Purpose: This activity has two purposes: (1) to provide students with a real life experience of two local ecosystems: (a) wetlands, by visiting the Watsonville Slough, and (b) oceans, by visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Students will make observations of both biotic (animals) and abiotic (non-living things) at both locations. They will also use tools, such as binoculars and microscopes to get a better visual image of particular animals and plants. The second purpose: (2) to provide an opportunity for students to share their results from their scientific inquiry project on water quality (Lesson 4) and receive constructive feedback from an expert, Melissa Miller.
Materials: Binoculars, microscopes, camera, sketch pad and/or field trip journal, poster boards with students’ results (by group): nitrate group, phosphate group, pH group, DO/temp group (dissolved oxygen and temperature), and the bacteria group. Melissa Miller brought: sea otter pelts, skulls, bones, teeth, x-rays, and a PowerPoint presentation. We all celebrated with juice and cookies at the end of Melissa’s visit.
• On the field trips, students can make observations and record them in their sketch pads and/or field trip journals. If you want students to observe particular aspects of an ecosystem or characteristics and/or behavior of an animal, you can provide ‘search and seek’ questions for students. These are specific questions for students to seek answers to, i.e., make observations. Your main objective is to have fun and encourage students to use all five senses when exploring and making observations.
• During and after the field trips, provide an open discussion space for students to share their experiences with each other and the teacher (including the adult chaperones attending the field trips).
• See pictures in Word L4 folder.
• Have each group copy their table and graph from their scientific inquiry template books (on water quality, Lesson 4), onto a poster board or the whiteboard to share their results with the visiting scientist.
• Provide an opportunity for each group to practice sharing their results in front of the class. Students should also practice providing constructive feedback to each group presenting their results.
• Celebrate the event with a treat, such as juice and cookies.
• See pictures in Word L4 folder and 3rd- 5th Students’ work L4 folders.