Lesson Plans and Activities to Extend the
Bay Trippers Adventure

Lesson Plans for the Home or Classroom
- Great Green Gobs: An Experiment With Algae
- Can't See the Water for the Dirt: An Experiment With   Sediment
- My Bay: An Estuary Mural

GREAT GREEN GOBS: AN EXPERIMENT WITH ALGAE
Discussion
As illustrated in Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure, underwater Bay grasses, also called SAV, are an extremely important part of the Bay's ecosystem. Bay grasses help to keep the water healthy by absorbing nutrients and producing oxygen. They provide food and shelter for many species, including the Blue Crab.

The Bay has lost a large portion of its grass beds in recent years. One of the main causes for this decline has been a rise in run-off draining into the bay. Run-off is water that literally runs off the land, carrying soil, chemicals, and other debris with it. It fills the Bay with sediment and nutrients that lower the water quality. Water with high levels of nutrients produces algae. These microscopic plants grow so densely that they block sunlight from reaching underwater grasses. Without the light, the grasses cannot survive. In addition, as the algae dies and decomposes, it depletes the oxygen that plants and other organisms need to survive. Click here to see what this process looks like.

Purpose
Children will observe the growth of algae and witness its effects on plant life.

Time
10-minute set-up time on Day One Three 5-minute observations and three 20-minute activity/discussion periods at Day 7, Day 14, and Day 21.

Materials
2 clear glass jars
Paper
Crayons or markers
Pond water (collect from a lake, a pond, or an aquarium that needs cleaning)
Pond plant (optional-may be found at a pet store or lake)

PROCEDURE
Setup
Add the pond water to the jars. Place a plant in each jar. Place one jar near a window that receives direct sunlight. Place the second jar out of direct sunlight. Students can complete this part of the activity or assist you in doing this. If space permits, each student could set up two jars for their personal experiment.

Predictions
Students should predict what will happen to the water and the plant in three weeks. Direct them to write these predictions on a piece of paper with their name. Place the predictions in an envelope.

Day 1 Observation
Students should observe and draw a picture of the interior of each jar. They should include the date on their drawing.

Day 7 Observation
After seven days, students should carefully look at the jars again. They should create a new drawing of what the interior of the jars looks like at this point. They should then compare the two drawings they have made, and discuss the changes that have occurred.

Day 14 Observation
After 14 days, students should examine the jars again. Based on their observations, students should draw a third picture of the jars. After comparing the three drawings, students should discuss the changes that have occurred and some of the reasons for the change.

Day 21 Observation
After 21 days, the group should examine the jars again, and draw a final picture. The students should discuss the changes that have occurred to both the water and the plant inside the jar over the course of the past three weeks.

Conclusions
- What happened to the jar of pond water that was left in the
  sun?
- What happened to the jar of pond water that was put in less
  direct light?
- What happened to the plants in each jar?
Open the envelope and read the children's predictions. Together, compare them with the results of the experiment.

Material adapted from "Please Don't Feed the Bay," from Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum published by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education. For more information about Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, contact CBF's Curriculum Director at (800) 445-5572.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


CAN'T SEE THE WATER FOR THE DIRT: AN EXPERIMENT WITH SEDIMENT

Discussion
When people think of pollution, they often think of chemicals. In reality, one of the Bay's biggest pollution problems is dirt. Dirt is washed into the Bay during a process known as erosion.

Erosion occurs when rain or other moving water hits bare soil. The soil is loosened and is carried downhill into the closest body of water.

Purpose
In this activity children will construct a model of the Bay to study how sediment affects aquatic life.

Materials
2 clear jars of the same size filled with tap water
2 plastic aquarium plants
Dried beans
Macaroni or other shaped pasta noodles
1 small container filled with dirt

Setup
Using the first four it/ems in the material lists, students should construct two identical "bays" that they will use to observe the effects of sediment on aquatic life. The water represents the Chesapeake Bay. The beans and pasta shapes can represent some of the Bay's animals and plants. Students can make their choices, using reference materials such as MPT's video Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure, web, or print resources.

Predictions
Ask students to describe three ways they think dirt or sediment affects the plants and animals living in the Chesapeake Bay.

Observation #1
Students should draw a diagram of the two jars. On the diagram, students should label the beans and pasta with the names of the creatures they have selected to be part of their "bays."

