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Estuaries 101 Curriculum Middle School Estuaries 101 Curriculum

Discover what estuaries are, how humans impact them, and how your students can become stewards of these ecosystems. These 15 middle school curriculum activities were designed by the education coordinators of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS).

Teachers: Get started by downloading the Curriculum Overview

Click the headings to begin exploring.

How are estuaries interconnected with the world ocean and with major systems?

Activity 1: Where Rivers Meet the Sea

Weeks Bay NERR, Alabama

Weeks Bay NERR, Alabama

Diverse Ecosystems

How are different estuary ecosystems similar and different from each other?

Activity 2: Seasonal Swings

Activity 3: Water Going Up, Water Going Down

Abundance of Life

What are some of the diverse species that live in different estuary habitats?

Activity 4: Estuary Food Pyramid

Activity 5: Planet Plankton

Activity 6: An Ode to the Oyster

Activity 7: Hooray for Horseshoe Crabs

Activity 8: Sharks in the Estuary

Activity 9: Bountiful Birds

Research & monitoring

How is ongoing research and monitoring increasing our understanding of estuaries?

Activity 10: The Jubilee Phenomenon

Activity 11: The Great Oyster Mystery

Activity 12: Migrating Mangroves and Marshes

Natural resources

How do people use resources from estuaries?

Activity 13: Port to Port

Human impact

What impacts do humans have on estuary environments?

Activity 14: Oil Spill - The Rest of the Story

Activity 15: Score One for the Estuaries

Climate Extensions

Climate change is one of the most pressing issue facing estuaries. Activity extensions help understand why and how climate change is impacting estuaries.

Climate Extensions


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