A Note to the Educator This presentation contains the Instructions for conducting the Build a Seagrass Community using the Who Am I clues. The components for the build activity are contained at the end of this booklet. The Background Information for the Seagrass Activity Kit presentation (also on this CD) offers information about the organisms and habitats used in the educational activities found in the Seagrass Activity Kit. It is intended to refresh the educator with information relating to the activities. A glossary of terms is provided at the end of the presentation for reference purposes. We acknowledge the artists, M. Gill and D. Peebles, who created some of the artwork contained in this educational package. The Seagrass Activity Kit was developed for educators and their students by Nancy Diersing and Joy Tatgenhorst, Education Specialists from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. For more information or to provide input, please contact: Mary Tagliareni, Education Coordinator, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, (305) 852-7717 x 30 or Mary.Tagliareni@noaa.gov or Nancy Diersing, (305) 852-7717 x 26 or Nancy.Diersing@noaa.gov.
Build a Seagrass Community & Build a Seagrass Food Chain National Science Education Standards for Pre-K through grade 4: The two activities described in this presentation are designed to meet the Life Science, Content Standard C. Build a Seagrass Community and Build a Seagrass Food Chain enable students to better understand two of the main concepts of this standard: The Characteristics of Organisms and Organisms and their Environments. These two concepts are described below using excerpts from the National Science Education Standards (1996). The Characteristics of Organisms: Organisms have basic needs. For example, animals need air, water, and food; plants require air, water, nutrients, and light. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met. The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms. Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction. For example, humans have distinct body structures for walking, holding, seeing, and talking. Organisms and their Environments: All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food. Other animals eat animals that eat he plants. An organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment. When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations. Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change their environment in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organism.
Build a Seagrass Community using the Who Am I clues • Suggested Time: 45 minutes • Materials: • Printed copy of each page in this presentation, containing the nonliving and living components of the seagrass community (Arrows are for the food chain activity). • “Who am I?” Clues hand-out (Print one copy of Level 1 “Who am I?” for K-3 students) • Print out “Who am I in the food chain? Clues” (for the food chain activity only). • Felt board, poster board or wall in classroom (approximately 3 to 4 ft. by 2-4 ft. in size) • Clear tape for sticking components to poster board or wall OR Velcro for sticking animals to felt board • round scissors for students to use when cutting out animals. Notes: For young students, you may want to print out only selection of animals from the entire kit. You will also want to print out more than one example of each animal in your selection. The students may be enlisted to cut out the components to be used in building the community. This can be a separate activity prior to initiating the activity described below. If the components are to be used again, it may be good to laminate them. Figure 1. Seagrass Community
Build a Seagrass Community Activity 1. Students receive two to four nonliving and living components. It may be best to pass these out in envelopes that are stuffed with the components ahead of time. Large brown envelopes can be used as a “desktop” for displaying the components that each student has been issued. 2. Under the teacher’s guidance and using the “Who am I?” Clue cards, students create a seagrass community, beginning with the nonliving components, then moving to the plants, and then to animals (The consumers are not necessarily in any order). To initiate the building part of the activity, the teacher reads the clues one at a time in numerical order. After each clue is read, those students holding the component (plant, or animal or nonliving) described by the “Who am I?” clue, places his/her piece on the board in the appropriate location. This activity begins with the Sun and then moves to seawater (you can point out the air and sand/seafloor, too). Next, the seagrass clues are read and students place the seagrass patches along the seafloor on the board. Then, animals are described and placed in their appropriate locations. Together the animals, plants, and decomposers living in an area form a biological community that is adapted to its marine environment. (see fig.1)You may choose to omit the plant and animal plankton clues from the list and possibly the bacteria, depending upon your students’ knowledge level. Note: The diversity of organisms that inhabit or forage in the seagrass is evident by looking at the completed board. Some of the ecological roles that the organisms fill are described in the clues. You might ask: “Do they swim, float, or live a bottom-dwelling lifestyle?” and other questions that draw out the ecological information. How to Read the Hints on the “Who Am I?” Clues In the “Who am I” clues, you will find the words, benthic, nektonic, or planktonic to describe where the piece is to be placed on the board. Benthic refers to bottom-dwelling organisms; some benthic animals are free-moving such as the sea star and others are sessile or live attached to a hard surface, such as the sponge. Swimming animals are described as nektonic and organisms that float or drift in the ocean currents (no matter how large or small) are planktonic (see glossary for more about planktonic organisms).