Observation #2
Students can add a handful of dirt to one of the jars. They should then cap and shake the jar. After observing what has happened to the jar with dirt, students should list the differences they notice between the two "bays."

Questions
- Through which jar could sunlight pass most easily?
- To which organisms in your jar would sunlight be important   and why?

Reading
Wait five minutes for the dirt to settle.
While you wait, read the following paragraph on how sediment pollutes the water from the book Turning the Tide.

Sediment pollutes by smothering fish eggs, by tearing at fragile gills of just-born fish, and by covering gravel bottoms that are prime habitats for fish spawning and for aquatic insects. Further down river it may cover oyster beds. Sediment also clouds the water cutting off sunlight needed to grow the submerged grass that is critical habitat in streams and the Bay. (Horton & Eichbaum 1990)

Encourage students to describe two ways that they think the submerged grass mentioned in the paragraph is important to animals living in the Bay.

Observation #3
After the dirt has settled in the jar, students can observe the jars again, and make a diagram of what they see in each. You may want to direct them to work in small groups to compare their drawings and form conclusions about the experiment.

Conclusions
Groups can report to the class, discussing how sediment affects aquatic life in the Bay, based on what they have seen in their experiment.

Material adapted from "Sediment: Choking the Life of the Bay," from Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum published by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education. For more information about Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, contact CBF's Curriculum Director at (800) 445-5572.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


MY BAY: AN ESTUARY MURAL
This is a fun, art-based activity that lets children use their scientific thinking skills to reflect on and organize their knowledge of what makes for a healthy bay.

Purpose
In this activity, students will create a large wall mural of an estuary and illustrate the variety of life that thrives there and the factors that threaten it.

Materials
Roll of mural paper
Paint
Pencils
Construction paper

Setup
Ask the children to imagine that they are going to build an estuary in the classroom. Discuss what a healthy estuary would look like, as well as what would make an estuary sick.

Together, make a list of items the students would include under these two headings:
- A Healthy Bay
- An Unhealthy Bay

Items might include plentiful crabs, large algae blooms, good fishing, clean beaches, polluted water, and the like.

After the list is completed, write each item on separate sheet of paper and place the papers in two bowls representing the Healthy Bay and the Unhealthy Bay. Students can help you with this task.

Divide the class in half. One half of the class will work on the Healthy Bay section of the mural while the other will work on the Unhealthy Bay section.

Within each section, divide students into smaller groups of three or four students. Each group should select a item from those in the bowl.

Allow the groups time to review their item and decide how they want to represent the factor in their drawing.

Activity
1. Decide on a low-traffic area of the classroom and lay the
    mural paper out on the floor. This prevents drips.
2. Tape down the paper.
3. Using a pencil, mark off the boundaries of workspace for
    each group and label them. Each group should get an equal
    portion. (Dividing the paper can be used as a fraction
    lesson.)
4. Schedule the students to work in shifts to paint their
    portion of the mural.
5. Hang the mural.
6. Each group can talk about the ideas they wanted to
    capture in painting their section of the mural, and the ways
    in which they chose to depict them.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


THE CLEAN SCENE: BAY-FRIENDLY HOUSEKEEPING
Many products we use to keep our homes clean can be dangerous to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Household cleaners can be flushed down the drain. Sometimes they aren't completely removed from the water by treatment plants. Eventually, the chemicals they contain can end up in the Bay. When household chemicals end up in landfills, they can leak into the groundwater. Fertilizers that we use on our lawns can seep into groundwater or are swept into storm drains by rainwater. All of these chemicals can be very detrimental to the Bay's health.

The average American household uses about 18 pounds of hazardous waste each year. Luckily, there are harmless alternatives.

This activity gives children a chance to sort through products in their home, identify if they are hazardous, and consider safe alternatives.

Directions
1. Print out the survey (Adobe Acrobat file) page.
2. Review product labels and complete the survey by checking
    off the space next to the product if it contains a toxic
    substance.
3. Follow the recipes (Adobe Acrobat file) to make alternative     cleaning products.
    This should be done with adult supervision.
4. Clean!
5. Discuss the results.

