Life in the Bay Getting to know the Bay s plants and animals

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1 Life in the Bay Getting to know the Bay s plants and animals Over erview iew In this activity students will become acquainted with a plant or animal that lives in the San Francisco Bay. Students will research their plant or animal and create an informational poster. They will then use their poster to make a presentation to the class. Estimated Time 2-3 weeks Objectives Students will: Become an expert on a plant or animal that lives in the Bay Use reference books and the Internet to do research Document both quoted and paraphrased information using an accepted form of source citation Create a clear and eye-catching informational poster Deliver a focused, well-organized presentation Materials Reference books featuring plants and animals of the Bay (see appendix A) Computer with internet access (optional, see Appendix B for websites) Printer (optional) Poster board Colored construction paper Markers, colored pencils, paint, letter stencils, other art supplies Vocabular ocabulary Adaptation, ecosystem, native species, non-native (introduced) species California Science Content Standards Grade 6 Standard Set 5.b: over time, matter is transferred from one organism to others in the food web, and between organisms and the physical environment. Standard Set 5.c: populations of organisms can be categorized by the functions they serve in an ecosystem. Standard Set 5.d: different kinds of organisms may play similar ecological roles in similar biomes. Standard Set 5.e: the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition. Standard Set 7.d: communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and verbal presentations. 126 Save The Bay s San Francisco Bay Watershed Curriculum

2 Grade 7 Standard Set 3.a: both genetic variation and environmental factors are causes of evolution and diversity of organisms. Standard Set 3.e: extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient for its survival. Standard Set 7.b: utilize a variety of print and electronic resources (including the World Wide Web) to collect information as evidence as part of a research project. Grades 9-12 Biology/Life Sciences Standard 6.a: biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms, and is affected by alterations of habitats. Biology/Life Sciences Standard 8.b: a great diversity of species increases the chance that at least some organisms survive large changes in the environment. California English/Language Arts Stan- dards Grades 6-12 Reading,, Writing iting,, Speaking Please refer to standards. Background The mixture of salty and fresh water, nutrient rich mud, and mild climate found in and around the San Francisco Bay makes it an ideal habitat for an abundance of plants and animals. Located along the Pacific Flyway, the San Francisco Bay is one of the most important resting places in the world for migrating birds. The Bay is also home to several endangered species, including the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, the California Least Turn, the Peregrine Falcon, and the California Clapper Rail. These endangered animals depend on marsh plants such as pickleweed and cordgrass for food and shelter. This activity gives students the chance to become an expert on a plant or an animal that lives in the Bay. Students who have done this activity will be able to recognize their plants and animals when they visit the Bay. Teacher Proc ocedur edure Part I 1. Before you begin, review the following concepts: Adaptation Ecosystem Native/ Non-native species 2. Have students choose or assign students a marsh plant or animal to research. 3. Explain that they are going to become experts on their plant or animal. Talk about how researchers ask questions, and then use books, magazines, the internet, etc. to find answers to their questions. You may want to brainstorm to get a list of questions students could ask about their plant or animal, for example what does the animal eat? You can either assign questions for all students to answer, or allow them to choose their own, however they should research at least five questions. Here is a list of possibilities: Animal Questions: What is its habitat (where in the Bay does it live)? What adaptations help it survive there? What does it eat? Where does it find its food? What adaptations help it get food? Who are its predators? What do your animal s look like? What sounds (if any) does your animal make? What does the animal s tracks look like? What are some cool facts about your animal? Plant Questions: What is its habitat (where in the Bay does it live)? What adaptations help it survive there? What animals eat it? What animals use it for shelter or protection? How have humans used it (medicine, food, building, etc.)? Is it a native or introduced species? (if introduced, how did it get here?) What does your plant look like? What are some cool facts about your plant? 2. Explain how students will use the Research Worksheet to record their research and to keep track of their sources. The worksheets are designed to help students organize their data. Students should use a separate Save The Bay s San Francisco Bay Watershed Curriculum 127