Who Am I Clues? 1. Sun I am very large and very, very hot. I shine down on the earth to make it warm. The plants depend upon me to get energy to grow. 2. Seawater Marine animals live and swim in me. I taste as salty as the sea. 3. Seagrass I grow on the sandy bay or ocean bottom. My roots dig into the sand and my green leaves stick up where they can get sunlight. I use the energy from the sun to grow and make my own food. Lots of animals like to live in me and a few of them eat my leaves, too. 4. Bay Scallop My soft body is covered with two hard shells that connected to one another. My shells are shaped like fans. Just like my close relatives , the clams and oysters. I am food for other marine animals and some people, too. 5. Queen Conch I am an animal that grows a heavy shell around my body. Sometimes you can only see my eyes sticking out from beneath my shell. My shell grows larger as my body grows. On the inside, my shell is pink, but on the outside it is almost white and can be covered with plants that help me blend in the seagrass. 6. Tulip Snail I grow a spiral shell on my back and have a soft body with two eyes on stalks. I use my body as a "foot" to move along the sand. I feed on smaller snails and clams.
7. Common Octopus I have a large head with two eyes. I have 8 long arms that I use in moving and catching my food. 8. Horseshoe Crab I have a shell that is shed each time I grow larger. I have two tiny eyes on top of my large round head, but I can't see very well. I use my many legs that are found underneath my large head to bury myself in the sandy seafloor for protection. I have a long pointed, sharp tail. 9.Hermit crab I have lots of legs and claws like a crab, but I am not a real crab. I live in an old shell that I carry on my back for protection. When I become too large for this shell, I must find a new one and crawl into it. 10. Shrimp I have many small legs and a thin shell that cover my long body and tail. I have two long pinchers or claws that I use to feed myself. I live in the seagrass. I am food for lots of animals, including fish and people. I can be green in color just like the seagrass. 11. Blue Crab I have 10 legs. One pair of legs is really a pair of pinching claws used for getting food and defending myself. Another pair of legs are paddles used for swimming and burying myself in the sand. I have a bluish colored shell. People like to eat me and catch me in traps or with bait. 12. Spiny LobsterI have a shell that is shed each time I grow larger. I have ten legs, a tail, and two sets of “feelers” or antennae on my head. I like to back my body into holes in the reef to hide. I can also use my tail to swim fast backwards. Fishermen catch me in traps. I am reddish in color.
13. Cushion Sea Star My body is covered in small bumps. You can't tell from the picture, but my mouth is underneath my body. I live and feed in the sea grass. I have five pointed arms. I am shaped like a star. 14. Grassbed Urchin My round body is covered with pointed spines. The spines help me to move and protect me. I like to hide in the grassbeds and am often green in color. 15. Gray Snapper I am an animal with a backbone, scales, and gills. I am popular to for fishermen to catch and eat. I love to swim through grassbeds feeding on shrimp and other small animals. I have a stripe across each eye that helps me hide from other fish. 16. Sea Horse I am with a tail that I can wrap around corals and seaweeds. I have a long narrow mouth, which I use to feed on very small animals that are floating in the ocean. I am a fish that looks like a "horse". 17. PinfishI swim in shallow waters over the grassbeds. I have large eyes, but a small mouth. I eat clams and other shellfish, which I crush with my strong jaws. I have a yellow body with stripes and a spot near each of my eyes. 18. Barracuda I can swim forward very quickly to catch smaller fish to eat. People are sometimes afraid of me. I have a silvery body, large jaws, and sharp teeth.
19. Loggerhead sea turtle I have a backbone and scaley skin. I carry a large heavy shell on my back and have four legs that are used like flippers to swim. I breath air, but live my life at sea. My head is large and my jaws are strong. I use my strong jaws to crush small conch and lobsters for food. 20. Brown Pelican I have feathers, wings and hollow bones. I dive down to catch fish for food and rest in the mangrove trees along the shore. 21. Dolphin I am an air breathing animal that lives at sea. I take care of my young and like to jump and play with others of my kind. I can communicate with others of my kind and people love me.
Queen Conch Queen Conch--young