Student Projects

Life By The Tide: Exploring, Understanding, and Protecting Our Coastal Ecosystems

Authors: Karen Feitelberg, Desiree Powers

Grade: 5th

Subjects: Language Arts, Science

Water explorers
Children examining ocean rocks
Children examining mussels in water
Field trip: classroom at beach trail
Field trip: Children looking at touch tank
Field trip: Children looking at touch tank
Field trip: Children looking at plants
Water creature
Sea Urchin
Class at beachside trail

Fifth grade students, new to project based learning, have worked cooperatively to help create our High Tech Elementary community. Learning about the greater HTH purpose and how they can make individual contributions, students are considering they ways they can learn about the broader San Diego community, with a particular focus on coastal habitats. We were asked by the education department at Cabrillo National Monument to curate educational materials about the intertidal zone to be showcased at the 2016 Climate Science Alliance meeting in San Diego. Our students will conduct research about this ecosystem and the organisms that inhabit this region. Through field work, research, presentations by experts, and modeling, students will curate posters and species cards to enhance the educational efforts for our local National Park. Once students learn about the intertidal ecosystems, they will begin to examine the health of the greater ocean and the impact of pollution, plastics, and climate change on local species and habitats. Students will have the opportunity to create further educational materials for Cabrillo. In April and May, we will be trained to instruct other students to participate in the 2016 National Parks BioBlitz at Cabrillo National Monument. This species sampling has been organized to celebrate 100 years of service of national parks, looking at biodiversity of species across our nation. Students will learn more about the human impact on our coastal habitats and think more critically about their responsibility to our natural world.

How can we as environmental stewards create educational materials for Cabrillo National Monument to inform visitors about the importance of protecting our San Diego coastal habitats?  How can we as environmental stewards advocate for and help protect the biodiversity in our local coastal ecosystems?

Written animal species research report, Cabrillo National Monument species poster, Cabrillo National Monument species card, Students will choose and create a product that demonstrates how they are environmental stewards

  • Describe and graph data to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth
  • Create models that describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers and the environment and that energy comes from the sun
  • Plan and carry out investigations about earth science
  • Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information regarding the intertidal ecosystem
  • Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases
  • Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
  • Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • Create products to demonstrate how humans impact our ecosystems and how individuals can be stewards of the environment