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Estuary Education


Found in: science; math; preK-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

NOAA's Estuary Education provides resources for K-12 teachers and students to learn about estuaries, research, and to explore the National Estuarine Research Reserves.

About Estuaries is a general access point that defines estuaries and provides multimedia, species factsheets, glossary, a map of the 28 protected areas that make up the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and more.

Estuaries 101 Curriculum is for grade 6-12 teachers and is aligned with the national education standards in science and math.

The Middle School Curriculum has 15 activities under six headings. Teachers can download an Overview ( PDF, 1.0 MB, 13 pgs) The first activity explores the interconnectedness of estuaries. In Where Rivers Meet the Sea It includes a video (6:08), maps, a description of landforms and climate, and pre/post quiz, as well as teacher’s guide, three exercises, assessment questions, and standards. In the first activity, Just What Are Estuaries? ( PDF 4.3 MB, 4 pgs) students use a map of Mobile Bay, Alabama to answer questions about its physical characteristics. The activity includes a color map of Mobile Bay, diagrams of four estuary types, and a photographic mini-quiz.

The High School Curriculum is organized in modules covering earth science, life science, and physical science. The modules are in postback and separate urls are not available. Teachers can download an Overview. The curriculum includes a data graphing tool and resources. The life science module has three activities. The third activity examines biodiversity in an estuary. Students explore the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve using Google Earth and produce an estuary biodiversity concept map and individual organism profile as part of an estuary wildlife exhibit. Links to supporting materials and pdf resources are included.

Students can meet an expert, take a quiz, find volunteer opportunities in their area, and choose from more than twenty online games to play. For example, in Waterlife students follow Valerie, Oscar the sea otter, and the Claminator to learn what produces healthy estuaries and food webs and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and to humans. The game can be played on Macs and PCs.

Science & Data provides real-time data, tutorials for the graphing tool other tools, and more.

Video Gallery has short for virtual field trips to estuaries.

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