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Classroom Resources

BayQuest — A Journey of Exploration

Teacher's Guide

Tips for Teachers


Step By Step through the Interactive

Students will follow this sequence as they complete BayQuest.

Students are given a set of 5 randomly-generated organisms (animals and/or plants) that can be found in or near the Bay. Clicking each organism on the list will bring up a brief description of that organism. Sometimes within the description, there is a clue to where the organism can be found.

After receiving their list, students can look at a map of locations where these organisms may be found. NOTE: The organisms in the activity appear at appropriate locations. However many of these organisms can also be found at additional locations throughout the Bay.

There are seven different locations noted on the map (denoted by buoys):

  1. Aquatic Reefs
  2. Bay grass beds
  3. Deep open waters
  4. Intertidal flats
  5. Piers, rocks, and jetties
  6. Sandy beaches
  7. Wetlands

Because we know the vocabulary of science can be challenging, we have highlighted many words throughout this interactive. By clicking on words in red, students can read a definition of the term.

Clicking on a location will bring students to that location. 

Students have the option of clicking the small arrow in the upper right hand corner of the map to see a "zoomed out" version of the entire map.

Clicking on a buoy brings up a black box with:

  • a short description of the habitat
  • real time data from that location collected by CBIBS buoys in the Bay. (Find more information about the buoys here)
  • a "tour", which is a short video presentation showing point-of-view footage from the craft on which they are traveling and bringing students to that habitat.

Throughout the interactive students have access to these tools through icons on the right side of the screen:

  1. The map icon allows them to see the map of the Chesapeake Bay and travel to buoy locations
  2. The camera icon allows them to take a snapshot of the items on their list as they are found. The names of the organisms will appear in the PDA once the photo is taken.
  3. The paper icon will allow students to access their "To Do" list - the list of organisms that they have been given to find with access to the instructions for finding them.
  4. The PDA icon will allow students to access their PDAs.

When students first enter a location, they will see traces of life on the screen. By rolling their mouse over these traces, they will uncover the organisms that are located there. Students can link from these illustrations to a Fact Sheet about the organism. There are 34 available Fact Sheets covering native and non-native species.

In each location students can use the following icons on the left of the habitat:

  1. The Need Help? icon provides easy access to their To Do List and to the instructions for finding the organisms.
  2. The ? icon gives additional information: access to an audio-only presentation giving more details about the animals and plants found at that location. This presentation is organized as a FAQ (Ever wonder…); responses are given by Alice Jane and Robert L. Lippson, noted experts on the Bay. Through the ? icon students can also tour the Bay on the Sultana, a 1768 reproduction schooner, or choose to see the Bay from a helicopter.
  3. The binoculars icon plays a video clip with more details about the location they are currently viewing.

Students can use the map icon to go to another location.

Once they have located an organism on their list, students can snap its picture (which will save it to their PDA) and answer a question about the relationship of the organism to its habitat using their PDA. The students should use data from the buoys or information from the fact sheets to answer these questions.

Once students have found all five items on their original list, they file a report to the PROduction Company with their recommendations, using their PDA. PDA entries will be saved if the student is logged in, and can be emailed. PLEASE NOTE that there is no identifying information on the email. Students should put their name or other identifier in at least one of the answers they email to you.

If the student wants to, (or you want the student to) keep exploring the habitats, simply re-enter BayQuest. The To Do List will remain the same, but they can explore further and have the ability to edit their answers.

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Teacher Tips:  Before Using the Interactive

Review the interactive yourself prior to introducing it to the class and plan to use it with your students. You may want to consider questions such as:

  • How long do you think it will take your students to find these animals and plants?
  • What’s the best way to work with the interactive: singly? In groups? As a whole class?
  • Each user’s work is saved online, using his or her unique password. How might you take advantage of this to segment their work with the interactive to best fit your schedule and instructional needs?

This activity centers on the relationships between the organism and the environment. Both physical aspects of the environment (salinity, turbidity and dissolved oxygen) and biological aspects (algae levels, predator/prey relationships, impact of invasives) are included. If you haven't done so already, you may want to introduce these terms to your students. You can find definitions for these terms here.

When a student chooses a habitat data about temperature, chlorophyll a, salinity, turbidity and dissolved oxygen data are displayed. These data are from CBIBS buoys which are at the locations shown on the map. Information about these water quality factors is available here. Background information about kayaks, skipjacks and the Sultana can be used to introduce the crafts on which students will "travel" to the various habitats.

You can use a map of the Bay to orient students to the major points of their voyage and to their location relative to the Bay. The map used in BayQuest is provided in printable form here. You can also use the National Geographic's Chesapeake Bay FieldScope. (more instructions on that here). Other sources for maps are The Chesapeake Bay Program and the U.S. Geologic Survey or the Maryland Geologic Survey for maps of Maryland.

It may also be helpful to orient your students as to their location as related to the Bay. The Maryland Geologic Survey is one good source of maps of Maryland.

A vocabulary list is available for this interactive. You may want to introduce some or all of these terms before students start working with the interactive.

Explain that the plants and animals students will find are commonly found in the locations in which they will find them in the interactive. However, these organisms may also live in other locations as well. For example, students will find phytoplankton and zooplankton in the piers, rocks and jetties location. However, they are found throughout the Bay. Both the location in the Bay (primarily how salty the water is), as well as the specific type of habitat (e.g. shallow vs. deep water), were used to determine where each organism would appear in the activity.

You may want to introduce this activity by using one or more video clips available at the Cinema Bayville.

