of the six (6) different phases of the formation and
development of a salt marsh. Checklist of the six different
- Phase 1 - Building of the undwater carpet
- Phase 2 - Arrival of the algae pioneers
- Phase 3 - Cordgrass grows
- Phase 4 - Other grasses start to grow
- Phase 5 - Creeks and channels begin to meander through the
- Phase 6 - A thriving salt marsh comes into existence
3. Web pages will be assessed by a rubric. An example can be found
at the following site.
Tammy's Technology Tips for Teachers
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