Summary: This field lesson provides a structured experience for students to investigate the life of the tidal flats of the estuary and explore the relationship between sediments, elevation, and the life beneath surface.
Concepts to teach: Marine and coastal ecosystems, habitats, estuaries, benthic organisms
Goals: Students will collect and use evidence to explain the relationship between abiotic factors and the distribution of organisms in an estuary.
6.2L.2, 6.3S.1, 7.2E.4, 7.3S.1, 8.3S.1
Specific Objectives: Students will understand that:
- The tide flats are covered twice a day by salty estuary water.
- The tide flats are made of sediment which may be sand, mud, or gravel.
- The type of sediment and the elevation determine what lives where.
- Most animals burrow below the mud to stay wet, protected, and to feed on the tidewater.
- Different animals have different types of adaptations for life in the mud.
Activity Links and Resources:
- The TIDES “Tidal Flats” lessons were developed by the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve for middle school audiences.
- Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport offers Estuary Investigation field classes for all ages. Students use “slurpers” to discover what organisms live beneath the mud of the tidal flats.
- Examine student field journals and data for completeness. Students may present their findings in a PowerPoint presentation or report.