Salt Marsh Food Web & Web of Life Art Collage
Overview: Students take on the role of plants, animals, and physical aspects of the salt marsh. They create a web demonstrating the interconnections of all parts of the marsh. They will create a web of life art collage.

Objectives: Students will be able to: 1) identify at least five different marsh plants and animals, 2) name at least two relationships between marsh plants and animals, 3) identify two of the endangered species found in the salt marsh and explain why they are endangered, 4)show how energy from the sun is absorbed by a producer (grass/seaweed), which is eaten by a primary consumer (snake/orange fish), which is eaten by a top predator (raccoon/shark)
WHOParent Volunteers
MATERIALS• Book - Over the Steamy Swamp by Paul Geraghty
• Ball of yarn to create web
• 20 salt marsh food web cards/necklaces
• 12x18 construction paper
• Pre-cut animals
• Glue
• Crayons
ACTIVITIESSalt Marsh Food Web
• Read Over the Steamy Swamp by Paul Geraghty and discuss
• Ask the students to form a circle. Hand out a food web card to each student. (Save the sun card for yourself). Say: “ Some of you will have the same plant or animal, these are at the bottom of the food web.”
• Ask: “Why do we have more of these in the food web? (Because the bottom of the food web needs to be larger to support the animals at the top.)
• Have the students read their cards aloud to the rest of the students. Let the students know that they need to listen and learn about each organism in order to build the food web. When they have finished, you can begin forming the food web by showing the students the sun card and reading the following:
• Read: “I am the sun. Everything on Earth depends on me. In my hands, I hold the web of life.”
• Show the students the ball of yarn.
• Read: “Because all life depends on energy from the sun, I am connected to all of you.”
• Ask: “Can the pickleweed tell how I am connected to it? (I am the sun and I’m connected to the pickleweed because I provide the energy the pickleweed needs to make its own food.)
• Wrap one end of the yarn around your hand and pass the ball of yarn to the student with the pickleweed card.
• Read: (to the student with the ball of yarn) “Tell us who or what you are and how you are related to some other plant, animal, or physical feature represented by another card. For example, “I am pickleweed and I am eaten by the salt marsh harvest mouse.””
• Now have the student with the yarn pass it to the person with the card which they related to their own card. Using the sample above, the student with the pickleweed card would throw the yarn to the student with the salt marsh harvest mouse card.
Please note: Relationships can be direct or indirect. For instance, the northern harrier is a predator which eats the salt marsh harvest mouse, but it also depends on air and water.
• When all the players are connected by a yarn web, have a discussion about endangered species.
• Ask: “What does it mean when a species is listed as endangered?” (Plants and animals are considered endangered when there is so few of a particular species left that it runs the risk of becoming extinct.)
“Which of the animals in the web are endangered?” (the California clapper rail & the salt marsh harvest mouse.)
“Why do you think these animals are endangered?” (Both of these animals rely on the salt marsh for their food and shelter. Over the past 200 years 85% of the salt marshes in San Francisco Bay have been lost. Inshort, these animals are endangered due to loss of habitat.)
“What do you think we can do to help the California clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse?” (Recycle - helps reduce the need for landfills built on salt marshes; participate in coast clean-ups; write letters to legislatures about why wetlands are important; keep pollutants out of storm drains.)
• Choose either the California clapper rail or the salt marsh harvest mouse to be removed from the web due to extinction. The selected player should sit down and pull on his/her yarn. Other students should sit down and tug when they feel the pull. Soon the entire circle will be sitting on the ground.
• Read: “ Everyone in the web is affected by the loss of one species.”

Web of Life Art Collage
• Have students talk about some “critter” animals that live in the wetlands; raccoon, snake, crayfish, frog, grasshopper, grass/seaweed
• Explain they are going to create a collage with these animals related to the food chain/food web.
• Glue the pre-cut animals on construction paper, starting with the largest animal, then the animal, that it eats, etc.
• Add eye and details to the “critters”
• Have students explain to their classmates the relationship between the animals.
Differentiation: how will you provide support for different learning abilities? For a complete list click here
Directions given in multiple ways (visual, auditory)
Give a list of information instead of relying on memory or note taking
Provide a summary of information or story
List of vocabulary words given
Use visuals/diagrams liberally
Use graphic organizers
Other: _________________________________________
Number and sequence steps and directions
Allow movement space
Give think time before asking for responses to a question
Check in for understanding of directions
Clear indication of expectations for behavior or work both written and given orally
Break tasks into chunks
Buddy system
NGSS Alignment
Full, more detailed outline of standards & progressions → NGSS Progressions
Earth Science
ESS1.A The universe and its stars
ESS1.B Earth and the solar system
ESS1.C The history of planet Earth
ESS2.A Earth materials and systems
ESS2.B Plate tectonics and large-scale system interactions
ESS2.C The roles of water in Earth’s surface processes
ESS2.D Weather and climate
ESS2.E Biogeology
ESS3.A Natural resources
ESS3.B Natural hazards
ESS3.C Human impacts on Earth systems
ESS3.D Global climate change
Life Science
LS1.A Structure and function
LS1.B Growth and development of organisms
LS1.C Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms
LS1.D- Information Processing
LS2.A-Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
LS2.B - Cycles of matter & Energy transfer in Ecosystems
LS2.C - Ecosystem dynamics, functioning & resilience
LS2.D Social interactions and group behavior
LS3.A-Inheritance of Traits
LS3.B - Variation of Traits
LS4.A - Evidence of common ancestry
LS4.B - Natural Selection
LS4.C Adaptation
LS4.D Biodiversity and humans
Physical Science
PS1.A Structure of matter (includes PS1.C Nuclear processes)
PS1.B Chemical reactions
PS2.A Forces and motion
PS2.B Types of interactions
PS3.A Definitions of energy
PS3.B Conservation of energy and energy transfer
PS3.C Relationship between energy and forces
PS4.A Wave properties
PS4.B Electromagnetic radiation
PS4.C Information technologies and instrumentation