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Classroom Resources

BayLab: What's Killing the SAV?

Teacher's Guide

Introduction and Standards

In this interactive, students will explore the realities of trying to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. One of the most effective means of restoring the Bay is thought to be reintroducing the filter feeders and bay grasses that are crucial to the health of Bay habitats. In BayLab, students investigate two filter feeders: oysters and fresh water mussels and two bay grasses: wild celery and eel grass and they explore three factors that affect these organisms -- salinity, turbidity (cloudiness of the water) and algae levels. Significant changes in these factors may have contributed to the decline of filter feeders and bay grasses in the Bay. In a virtual laboratory, students will "experiment" to find the ranges of those factors that can be tolerated by the organisms under investigation. Students compare the ranges they have found (as well as the tolerated range they are given for dissolved oxygen) with live data from buoys in the Bay. They will have to determine where (if anywhere) there is a realistic chance of the organisms surviving.

Students will conclude their interaction by presenting a report to the PROduction Company, synthesizing what they have read and experienced, and deciding if the PROduction Company should include this story in their miniseries.

Standards Addressed

1.0 Skills and Processes – Students will demonstrate the thinking and acting inherent in the practice of science.

Grades 6 - 8

A. Constructing Knowledge

  1. Design and carry out simple investigations and formulate appropriate conclusions based on data obtained.
    1. Develop the ability to clarify questions and direct them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations.

B. Applying Evidence and Reasoning

  1. Review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and construct a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment.
    1. Make a case for accepting the idea that there is no fixed set of steps all scientists follow, scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected evidence.
    1. Explain that even though different explanations are given for the same evidence, it is not always possible to tell which one is correct.

3.0 Life Science – The students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the dynamic nature of living things, their interactions, and the results from the interactions that occur over time.

Grade 6

D. Evolution

  1. Explain that in any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms and species depend on the physical conditions.
    1. Explain that in all environments-freshwater, marine, forest, desert, grassland, mountain, and others-organisms with similar needs may compete with one another for resources, including food, space, water, air, and shelter.
    1. Describe ways in which changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.

Grade 8

D. Evolution

  1. Recognize and describe that evolutionary change in species over time occurs as a
         result of natural variation in organisms and environmental changes.
    1. Recognize and describe that gradual (climatic) and sudden (floods and fires) changes in environmental conditions affect the survival of organisms and populations.

Grade 6

F. Ecology

  1. Give reasons supporting the fact that the number of organisms an environment can support depends on the physical conditions and resources available.
    1. Explain that populations increase or decrease relative to the availability of resources and the conditions of the environment.
    2. Identify and describe factors that could limit populations within any environment, such as disease, introduction of a nonnative species, depletion of resources, etc.

6.0 Environmental Science - Students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the interactions of environmental factors (living and nonliving) and analyze their impact from a local to a global perspective.

Grade 6

A. Natural Resources and Human Needs

  1. Recognize and compare how different parts of the world have varying amounts and
    types of natural resources and how the use of those resources impacts environ­mental quality. 
    1. Identify and describe how the natural change process may be affected by human activities, such as agriculture, beach preservation, mining, development/construction, and stream/river alteration.

Grade 7
                  1.  Recognize and explain the impact of a changing human population on the use of
                   natural resources and on environmental quality. 

    1. Identify and describe the positive and negative impacts of an increasing human population on the use of natural resources, such as land, fossil fuels, forests, water, wind, minerals, and wildlife.
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