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Bathymetric Mapping and Underwater Ecosystem Health

Bathymetric Mapping and Underwater Ecosystems

Unit Instructional Plan

Grades/Content Area

Fourth, Fifth and Middle School Science

Content areas Integrated

Literacy, Math

Length of Unit

Unit length will vary by classroom, but set aside at least seven weeks for this unit.

Also, please note that during week 5 of the unit students will need to take a field trip with a fishing pole and castable sonar unit to a nearby underwater ecosystem (ocean/estuary, bay, lake, or river).

Unit Overview

Unit Title

Bathymetric Mapping and Underwater Ecosystem Health

Unit Description

In this unit, students will connect the use of the Castable Sonar/GPS Unit to several areas of science including mapping, Life Sciences, and Earth Science, and conservation.

This unit will help students connect real world technology tools to the things learned in the classroom and broaden their ideas about underwater ecosystem health, the relationship to technology, and how they can make a difference.

Enduring Understandings

What we want students to understand and be able to use several years from now

Students will understand that/be able to:

  • Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features
  • Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment
  • Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere interact
  • Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.

Essential Questions

Aim to stimulate thought, to provoke inquiry, and to spark more questions

  • How does the environment of the water affect the sea life that lives there?
  • What can we learn about underwater health and how to improve our underwater ecosystems from bathymetric mapping?

Next Generation Science Standards

Primary StandardsPrimary Standards will be directly assessed in the summative performance assessment

National Science Teachers Association Standards

W.5.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.

Academic Skills

​The prior knowledge and academic skills students must have in order to meet the standard(s)

  • Measurement information
  • Using the metric system
  • Reading for key details in an informational text
  • The Scientific Design Process
  • Use of Thinking Maps
  • Inferencing and gathering information from a variety of sources
  • Coming to a conclusion based on evidence
  • Diagnostic: To determine prior knowledge
    • Class discussion (K-W-L chart)
  • Formative: To check for understanding throughout the unit in order to ensure each student gets the instruction needed to be successful
    • Science notebook handouts
    • Model representations and explanations
    • Discussion questions
  • Summative: The summary of students’ achievement in relation to learning standards
    • Lab reflections
    • Model of bathymetric map from students field work experience
    • Development of a project that maps the underwater environment and ecosystem of area mapped with castable sonar/GPS unit
ESL/Bilingual Support

Please indicate WIDA Standards, adaptive materials and describe accommodations to be used during instruction

  • Picture vocabulary cards (Appendix 10)
  • Language translation when necessary
Support for students with special education needs

Please indicate accommodations and/or modifications to be used during instruction

Will vary by classroom

Differentiated Instructional Strategies

Please indicate instructional strategies and a variety of differentiated resources that address the wide range of knowledge, ability levels, interests, and learning styles students bring to the classroom

Variety of learning styles incorporated

Text and Resources

The collection of short and extended texts and/or supplemental resources aligned to the standards and content

  • Short informational videos linked in lessons
  • Class Zone Four Spheres website from www.classzone.com
  • Castable sonar/GPS unit and user manual
  • Materials posted in each lesson plan
Additional ​Requirements
  • This unit requires the use of a castable sonar/GPS unit. Please obtain the item for classroom use.
  • Prepare for a field trip to a natural body of water (oceanfront, estuary, lake or river) during Week 5 of the unit.

Unit Learning Activities

Phase 1: Introduce and Engage

During Phase 1 of the unit, introduce the objective and desired outcome of the unit. Engage students in understanding the importance of the underwater ecosystem to both understand the importance to humans and our environment.

Phase 2: Explore

At the beginning of the Explore phase, introduce students to the idea of an underwater ecosystem. Have them explore the local underwater ecosystem of your area.

Then introduce students to the importance of the underwater ecosystem and how it affects the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere around it.

Lastly, let students know they will be mapping their local underwater ecosystem using the castable sonar/GPS unit to get a better understanding of the area and what sort of wildlife lives there. Push them to think about why there may be more or less wildlife in a specific area.

Phase 3: Explain

During Phase 3 students should analyze and interpret their data from the castable sonar/GPS unit to determine key facts about the underwater ecosystem in their area. They will embark on research and use this research to come to conclusions about the types of wildlife found and amount. They will graph information from the castable sonar/GPS unit at this time and work on developing a working map of their underwater ecosystem.

Then students will use their data from the castable sonar/GPS unit and research information to develop a model of the interconnectedness of the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere in their area.

Phase 4: Elaborate

During Phase 4 students will research sustainable fisheries and wildlife areas to determine how to best tailor use of their local underwater ecosystem.

Phase 5: Evaluate

In Phase 5, students will develop a map and a model of their underwater ecosystem with information gathered from the castable sonar/GPS unit and present information on necessary modifications that should be made to the use of the area to either maintain or create a sustainable environment.