During this unit, Students will observe offspring in an ecosystem and ask questions about the behaviors they have to survive to adulthood.
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Lessons and Standards
1st Grade Summary
Students explore what a kelp forest is, why kelp forests are important, how marine animals, birds, and humans use the kelp forest, and how they can protect kelp forests today and in the future.
During the Community Building Day in the classroom, students are introduced to the kelp forest ecosystem and the organisms that live there by building a classroom kelp forest and populating it with animals that live in and around the kelp forest. Additionally, students build belief that they are a unique individual who belongs to a community of scientists by learning what scientists do and creating an action that represents them as an individual scientist.
During the Exploration Day at Cabrillo National Monument, students build on the belief that they can recognize and do science as they investigate a real kelp forest and use scientific tools to explore how marine animals, birds, and humans use the kelp forest.
During the Make a Difference Day at the Living Lab, students learn how they can help protect the kelp forest today and in the future as scientists. Students experience being a marine biologist by, using their imagination and dressing in field gear to collect data about the relationship between sea lions and fish, and by dissecting a holdfast to learn about the organisms that live there and considering how they can protect the kelp forest in the future as a scientist. Students share their love of the kelp forest with their family and friends by creating a magnet to communicate the importance of the ecosystem and ways we can work to protect it. Students meet and talk with science leaders who share their story, career path, and obstacles they have overcome to become the person they are today. Collectively, these experiences build students’ belief that science is important and relevant, that a career in science is a possibility for them, that challenges can be opportunities to learn and grow, rather than permanent obstacles, and that they can make a difference in the world.
Students love becoming marine biologists, exploring the kelp forest, using scientific tools, getting to know science leaders, and making a difference in the world!
Performance Expectations K-LS1-1: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive; 2-LS4-1: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
DCI LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans – There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.
Crosscutting Concepts – Systems and systems models – students understand that a system is a group of related parts that make up a whole and can carry out functions its individual parts cannot. They can also describe a system in terns of its components and their interactions.
- Kelp Forest Video
- Community Building Slides (updated 1/26/23)
- Kelp Forest Information
- What is a kelp forest? (NOAA National Ocean Service)
- Kelp Forests: A Description (NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries)
- Kelp Forest (Monterey Bay Aquarium)
- Lesson Plans and Activities
- Kelp Forest Live Cam (Monterey Bay Aquarium)
- Kelp Forest Live Cam (Birch Aquarium)
- “Kelp Forest Bingo” Activity (Birch Aquarium)
- “Fish for a Day” Lesson Plan (Aquarium of the Pacific)
- “Crabs: Claws and Shells” Lesson Plan (Monterey Bay Aquarium)
- Science Careers