All students in grades 3-8 are invited to participate in a live Google Hangout on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 from 12:00-12:40 p.m with The Nature Conservatory. This virtual field trip allows kids to explore the diverse ecosystem of Palau’s Coral Reefs and the symbiotic relationships between its many organisms, plus what endangers the reefs and how people can help protect them.
A virtual field trip gives students a way to participate in experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be able to due to restrictions like travel, cost, and safety. You can see how they work below.
Last month’s virtual field trip from The Nature Conservancy was called Wild Biomes: Take a Virtual Field Trip from America’s Rainforests to America’s Deserts:
In March, students took a virtual field trip to the deserts and grasslands of Africa:
For the May 19th adventure, students will learn about one of the seven underwater wonders of the world located in a remote network on islands in the Pacific. Their virtual field trip guide is Stephanie Wear, marine biologist and Director of Coral Reef Conservation for The Nature Conservancy (you can meet Stephanie in this video.)
Stephanie will guide students to see firsthand why the reefs are called “the medicine chests of the sea,” and how the reefs provide ingredients that are leading to new lifesaving medications. Students will see sharks snatch up smaller prey; decorator crabs apply bits of shell, algae, and sponge to their own backs for camouflage; and massive 2,000-pound sea cows graze. The reef is an amazing, interconnected ecosystem built on symbiosis which students will be able to witness up close.
The main idea that students should grasp from this virtual field trip is that in the Coral Reefs, everything is interconnected—and this includes people. They’ll learn key concepts and terms such as symbiosis, mutualism, coral reefs, Palau, complex communities, biological interactions, predation, competition, food webs, protection, and conservation.All content of this virtual field trip is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the National Geography Standards.
You can help build prior knowledge before the virtual field trip and extend student learning afterward using The Need is Mutual Lesson Plan. You might also want to reference the NOAA – Coral Ecosystems Education Collection and NOAA – Ocean Acidification Education Collection, as well as this article on ways to help coral reefs: Coral Reefs of The Tropics: You Can Make a Difference.
Want to participate? Sign your class up here!
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored through a partnership with WeAreTeachers and NatureWorksEverywhere.org.
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