• Saltwater marshes are transitional areas where the ocean and land meet. Saltwater marshes are home to an abundant amount of plant and animal life. Teaching third-graders about saltwater marshes takes a combination of educational and entertainment value that will keep your students' attention and get them excited about learning.


    The goal of this activity is to teach your class what a saltwater marsh is by having a discussion and watching an educational video on saltwater marshes. Before you watch the video with your class, ask them some leading questions such as "What is an environment" and "What do you think wetlands are?" to get them talking about the subject matter. Have the class watch an educational video on saltwater marshes. After the video, ask them to each tell you one new thing they learned, but try not to let them repeat answers. You can also consider making an activity guide with questions for them to answer or keywords to identify while watching the video.


    The goal of this activity is to teach your class about the watershed process in a saltwater marsh. Pick a saltwater marsh near your area. For this example, we will use the Chesapeake Bay area. Show your class a map of the Chesapeake Bay area and tell them that the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. Explain that an estuary is where the salt and freshwater mix and that many estuaries are home to saltwater marshes, or swampy areas teeming with life. You can make the watershed model in front of your class or let the class forms groups and make the model on their own. Have them put wadded-up newspaper balls at the end of a baking tray to represent mountains. Cover the tray with aluminum foil and then push down on the foil to shape it over the newspaper balls to create a valley area under the mountains. Manipulate the foil into the shape of the bay at the opposite end of the tray. Sprinkle red powdered drink mix on the mountains and along the valley to represent vital nutrients in the soil, Place a sponge just before the bay to represent to marsh. Finally, pour water on the mountains to make it "rain." Ask the students where the nutrients settle (the marsh) and then explain that these nutrients foster the growth of plant life. The plants hold the soil in place and slow the flow of water to the bay, which makes the area attractive to animal life.


    BTNEP Estuary Resources

    Baltimore Curriculum Project


    Video Activity Guide

  • 4-26-2017 Show them one. If you are not within walking distance of a live marsh, the little lumps will not know what you are talking about. I say "little lumps" because that is the attitude of most educators toward their charges: they merely drag them through the program with no attention to whether they need to learn any such thing. IMO third graders should be climbing trees and learning social customs. They are nowhere near the age when they can grasp any significance of a salt water marsh.

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