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Beginning in the Watershed – Grade 4

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Conceptual Scheme

Marine Aquaria


Successful Fieldtripping

Unit 1: Watersheds

   1. Water: The Constant Traveler
Students construct a water cycle mobile and diagram, complete a short reading and questions, and conduct an experiment.

   2. Finding Your Ecological Address
Students develop a definition for “watershed” and work with maps to determine watershed boundaries and their own “ecological address”.

   3. Threats to Your Ecological Address
Using a class demonstration and a reading, students learn the difference between a healthy and unhealthy watershed, and then propose actions to repair damaged watersheds.

   4. What Wiggles in Watershed Water?
Students study aquatic insects in a nearby stream to determine its general water quality.

   5. Watershed Woes
Students create a model of water allocation for a growing town. Then, working at home with their family, students develop a water conservation plan.

Unit 2: Salmon

   1. The Long Wet Journey: The Cycle Begins
A story reading introduces a three lesson look at the life cycle of Pacific salmon. As a complement to the story, students measure water temperature.

   2. The Long Wet Journey: Moving Downstream
The three lesson look at the salmon life cycle continues with a story reading recounting downstream migration. Students also manipulate a map to determine distance traveled.

   3. The Long Wet Journey: Race to the Redd
The three lesson overview of the salmon life cycle concludes with a story reading focusing on upstream migration. As a summary, students play a migration simulation board game.

   4. Hooks and Ladders
Students simulate the life cycle of Pacific Salmon and the hazards faced by salmon in a highly active game.

   5. Investigating a Declining Resource: Salmon of the Columbia
Students work in groups to discover and evaluate possible causes for decline of Columbia River Salmon populations, then report their findings to the class.

   6. Columbia River Salmon: Legends and Stories of 23rd Century
Students develop legends, stories, and a “readers’ theatre” performance about how the Columbia River and its salmon are saved.

Unit 3: Aquaculture

   1. World In A Jar
Students set up and maintain a saltwater microcosm in a jar, as they try to maintain a stable and balanced habitat.

   2. Farming the Sea
Through a brief reading and discussion activity, students are introduced to the life cycles and rearing parameters involved with raising shellfish and finfish in a controlled environment.

   3. Raising Salmon
Students read information and answer questions about three methods for raising salmon through aquaculture: hatchery released, sea ranching and sea farming.

   4. Harvest Race
Students role-play salmon trying to return to their rearing areas to spawn and avoid fishers along the way in this game of tag.

   5. Food Web
Students make a physical model of food webs, food chains and pyramids to show the interrelationships of organisms, nutrients and energy in a marine ecosystem.

   6. Seafood Festival
Students evaluate the nutritional benefits of eating sea food as they create and publish their own recipe cookbook complete with fish tales!

   7. Fish Farmer
“Fish Farmer” is a board game in which players try to win by reaching the finfish first. A fun activity to reinforce aquaculture concepts.

   8. Open for Business
Students study the economic data about two seafood businesses and choose to own the more profitable based on their analysis and comparison of the two.

Unit 4: Finfish

   1. Fish Gumbo
Through reading and discussion, students begin a study of how fish are adapted to survive in a water environment.

   2. Name That Fish
Students read about “bottomfish”, cut out a paper one, and discover its name by using a dichotomous key.

   3. Gyotaku
Students make inferences about a live fish based on observations of its features. Then they read about the fish and make fish prints with it.

   4. Fins
Students compare, observe, and read about the physical features of the fins of two different fish species.

   5. Ocean Address
By way of introduction to some common and important fish and their habitats, students make a “mobile” of these fish.

   6. The Fishing Business
Students examine several different fishing methods and discuss how fishing can impact fish populations.

   7. The Fish Are Running
Students simulate international fishing problems as they play a kinesthetic game.

Unit 5: Finfish, Marine Mammals, and Humans

   1. The Tuna/Dolphin Controversy
Students read about the Tuna/Dolphin controversy and are challenged to write to businesses/lawmakers and to develop a method of fishing tuna.

   2. Canned Tuna
Students look for the label “dolphin safe” on cans of tuna and write letters either supporting a total ban on catching dolphins or letters which state that now the problem needs further study to assure the health of the ocean ecosystem.

   3. Hear Sighted
Students analyze data as they role-play dolphin features and echolocation.

   4. Skedaddle to Seattle
Students role-play special interest groups concerned with a proposal to allow killing some marine mammals, then present their cases and solutions at a hearing!

Production Credits

Below, you’ll find helpful resources for use with the above activities.

Unit 1: Estuaries

Activity 1 Water: The Constant Traveler
How to find marine information

Activity 2 Finding Your Ecological Address
Root words

Activity 4 What Wiggles in Watershed Water?
Macroinvertebrate monitoring packet

Unit 2: Salmon

Activity 1 The Long Wet Journey: The Cycle Begins
Chinook salmon photos
Chum salmon photos
Coho salmon photos
Pink salmon photos
Sockeye salmon photos

Activity 2 The Long Wet Journey: Moving Downstream
Estuary – a link to the sea

Activity 6 Columbia River Salmon: Legends and Stories of 23rd Century
Native American salmon fishing images

Unit 4: Finfish

Activity 1 Fish Gumbo
Shark background information
Name that fish worksheet
Calculating sharks activity

Activity 3 Gyotaku
Preparing and painting fish

Activity 5 Ocean Address
Fish drawings

Activity 6 The Fishing Business
Native American fishing images
Salmon caught in a gillnet
Wholesale fish market image

Unit 5: Finfish, Marine Mammals, and Humans

Activity 1 The Tuna/Dolphin Controversy
Yellowfin tuna fishing
Sample student response

Activity 4 Skedaddle to Seattle
California sea lion image

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