|Class Time Required:||
5-6 Class Periods
60 minutes to read background information and make copies; more time to gather materials to build the models.
|Prior Student Knowledge:||
Knowledge about marine conditions and shelter from predators as an important component of habitat
design, mimic, structure, function, durability, stability, compatibility, toxins, toxic, complexity, shelter, camouflage
Alaska Science GLEs Addressed:
Other Alaska Standards Addressed:
In this investigation, students will explore if and how people can construct habitat for marine life. Specifically, students will learn about artificial reefs and evaluate the pros and cons of adding an artificial reef to the marine environment. Students will work in small groups to construct their own model artificial reefs for promoting fish populations and present the reasoning for their design to the class. If possible, they will conduct an experiment in a fresh water or salt water classroom aquarium with shelter-seeking fish*.
*Ideally this activity has students constructing model artificial reefs that will be placed into a classroom aquarium with shelter-seeking fish so that students can evaluate the models’ effectiveness in providing habitat. However, teachers that do not have access to aquaria and fish may have their students make model reefs to put on display in the classroom and can be evaluated hypothetically.
Can people construct artificial reefs that provide habitat for marine life?
Engagement (60 minutes):
Have the students imagine what happens to a ship when it sinks to the bottom of the ocean. As a class, describe what the process will be over time on and around the boat. Ask the students "Can this sunken ship or other human-made objects provide good habitats for marine animals?" Give the students time to think about the question, and spend about five minutes discussing their initial ideas.
Show several images of interesting artificial reefs including airplane, subway cars, tires, and underwater sculpture garden:
[Need references for images here]
Introduce and define the concept of artificial reefs. Have students make a "pros and cons" chart of artificial reefs in their science notebooks. Discuss their answers as a whole.
Exploration: (1-2 class periods)
Have the students research different kinds of artificial reefs.
- Reef Ball structures http://www.reefball.org
- Fish Haven structures http://www.artificialreef.com
- Google Images "artificial reef"
Make sure the students pay special attention to if or how different types of structures foster different types of animals and plants.
Have the students brainstorm guidelines or a rubric for what would make a good artificial reef. Guide the discussion by weaving in information and suggestions from the teacher background on the design process for a structure that mimics both the structure and function of natural habitats. Have the students take in to consideration materials, location, and currents. You can either give the students a copy of the table from the teacher background information that is a review of materials used to create artificial reefs in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico or have the students create their own matrix to predict how well the specific materials would meet the criteria they select.
After research is completed, give students instructions for creating their own three -dimensional artificial reef models. Divide the class into six groups. With the reef structure components and student designed rubric in mind, have each student do a drawing of a design for a model artificial reef. Students should take into consideration the type of materials that they should use, ensuring that would be inexpensive, accessible, durable, non-toxic and all around compatible with existing environment. Again make sure to weave in information from the teacher background on the design process for a structure that mimics both the structure and function of natural habitats. Have the student use scale drawing techniques in their science notebooks.
After each student has a design, they will present their design the other students in the group. Collect materials for students to construct models reefs and encourage students to bring in materials from home.
If you have access to an aquarium with solitary, non-schooling fish who will seek shelter, the students can place the reefs they design into the aquarium. Since space is likely to be limited, each group should choose only one design for the entire group to construct as a scale model. The entire class can choose three of the six models to place in the aquarium or you can set up a scientific review board (local scientists, parents, resource managers, etc.) that will make a decision based on student presentations. The selections will be based on a discussion of the criteria.
You may want to consider having the students construct the scale models out of clay that could be fired to make it withstand the aquarium environment. Have them think carefully about where in the aquarium they will place their models and if or why it would matter how the reef models are placed in relation to each other and the existing environment of the aquarium. Over the course of several weeks have the students set up a regular time to observe fish use of the artificial reef models.
Explanation: (1 class period)
Have groups present their design to the rest of the class. Make sure students explain why they choose their specific model materials and how their design elements mimic both structure and function of natural rocky reef habitats.
Have the students research the existing artificial reef designs Reef Balls (website reference needed) and Fish Havens website reference needed), and have the students compare, in their science notebooks, their models to these existing designs. Taking into consideration the other students presentation on design, observations of most frequent fish use of the class models and the research of current artificial reef design allow the students time to modify their design.
Students will demonstrate their understanding of the requirements for an artificial reef by constructing a model reef. The model will be evaluated based on criteria that were established by the class. Science notebooks will be used to document the process of designing and developing the model. Oral presentations will be evaluated by the class.
Teachers may use the sample scoring rubrics to develop the assessment tool for this activity based on the criteria established by the class.
- Research and read background materials on artificial reefs (technology design process, technology review table); make copies
- Make copies of photographs or assemble PowerPoint slides of interesting artificial reef structures
- Allow plenty of time for collecting interesting materials for artificial reef models
- (Optional) Allow plenty of time to collect and assemble aquarium materials
Student Hand-outs: Copies of Teacher Background information, Rocky Reef Creature Cards: 5 Rockfish, 5 other fish, 5 invertebrates, 5 algae, 5 larval fish/inverts, 5 mammals/birds. (Cards are in progress), student science notebooks
Materials: Photographs or PowerPoint slides of interesting artificial reef structures
Facility/Equipment Requirements: Internet access on LCD projector OR student computers and overhead projector, (Optional: aquarium (salt or freshwater) and maintenance equipment)
|Essential Question:||In what ways do artificial reefs affect marine life?|
|Enduring Understanding:||Natural habitats are complex and it is challenging to reconstruct them.|