Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

What do you know about wetlands?

Engagement

This section of the lesson allows students to determine what they already know about wetlands and wetland plants. It also gives them the opportunity to consider questions about the topic that they can find the answer to throughout the lesson. Students begin by reading a short article about wetland plants. Then students discuss and answer a set of questions in small groups. Finally, there is time for each small group to share a summary of what they discussed with the rest of their classmates. Students do not investigate the answers to the questions at this time. Instead, they share what they already know and form questions they would like to have answered. This phase of the lesson also allows the classroom teacher to assess the prior knowledge and any misconceptions the students may have about wetlands.

Objectives: 

By reading a short article, students will learn about what areas are considered a wetland and about some basic characteristics of wetland plants. Through small group brainstorming and class discussions, students will begin thinking about how wetland plants could be affected by tides.

Lesson Materials: 

Copies of the article “Wetland Plants” (classroom set)
Large sheets of paper or poster board
Tape
Markers

Procedures: 

1.  Ask students to read an article related to wetland plants.

2.  Divide the students into small groups (no more than four students) to discuss the following questions. Students should only use their prior knowledge and experiences to answer the questions.

3.  Stress to the students that they will not be penalized for wrong answers. This activity is to simply see what they already know about the topic.

4.  Discussion Questions:
A) Have you ever been to a wetland such as a swamp, marsh, or peatland? If so, what characteristics did you observe?
B) What factors might cause the water level near the surface of the soil in a wetland to change?
C) Do you think that all wetlands experience the same patterns of fluctuation in water level near the surface of the soil? Why or why not?
D)Would you expect to find the same types of plants growing in every area of a wetland? Explain your answer.

5.  After the students have been given ample time to discuss the questions in their small groups, have each group share their answers with the rest of the class.

6.  Hang large sheets of paper or poster board on the wall. Ask each group to write on the paper a summary of what they discussed or their one best answer for each question.

7.  Review the responses on the large sheets of paper.

8.  Do not tell the students if what they have discussed is correct or incorrect. Save the large sheets of paper to refer back to at a later time.

Maryland State Standards: 

1.2.3

The student will formulate a working hypothesis.

1.5.6

The student will read a technical selection and interpret it appropriately.