Material adapted from "Think! What's Under the Sink?" from Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum published by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education. For more information about Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, contact CBF's Curriculum Director at (800) 445-5572.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


CAMPAIGN FOR PROPER HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS
WASTE DISPOSAL
You may have already learned that most homes contain products that are hazardous to our health and to the health of our environment. You've probably also learned that there are safe, non-toxic alternatives to many of these products. If so, you know a lot more than most people about toxics! You know, for example, that people should think carefully about the potential risks that are associated with the use of certain common household products. The key to making good choices about these products is education. If people are unaware of the risks, they won't be able to avoid them. That's where you come in!

Step One - Investigation
Find out if your county or town offers some means of hazardous waste disposal.

Step Two - Education
Once you have determined when and where hazardous waste is disposed spread the word to others. If you know that there is an upcoming pick-up day, make posters or flyers to announce it. Include information about what things will be accepted. Consider designating a "hazardous waste disposal week." Find out what is accepted at the facility and advertise like crazy to your community.

Step Three - Raise a Voice
If there are no disposal options available to members of your community, you can write letters to government officials, asking for a designated pick-up day each year. If you are uncertain as to whom you should address the letters, check the Local Government Handbook, published by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Step Four - Community Action
Work with local businesses that might be willing to sponsor a hazardous waste pick-up day by donating money for such an event. Cost is often what prevents cities and towns from providing for proper disposal of toxic products, so donations from private sources can make the difference.

Material adapted from "Campaign for Toxics Use Reduction?" from Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum published by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education... For more information about Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, contact CBF's Curriculum Director at (800) 445-5572.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


WATER CONSERVATION
Most of us use between 80-100 gallons of water each day through brushing our teeth, bathing, flushing the toilet, washing dished and clothes, and drinking water. Actually only about four of the gallons that we use each day are absolutely necessary. Many of our daily activities require water use MORE than is needed.

Saving water helps the Bay by:
- saving energy by not having to pump, treat, and heat
  excess water.
- Allowing wastewater treatment plants to work more   effectively and release less nitrogen into the Bay.

One way to help is to determine how much water you use at home or in school.
Activity One - SEE WHAT YOU SAVE!
Activity Two -
HOW MUCH DO YOU FLUSH?

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


SEE WHAT YOU SAVE!

Materials

Bucket
Watch with a second hand
gallon milk or orange juice container
One-quart plastic bottle
Sand or gravel

Step one - Measure
Measure the amount of water used by a faucet, shower, and toilet at your school or residences. You may want to divide into three groups, one to measure the water used by faucets, one for showers, and one for toilets.

Showers and Faucets: Using your bucket and a watch, design a way to measure the amount of water used per minute by a shower or faucet at your school or residence. For example place the bucket in the shower so the water flows into it, turn on the water (make sure it isn't hot) and time it for one minute. Turn the water off and measure the amount of water in the bucket.

Toilets
To measure the amount of water used by each flush of the toilet, first take off the lid of the toilet tank and mark the water level. Shut off the water leading to the toilet by turning a valve on the pipe that leads to the toilet tank. Flush the toilet to empty tank. If the tank begins to fill again, your water is not turned off properly. Once it is empty, add the water to the toilet tank in half-gallon increments using your empty milk container. Record each addition until the toilet tank is filled to the water line. This is the amount of water required by one flush.

Step Two - Compare
Complete the table below.

Appliance

Average Quantity Used in Gallons

Faucets

 

Shower

 

Toilet

 

Compare with average home water use.

Water Use

Average Quantity Used in Gallons

Faucets

3- 4 gal/minute

Shower

7 gallons/minute

Toilet

6-8 gallons/minute

Step Three - Action
Talk with your family about installing water saving devices.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


HOW MUCH DO YOU FLUSH?
Conserving water is one of the best ways to help save the Bay. Every time you flush the toilet, you use approximately five gallons of water! How much water does your family actually flush away?

* If you have a low-flush toilet (one that uses less that three gallons per flush), you may not want to try this experiment. You're already saving water!

Directions
1. Count each time the toilet is flushed to get a daily estimate
    of water used for this purpose in your home.
2. Keep a record of daily flushes for seven days to get a
    weekly total.
3. Multiply by 4 to get an approximate total of the water used
    each month.
4. Multiply the monthly total by 12 to get a yearly total of the
    amount of water your family uses.

