Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
Together as a class, research wetlands in general, noting what specifically makes a wetland unique. Create a list of wetland-specific animals, plants, and environments. From that, generate a class diorama of a wetland.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Visit the website Give Water a Hand and look over the Guides and project Success Stories. Then have students write up a proposal for selecting a service project to help a wetland in your area. Present the proposals to the class. Students could vote on the best proposal and perform the service project together.
Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.
Plants in a wetland actually hold water in the soil. Weigh some common plants before and after watering, for a period of weeks, to determine the average amount of water the roots will hold in the soil. Aim to allow the plant to become as dry as possible without killing it between watering.
Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Examples of patterns could include that all animals need food in order to live and grow, and the different kinds of food needed by different types of animals. Animals obtain their food from plants or from other animals.
Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water. The emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats.
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs are met. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms and therefore operate as decomposers, eventually recycling some materials back to the soil. Matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases and water from the environment, and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment.
Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
Rainfall helps to shape the land and affects the types of living things found in a region. Water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller particles and move them around. Examples of variables to test could include angle of slope in the downhill movement of water and volume of water flow.
Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources, and their use affects the environment in multiple ways. Examples of environmental effects could include loss of aquatic habitat due to dams.
Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
Examples of environmental changes could include changes in land characteristics, water distribution, temperature, food, and other organisms. When the environment changes in ways that affect a place's physical characteristics or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die. Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.
Support, obtain, and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.
Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, and air. Individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth's resources and environments.
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors. In any ecosystem, organisms and populations with similar requirements for food, water, oxygen, or other resources may compete with each other for limited resources, access to which consequently constrains their growth and reproduction. Emphasis is on cause and effect relationships between resources and growth of individual organisms and the numbers of organisms in ecosystems during periods of abundant and scarce resources.
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
Predatory interactions may reduce the number of organisms or eliminate whole populations of organisms. Mutually beneficial interactions, in contrast, may become so interdependent that each organism requires the other for survival. Although the species involved in these competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial interactions vary across ecosystems, the patterns of interactions of organisms with their environments are shared.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
Emphasis is on describing the conservation of matter and flow of energy into and out of various ecosystems, and on defining the boundaries of the system. Food webs are models that demonstrate how matter and energy is transferred between producers, consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact within an ecosystem. Transfers of matter into and out of the physical environment occur at every level. Decomposers recycle nutrients from dead plant or animal matter back to the water in aquatic environments.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations. Emphasis is on recognizing patterns in data and making warranted inferences about changes in populations, and on evaluating empirical evidence supporting arguments about changes to ecosystems.
Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Biodiversity describes the variety of species found in Earth's terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem's biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health. Changes in biodiversity can influence humans' resources, such as food, energy, and medicines, as well as ecosystem services that humans rely onâ€”for example, water purification. Examples of design solution constraints could include scientific, economic, and social considerations. There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land. Movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity. Emphasis is on the ways water changes its state as it moves through the multiple pathways of the hydrologic cycle.
Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Human activities can have consequences on the biosphere, sometimes altering natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. Examples of the design process include examining human environmental impacts, assessing the kinds of solutions that are feasible, and designing and evaluating solutions that could reduce that impact. Examples of human impacts can include water usage (such as the withdrawal of water from streams and aquifers or the construction of dams and levees), land usage (such as urban development, agriculture, or the removal of wetlands), and pollution (such as of the air, water, or land).