These related clips are available:

  • The Bay Beautiful – an introduction to the Bay
  • The Ancient Bay – Bay history
  • On the Diamondback Track – a look at the diamondback turtle
  • King Neptune’s Steed - seahorses
  • Root of it All – nutria and their destruction of Bay habitats
  • Oyster S.O.S. – the plight of the Bay’s Oysters
  • Invasive Beauties – mute swans and their effect on the Bay

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Teacher Tips: During the Interactive

Encourage students to use context clues in their text and use their mouse to access definitions for challenging words.

Students should not be surprised if they receive a list that looks different from a list someone else receives when they enter the interactive. Each user receives a unique randomized list.

There are 34 animals and plants to be found in this interactive. When the organism name is clicked on the To Do list a sentence of information will pop up. When the organism is found in the habitat and clicked a Fact Sheet will come up. The organisms found in BayQuest are:

Blue Crab
Canada Goose
Clam Worm
Cownose Ray
Diamondback Terrapin
Eastern Oyster
Grass Cerith
Great Blue Heron
Herring Gull
Horseshoe Crab
Mallard Duck
Oyster Drill
Red Beard Sponge
Ribbon Worm
Ruddy Turnstone
Sea Cucumber
Sea Nettle
Sea Roach
Sea Squirt
Soft Shell Clam
Striped Bass
Widgeon Grass
Wild Celery


The Answer Key gives a list of all the animals and plants that can be found at a particular location.

Students can use their cameras to take pictures of the creatures and plants on their list. These are stored on their PDAs. They can only take pictures of the five organisms on their list. If they attempt to take a picture of another creature, they will be given an alert message that directs them to save battery power.

Students can email the information they write on the PDAs. PLEASE NOTE that there is no identifying information on the email. Students should put their name or other identifier in at least one of the answers they email to you.

You can use these printables to help students as they work with this interactive:

  • To Do List provides a place for students to record the organisms on their To Do list along with information they gather about the organisms.
  • Detailed To Do List provides a place that students can record the organisms on their To Do list including information specifically to help answer the Follow Up Questions in the interactive.
  • Concept Map provides space for details about a specific plant or animal as students read the related Fact Sheet.
  • Habitat Organizer allows students to organize plants and animals according to the location where they found them.
  • Venn Diagram helps students group plants and animals according to the location they live: in the water, on the land, or in both.
  • Animals: Semantic Feature Map can help students compare and contrast different animals they find as they tour the Bay.

After each organism is found the student is asked a question in the PDA. The documents below can be used instead of answering the questions in the PDA. (Students can find the corresponding question in the document and answer it there. Using the "Save Answer" button will allow students to continue within the interactive, even without saving any text.)

  • Follow Up Questions is a document which contains the five questions that are asked as each of the five organisms on the To Do list are found.
  • Organizer for Follow Up Questions has the questions that are asked as the organisms are found with prompts to help some students who may struggle with the questions.
  • Challenge Follow Up Questions has the questions that are asked as the organisms are found with additional questions for students who need an additional challenge.

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Teacher Tips:  After Using the Interactive

Book . . . The Fact Sheets can be printed and assembled into a book that students can use as they work with Chesapeake Bay-related subjects.

More from Bayville . . . The interactive Meal Deal builds on the BayQuest activity, exploring food chains and how each creature is dependent on the others in the chain. This card game can help students learn more about predator/prey and consumer/producer relationships. The virtual lab and buoy data in the interactive BayLab asks students to use data to draw conclusions about where re-introducing organisms into the Bay will be most likely to succeed.

Create Your Own . . . Students can research other Bay plants and animals and create their own fact sheets.

Build Your Own . . . take it one step further and have students build their own habitat for BayQuest. A salt (or tidal) marsh is one of the habitats which is of importance to the Bay but does not appear in BayQuest. Have the students create a description of the habitat and decide which organisms to put there. What type of craft will they use to travel to the new habitat? Where in the Bay should the habitat be?

The Chesapeake Bay Program website and the website of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are great starting points for students to fill in the details of a habitat to make the activity more complete. If your students want data they can access the additional CBIBS buoys or try Chesapeake EcoCheck or Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Eyes on the Bay. Consider creating your own habitat for BayQuest based on your location.

Game . . . Students can create a game based on the Fact Sheets. In it, they can present the characteristics they note on the Fact Sheet and have opposing team members try to guess the animal to which they are referring.

Bay Boats . . . Students can study the place of the skipjack and other noted Chesapeake crafts such as the log canoe and the deadrise, seeing how each craft takes advantage of the conditions on the Bay and meets the needs of the watermen who use them. This site is a good source of information on Chesapeake Bay workboats.

Go Local. . . What kinds of plants and animals are found in your part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed? Contact a naturalist in your area to make suggestions as to creatures and plants native to your area. You might also ask him or her to make a presentation to your class.

Cross Curricular Connections …Contextualize the study of the Chesapeake Bay with the natural and cultural history of the region.

America in 1607: Jamestown and the Powhatan
Explore the historic Jamestown fort and the Powhatan village of Werowocomoco through this interactive feature.

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is part of the National Park Service effort that aims to connect people with the special places and stories of the Chesapeake, to help preserve those special places and stories, and to foster stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay. This website has many rich resources to help accomplish those aims.

Views of the National Parks: Chesapeake Bay offers this website as an introduction to this spectacular national treasure. Here, you can investigate the geologic events that created the Bay, see how the Bay shaped the human story in the area and how humans in turn affect the Bay's story, explore the ecology of the Bay and its shores and discover some of the many species that depend on the Chesapeake for survival.

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