MONEY IN THE TANK

Materials
gallon plastic container with top cut off
Small rocks/pebbles (handful)

Directions
1. Lift lid of toilet tank. Place plastic container weighted with
    rocks into water.
2. Allow container to fill with water.
3. Now count the daily number of flushes and multiply by 4
    gallons per flush (You save gallon of water each time you
    flush because you displaced that much water with the
    container).
4. Keep a record of daily flushes for a week. How much water
    did you save in a week?
5. Call your water company or check a bill and find out the
    cost of water per gallon.
6. Multiply that by the amount of water you saved.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


RE-VEGETATION
Vegetation acts to prevent erosion and the runoff of sediment into the Bay. Planting next to storm drains and along streambanks and drainage ditches is important, as these areas are the last sites to receive runoff before it reaches our waterways.

By planting, also called "re-vegetation" we can help to prevent erosion and save the Bay. Below are two re-vegetation activities you can do to prevent erosion and make your home or school more beautiful.

A Tree for You, a Tree for Me
Putting Down Roots

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


A TREE FOR YOU, A TREE FOR ME
Trees are powerful workers in the fight against erosion. They work best when planted along streambanks, near ditches, or near impervious surfaces where the trees can work directly to clean and control runoff to various waterways.

Trees should not be planted directly underneath buildings or below downspouts.

Materials
Tree catalog
Trowels, shovels, planting bars
Saplings and/ or seedlings
Tape measure or rope marked off at 10 - 20 foot intervals
Flagging tape to mark seedlings (available at hardware stores)
Buckets, hose, or watering can
Mulch
Garden twine
4-foot wooden stake
Hammer
Gloves

Instructions
1. Purchase both saplings (large trees) and seedlings (small trees)
     
from a local nursery. If you cannot afford to buy trees
    collect seeds from maple, oak, or other trees.
2. Keep your trees in a shaded area and water them daily until
    you are ready to plant them. Planting time is best in the
    fall. Avoid planting during the summer or winter.
3. Choose the spot you will plant your trees.
4. Mark your spot by placing the marked rope or tape measure
    on the ground. This will help you space your plants
    properly.
5. Dig a hole slightly deeper than the height of the root ball or
    container of the sapling.
6. Break up the soil at the bottom of the planting hole.
7. If the sapling has burlap around the roots, remove any
    cords, nails or wires. Leave the burlap. If the sapling was
    grown in a container, remove the container.
8. Place the sapling in the hole. Remove the burlap. Loosen
    the roots, and spread them out as much as possible
    without damaging them. Adjust the soil in the bottom of the
    hole, so that the sapling is straight. The sapling should be
    deep enough so the roots are not exposed, but the trunk is
    not buried.
9. Fill in the hole around the sapling. Compact the soil to
    remove air pockets.
10. Stake the tree. Hammer three stakes into the ground at      an even distance from each other around the hole. Run
     twine from each stake to the tree. Be sure all pieces are
     tight. Check in six months to be sure that the string is still
     in place. Remove stakes after two years.
11. During dry summers water the tree one to two times a
      week.

Material adapted from "Re-Vegetation," a service-learning project from Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum published by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education... For more information about Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, contact CBF's Curriculum Director at (800) 445-5572.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.


PUTTING DOWN ROOTS: GRASS PLANTING
Planting grass can help to prevent erosion by keeping soil on the land where it belongs!

Materials
Garden rakes
Buckets or plastic bags
Fescue grass seed (6 lbs. covers 1000 square feet)
Topsoil (15 lbs. soil to 5 lbs. grass seed)
Straw or grass clippings
Water

Directions for Planting
1. Using a garden rake, rough up the soil of the area or spot
    that you are going to plant.
2. In a large bucket or plastic bag, mix 3 handfuls of topsoil
    with one handful of grass seed.
3. Spread topsoil/grass seed mixture over the raked soil to
    create a thin layer covering existing soil.
4. To prevent erosion, evenly spread straw across exposed
    area so very little soil can be seen.
5. Water the area with a sprinkler or sprinkling can. Continue
    watering the area every other day for two weeks.

Material adapted from "Re-Vegetation," a service-learning project from Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum published by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education. For more information about Chesapeake Choices and Challenges, contact CBF's Curriculum Director at (800) 445-5572.

Chesapeake: A Bay Trippers Adventure is broadcast by MPT's K-12 Educational Video Service.
Click here to check the schedule.