During this unit students will observe the structure and function of organisms along the coast and in the kelp forest.
Lessons and Standards
4th Grade Summary:
Students will study the kelp forest habitat including, what kelp is, how animals that live in, around, or near the kelp forest utilize this habitat, and how students can help protect the kelp forest today and in the future.
During the Community Building Day in the classroom, students will be introduced to the kelp forest ecosystem and participate in a search and find activity to learn about different types of animals utilize the kelp forest. Students create a Discovery Bracelet to build on their belief that they are a unique individual who belongs to a community of scientists. The bracelets are built by student’s answering questions about their interests and then comparing them to other classmates.
During the Exploration Day at La Jolla Cove, students build on the belief that they can recognize and do science as they investigate a real kelp forest and use scientific tools to analyze how sea lions, birds, and humans interact with 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 pick up small pieces of trash in the canyon that would eventually make their way to the ocean after seeing the different types of plastics that end up in fish stomachs and become biomechanical engineers who test the elasticity of kelp and think about how kelp can be utilized to help people in the future. 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 biomechanical engineers, exploring the kelp forest, using scientific tools, getting to know science leaders, and making a difference in the world!
Performance Expectation 4-LS1-1: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
DCI LS1.A: Structure and Function: Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
Systems and System 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 terms of its components and their interactions.
- 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)
- “Kelp Forest Engineer Challenge” Lesson Plan (Monterey Bay Aquarium)
- “Take a Virtual Dive in the Kelp Forest” Video (California Academy of Sciences)
- Science Careers