From salt water and seashores, we moved onto fresh water habitats. The class began by constructing a picture of cattails as inspired by Animal Habitats! "Pipe-Cleaner Cattails" project on pages 54-55. A brief discussion of cattails followed. As our local area has several marshes, most of the children were familiar with cattails. In fact, one of my assistants brought in a few live cattails for our class to observe.
Once the pictures and observations were completed, I guided a brief class discussion on lakes and ponds. I was sure to high light the main facts from lesson 16 in Properties of Ecosystems. These included:
- similarities of lakes and oceans including sunlit zones
- definition of a pond versus a lake
- specific flora and fauna of lakes and ponds
Next, the children completed a worksheet from Habitats: Science Works for Kids Series, Evan-Moor, p. 47-48, entitled "Where Do We Live?" The activity worksheet directed the children to color and cut out six animals who live in a fresh water habitat. They were then asked to glue each animal to the appropriate part of the fresh water habitat: bank, surface, open water, or muddy bottom.
Following this activity, I then presented a brief lecture on rivers and streams using the information from Properties of Ecosystems lesson 17. Some of the topics covered were:
- similarities of rivers and streams to lakes and ponds
- river and stream currents
- interesting river facts
As we discussed different animals they saw in their booklets, I directed the conversation toward the snapping turtle. Adding a few interesting facts about turtles and tortoises, I steered them toward a different project. The children assembled their own snapping turtles with the help of pages 56-57 in Animal Habitats!.
To end the class, I read aloud On the River ABC, by Caroline Stutson. The book follows an ant traveling on a leaf boat through the waters of a river. The ant sees many different animals on his journey to a new meadow. The children liked the pictures and the different facts. I liked the variety of animals presented in the book.
Lakes and Ponds, by Fran Howard
On the River ABC, by Caroline Stutson
Anther Resource a.k.a. A Fun Extra My Child Got to Do Because I Am the Teacher:
Planet Earth, Education Edition: Fresh Water, Discovery Education DVD