3 worksheet for each research question. They will need several copies of the worksheet, preferably double sided. 3. Allow students several class periods to research their plant or animal. Part II 1. Explain that students will now be using their research to create an informational poster about their plant or animal. An informational poster is: eye-catching visible from a distance illustrated with large drawings or photos contains clearly written facts gives credit to sources of information Show some examples if you have them. 2. If your students are less experienced in visual art, you may want to give them some poster-making tips. Here are some ideas: Outline plant and animal drawings with marker. Use crayons or colored pencil to create shading and detail. Use the background color to offset words and drawings. Experiment with light and dark backgrounds and lettering. Use colored paper borders around drawings or sections of text. Experiment with different shapes and sizes. Use letter stencils or a printer to create titles and headings. Use a ruler to make sure lettering is straight. Put bibliographical information in a place that is inconspicuous. Part III 1. Explain to students that they will be giving a five-minute presentation to the class about their plant or animal. Tell them that they will be using their poster to help illustrate their presentation. 2. If your students are less experienced in presenting, you may want to give them some guidelines. Here are some ideas: Review the facts you have learned about your plant or animal. Decide on a logical order in which to present them. Practice your presentation with a friend. Have your friend time you. Your presentation should last about five minutes. If it is too long, decide on some details you can leave out. If it is too short, you may want to add some details or speak more slowly. Use your poster to help you remember what you want to say and to illustrate some of your points. Look out at your audience and speak in a loud, clear voice. Imagine you are talking to a person in the back of the room. Relax and have fun! Remember you re the expert. Resources Bibliography Guidelines index.htm Salt Pond Wildlife Photos saltpond.htm Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area, Chris Fisher and Joseph Morlan, Lone Pine Publishing, Suisun Vegetation Guidebook, A Field Identification Guide, Suisun Resource Conservation District, 2544 Grizzly Island Rd., Suisun, CA Common Riparian Plants of California and Common Wetland Plants of California, by Phyllis M. Faber, Pickleweed Press. ISBN and Common Wetland Plants of Central California, by Peggy L. Fielder, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District. Field Guide to the Birds of North America, National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. 128 Save The Bay s San Francisco Bay Watershed Curriculum

4 Life in the Bay Getting to know the Bay s plants and animals INTRODUCTION Think back to the last time you were near San Francisco Bay. You may have been in a car, driving over one of the Bay s many bridges, or you may have been closer at a shoreline park or marina. Did you happen to notice the wildlife? Maybe you saw some birds flying overhead or feeding on the mudflats. Maybe you noticed some tall grass or some bushy shrubs. What you probably didn t see is that beneath the surface of the water, thousands of fish and invertebrates (animals without a backbone) swim, crawl, burrow, and cling. Under the cover of tall grass, small birds, mammals, and insects hide. San Francisco Bay is teeming with life. The nutrient-rich bay mud, the warm shallow water, the marsh plants, and the mild climate provide excellent habitat for migrating birds as well as for animals that live in the Bay year-round. The animals and plants live in delicate balance with one another, each taking their place in the food web. In this activity, you will have a chance to get to know an organism (plant or animal) that lives in the bay and how it functions as part of the ecosystem. Once you have researched your organism, you will create an informational poster to illustrate what you have learned. You will then use your poster to help you present your organism to the class. PROCEDURE 1. Choose a plant or animal that lives in San Francisco Bay. Write the name of your organism below: COMMON NAME: LATIN NAME: 2. Choose at least five research questions. You can either use the questions from the following list or make up your own. Write your questions on your research worksheets. Use a separate sheet for each question so you have plenty of room to record your research. Save The Bay s San Francisco Bay Watershed Curriculum 129

5 Animal Research Questions What is its habitat (where in the Bay does it live)? What adaptations help it survive there? What does it eat? Where does it find its food? What adaptations help it get food? Who are its predators? What does your animal look like? What sounds (if any) does your animal make? What do the animal s tracks look like? What are some cool facts about your animal? Plant Research Questions What is its habitat (where in the Bay does it live)? What adaptations help it survive there? What animals eat it? What animals use it for shelter or protection? How have humans used it (medicine, food, building, etc.)? Is it a native or introduced species? (if introduced, how did it get here)? What does your plant look like? What are some cool facts about your plant? 3. Begin your research. Use books, magazines, newspapers, field guides, encyclopedias, and the Internet to find answers to your research questions. This may take a few days or even a few weeks. Don t panic if you can t find the answers right away. Try using a different source, or asking a different question. Record your findings on your research worksheets. Remember to write down your sources! 4. Create an informational poster featuring your organism. An informational poster is: educational eye-catching visible from a distance illustrated with large drawings or photos contains clearly written facts gives credit to sources of information Here are some ideas for designing an effective poster: Outline plant and animal drawings with marker. Use crayons or colored pencils to create shading and detail. Use the background color to offset words and drawings. Experiment with light and dark backgrounds and lettering. Use colored paper borders around drawings or sections of text. Experiment with different shapes and sizes. Use letter stencils or a printer to create titles and headings. Use a ruler to make sure lettering is straight. Put bibliographical information in small type in a place that is inconspicuous. 130 Save The Bay s San Francisco Bay Watershed Curriculum

6 5. Prepare a five minute oral presentation of your organism, using your poster as a visual aid. Here are some tips for making an effective presentation: Review the facts you have learned about your plant or animal. Decide on a logical order in which to present them. Practice your presentation with a friend. Have your friend time you. Your presentation should last five minutes. If it is too long, decide on some details you can leave out. If it is too short, you may want to add some details or speak more slowly. Use your poster to help you remember what you want to say and to illustrate some of your points. Look out at your audience and speak in a loud, clear voice. Imagine you are talking to a person in the back of the room. Relax and have fun! Remember you re the expert. Save The Bay s San Francisco Bay Watershed Curriculum 131

7 Research Question: Research Worksheet Source: Findings: Source: Findings: 132 Save The Bay s San Francisco Bay Watershed Curriculum

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