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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
When students make models of the physical characteristics of a wetland environment and observe what happens when it rains, they begin to catch a glimpse of the importance of wetlands as well as the consequences of getting rid of them.
Student Prior Knowledge:
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Step 2. Review with students the characteristics of a wetland. Record their answers on the board. Ask students if they think that the characteristics they listed would apply to all wetlands.
Show students some pictures of different types of wetlands, including freshwater and salt marshes, swamps, mangrove swamps, and bogs. Ask them to think about all the different types as they investigate and observe.
Step 3. Have each group make it "rain" on their land and begin to pour/sprinkle some water slowly at the top of their land. Discuss in groups what happens. (The carpet or sponge should slow down the water as the excess flows into their "lake.")
Ask the following questions:
Step 4. Now have students remove their wetland (carpet/sponge). Pour out the water left in the "lake" and try the investigation again without the wetland. What happens? (Without a wetland, large amounts of silt and pollutants can end up in larger water bodies causing problems.)
Pose the following questions:
Step 5. Have a corner set up with many reference materials, as well as "hands on" wetland items (such as cattails, bulrushes, sealed bag with wetland mud,empty turtle shell, snake skin, etc.)
Have students research the different types of wetlands that are found in Utah. Urban wetlands will have different characteristics from those surrounding the Great Salt Lake. After investigating these, have groups choose a specific type and create a model of it. If possible, have models of plants and animals that will be found in the different areas.
Label each model according to its type and include at least five facts about the wetland.
Ask students to write a letter to their parents explaining how wetlands help us. Check the letters for factual accuracy.
Wading Into Wetlands, Ranger Rick's NatureScope, National Wildlife Federation,1997.
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