Water Habitat Model : Design a representation of an environment that meets the needs of a Manitoba animal.

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1 Water Habitat Model Outcome: : Design a representation of an environment that meets the needs of a Manitoba animal. Materials: Shoe boxes (1 per student) Art supplies: Glue and/or tape Paint and brushes for the background Plasticine/clay for plants and animals Rocks, sand, or pebbles for lake/pond bottom Twigs and leaves for plants Toy fish or bugs And any other supplies that students can think of...be creative! Newspaper to line work surfaces Water, soap and paper towel for clean-up Provided by teacher Brought in by students Teacher Instructions: Ask students to bring in shoe boxes 1-2 weeks prior to the activity. Read through this activity and gather the required materials listed above. Follow the directions outlined on page 2 to complete the activity. 1

2 Directions: Prior to activity day: 1. Explain to students that they will be building a water habitat model out of a shoe box that they will have to bring from home. Ask them to bring in their shoe boxes at least 1-2 weeks before activity day. Lids are not needed. Teachers will have to modify the boxes before the activity. The modifications will allow for a front-view of the model rather than a top-view. Follow the diagram below: 1. Remove the front panel of each shoe box by cutting along the dotted line as shown above. *Note: When cutting, leave some space along the bottom of the box. This will prevent items from falling out of the display (i.e. pebbles, rocks, etc.) 2. The finished shoe box will look like this. 2. As a class, discuss the supplies from the list above. Brainstorm some additional ideas for students to use in their models. 3. Allow students to choose a Manitoba fish species to create their habitat model. These may need to be reviewed before students are able to choose. See pages 3-5 for more information about fish habitats. On activity day: 1. Prepare the materials from the list above for students to use. Suggestion: Put supplies into 4-5 sets. Divide the class into groups of 4-5. Each group may then share a set of supplies for the activity. 2. Students may now begin creating their model using what they have already learned about fish habitats. Things to look for: food, space, shelter, water. 3. Once their models are finished, they can share them with the class. Display them around the classroom or in the school s showcase. 2

3 Teacher Background Information Overview: Fish Habitats The environment in which an animal lives is called a habitat. An animal s habitat includes food, water, shelter, and adequate space in an arrangement appropriate to an animal s needs. All animals need food, water, shelter, and space to live. Different fish species eat different kinds of food. Some fish eat mostly plant material, some eat other animals, such as insects and other fish, and some eat only other fish. Benthic feeders feed on benthic organisms that live on lake and river bottoms. While humans need clean water to drink, fish need clean water to live in. Just as humans need air to breathe, fish need oxygen in the water to breathe. They breathe oxygen through their gills. In nature, wind and water currents help stir up and oxygenate the water. Oxygen is also exchanged with the atmosphere at the water surface. In an aquarium, the surface area where air can enter the water is very small and there is no wind to stir it up. An air pump is necessary to oxygenate the water so fish can live in an aquarium. Fish find shelter amongst vegetation and rocks, under logs, and underneath overhanging banks of streams and lakes. Some fish find shelter along a lake or river bottom where they hide in deep holes or try to blend in with the bottom. The material that makes up a lake or river bottom is called the substrate. Substrate can consist of rocks, gravel, sand, silt, clay, and even boulders. Fish also need a lot of space. The bigger the fish, the more space it needs. Some fish are solitary, such as the northern pike, congregating only in the spring when they spawn; other fish, like goldeye, move in schools. Specific Habitat Requirements According to Species Sturgeon Sturgeon tend to stay near the bottoms of lakes or rivers where the substrate is mostly sand or gravel. Sturgeon are mostly bottom feeders, feeding on aquatic insects, crayfish, and benthic invertebrates (no spine) such as leeches and snails that live and/or hide in the substrate and vegetation. 3

4 Goldeye Goldeye tend to stay near the water s surface, so substrate is relatively unimportant for their habitat. They prefer murky water, using the turbidity for cover from predators rather than depending on vegetation. Goldeye feed on aquatic insects and insect larvae, as well as small fish like the emerald shiner. Goldeye are also a food source for predators such as channel catfish, northern pike, and walleye. Carp Carp can be found over all types of substrates, however they prefer soft substrates like sand or clay for feeding. They are benthic feeders, using aquatic insects, invertebrates, and plants as food. Carp use weeds as cover when they are in shallow water. Channel Catfish Channel catfish prefer substrates that range from gravel to rubble. They usually inhabit deeper lakes and rivers and can be found at varying depths, including the bottom, middle, and surface. Channel catfish feed on many aquatic organisms as well as small fish. They share the food chain apex with other fish like northern pike, walleye, and trout, so their need for plant cover is minimal. However, channel catfish sometimes use vegetation as a food source. Northern Pike Northern pike can be found over a variety of substrates including soil, mud, rock, and clay. They are top level predators in freshwater habitats and prey on many other kinds of fish and aquatic organisms. Northern pike use dense aquatic vegetation as cover so as not to be seen by their prey. Young pike also use vegetation for cover and protection. 4

5 Lake Trout Lake trout are found in cold, deep lakes with varying substrates. They tend to stay near the thermocline (a relatively thin layer of water in which temperatures decrease rapidly). The thermocline separates warmer surface water from colder, deeper water. Lake trout feed on other fish like white suckers and lake chubs. They use boulders for cover when needed. Smallmouth Bass Smallmouth bass are usually found over rocky substrates. They use rocks and boulders for cover as well as some aquatic vegetation. Smallmouth bass feed on different fish species, crayfish and aquatic insects. Yellow Perch Yellow perch are generally found near midwater or the bottom of lakes and rivers. They prefer sandy or gravel substrates. Yellow perch often stay near cover, using vegetation, submerged wood, and even docks as shelter. They eat small fish as well as invertebrates such as snails, leeches, and worms. Also, they are a food source for predators like northern pike and walleye. Walleye Walleye prefer areas with rock or rubble substrate. As a top-level consumer, they have little use for cover but often remain near the edges of weed beds. Walleye are piscivorous, meaning they prey on other fish such as perch, suckers, and carp. 5

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