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Rocky Beaches
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Here's a unit final developed by Karen Mattick at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center:

Rocky Beaches Unit Final:
Creation of Piling Exhibit

Your mission is to create an exhibit of a piling or a rocky beach to be used in the Marine Science Center exhibit hall or in elementary schools.

  • Create the piling or a beach scene...

  • Make life size, anatomically accurate models of the animals you'd find living there and...

  • Mark tide heights on your piling and put the animals in the right zones on your exhibit.

  • Create signs to explain the exhibit and its animal models to visitors.


How to get a C (complete)
  • Make a piling or a rocky beach model.

  • Label the tide heights up one side of the piling.

  • Create life size models of the following animals that are well enough made to be recognizable and that don't include any glaring errors (such as black urchins or chitons with antennas or crabs with tube feet or...)

Animal
How many to make
barnacles
many - at least 2 dozen
mussels
many - at least 8 clumps, each with at least 3 mussels
limpets
several - 4 or so
chitons
few - a couple
snails
several - at least 4
sea stars
few - a couple
sea urchins
few - a couple
white cucumbers
few - one or two
scallops
few - a couple
sea anemones
several - 6 or so

Use your notes to figure out where these animals should go on your piling. Attach them at the right tide levels.

Create interpretive signs and attach them to your piling. For each type of animal, attach a sign with the animal's name and clearly written information about one of the following:

  1. how and what it eats... or

  2. how it moves or attaches... or

  3. how long it is exposed at low tide and how it protects itself then... or

  4. how it reproduces.


How to get a B (better)
  • Mark the tide levels on your piling in stenciled, computer-made or otherwise really nice numbers.

  • Add to your animal models anatomical details. For example, figure out how to give your mussels byssal threads and your sea stars tube feet.

  • Add extra animals such as tube worms or sponge or nudibranchs.

  • On your interpretive signs, write about two things the animals do to stay alive instead of one.


How to get an A (a lot of added effort)
  • Do all the above, but really prove you learned a lot about rocky shore animals. Put lots of details into your animal models and write interpretive signs that show what you learned.

  • Do some of the work at home. Write signs at home, type them on computer at home, find materials at home that would make better animal models. Come after school to work if needed.

Each student will receive a group grade based on the quality of the piling AND an individual grade based on how hard the student worked during the project.


Sample "C" interpretive sign:

Sea Anemone

The sea anemone eats plankton or small fish and shrimp by harpooning its prey with its stinging tentacles and then swallowing the stunned animal whole.


Sample "B" interpretive sign:

Sea Anemone

The sea anemone attaches to rocks and pilings and other hard surfaces with a strong disk. The anemone can crawl very slowly on this disk, but mostly waits for its food to come to it.

The sea anemone eats plankton or small fish and shrimp by harpooning its prey with its stinging tentacles and then swallowing the stunned animal whole.


Sample "A" interpretive sign:

Sea Anemone

The sea anemone attaches to rocks and pilings with its strong disk. It appears to be defenseless since it doesn't have a shell, and, indeed, they can't be out of the water for very long. Most kinds of anemones prefer to live low enough on rocks and pilings so that they are exposed at low tide only on some days and then for only an hour or two.

The sea anemone has a ring of tentacles around its mouth. It eats plankton or small fish and shrimp by harpooning its prey with its stinging tentacles and then swallowing the stunned animal whole.

Those same stingers come in handy when nearby anemones begin to crowd too close. Many sea anemones reproduce by cloning, literally splitting in two. They can recognize intruders not from their own clone and attack them with stinging cells. Usually the anemones retreat, leaving an uninhabited border between them.


Piling Checklist
For a C:
  • piling or beach created
  • tide heights marked
  • 2 dozen barnacles
  • 8 clumps of mussels
  • 4 limpets
  • 2 chitons
  • 4 snails
  • 2 sea stars
  • 2 urchins
  • white sea cucumber
  • 2 scallops
  • 6 sea anemones
  • animals atached at right levels
  • interpretive note for each animal explaining one adaptation per animal

For a B:
  • extra animals
  • add details on animals
  • well made exhibit and tide markings
  • interpretive notes tell 2 adaptations for each animal

For an A:
  • extra animals
  • anatomical details
  • well made exhibit and tide markings
  • interpretive notes tell 3 adaptaions about each animal


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