Coastal Habitats & Species—Life in the Waters

Summary: These lessons are fun, hands-on activities designed to give students a better understanding of how salty ocean water and fresh water interact and mix in an estuary, and how temperature affects this process.

Concepts to teach: Density, turbidity, salinity, dissolved oxygen

Goals: To demonstrate the influence of physical factors on the waters of the estuary, including salty and fresh water, temperature, and sediment.

6.1P.1, 6.3S.1, 6.3S.2, 7.3S.1, 7.3S.2, 8.2P.1, 8.3S.1, 8.3S.2

Specific Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to name and describe three important physical factors that affect life in the waters of the estuary.
  2. Students will be able to explain how changes in at least one physical factor in the estuary waters can influence other physical factors.
  3. Students will be able to describe how changes in at least one physical factor can influence flora and fauna of the estuary.

Activity Links and Resources:


  • Assessments included in the TIDES and Padilla Bay lesson plans.