NOAA offers teachers new virtual estuaries science curriculum for middle school students

May 30, 2012

NOAA offers new estuaries 101 curriculum for middle school students.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

Estuaries 101, the newest multi-media, online science curriculum for middle school students developed for teachers by NOAA, offers students a virtual field trip to one of 28 estuaries around the country.

The Estuaries 101 curriculum, now available online, provides new interactive learning tools that teach fundamental concepts in science and develop scientific thinking skills while helping students discover and explore the nation's biologically rich estuaries.

Available free online through NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Estuary Education website, the curriculum offers videos, access to user friendly real-time water quality and weather data, teacher activity downloads, and interactive maps to help students better visualize the inner workings of an estuary. The curriculum also meets National Science Education Standards for grades 5-8 and can be readily aligned to meet all state standards.

“What is special about this new curriculum is that it uses our nation’s estuaries as an interactive classroom. Students can explore and discover the estuary while learning how to analyze data and apply this knowledge to their lives,” said Atziri Ibanez, the system’s national education coordinator.

NOAA offers new estuaries 101 curriculum for middle school students.

NOAA offers new estuaries 101 curriculum for middle school students.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

The curriculum is divided into six units based on six estuary literacy principles — earth science, physical science, life science, the need for research and monitoring, human interaction, and stewardship. Some of the fifteen activities in the curriculum focus on topics such as sharks in the estuary, oil spills, mangroves, and oysters. A number of activities also help students understand how climate change is affecting estuaries.

NERRS is a network of 28 areas representing different biogeographic regions of the United States that are protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education and coastal stewardship. Established by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, the reserve system is a partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states and is part of the NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.