Animals of the Coastal Zone
Educator’s Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary – Activities (BTNEP)
The BTNEP Educator’s Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is a comprehensive, downloadable source of information and activities for formal and nonformal educators. Grades K-12.
- A Song on the Bayou (Activity 4-1) - Focuses on a song about Cocodrie (alligators), by a Cajun music artist, Papillon. Students compare a nutria to an alligator and discuss how these animals function and survive in their habitat. Grades 3-4.
- The Story of a Blue Crab (Activity 2-1) - Focuses on the life cycle of the blue crab. Students discuss each stage of the life cycle and how the habitat plays a role in this process. Grade 2.
- Understanding Animal Adaptations (Activity 2-2) - Emphasizes the ways in which humans and beavers have developed body structures that adapt to their habitats. Students dress up a volunteer using props. Grade 1.
- Louisiana Meal (Activity 2-3) - Focuses on common foods in Louisiana. Students choose a native animal or plant and create a meal using the USDA Food Pyramid as a guide.
- Wetlands Loss = Fisheries Loss (Activity 2-6) - Explores the land-water interface relationship. Students simulate the marsh breakup and create their own productivity curve. Grades 5-8.
Education on the Halfshell: Oysters and Biology – Activities (LASGCP)
- Understanding a Dichotomous Key - Students learn to use a dichotomous key by identifying various sea shells.
- Creating a Dichotomous Key - Students explore the benefits of creating dichotomous keys as a
means of identifying an organism or object.
- Writing a Descriptive Essay - Students learn how to write a descriptive essay as a means of
identifying an organism or object.
- Oyster Culture Cycle - Students understand the fragile balance of providing food for our growing
population and learn how the oyster hatchery can help with this balance.
SeaScope (Scope-On-A-Rope) – Activities (LASGCP)
SeaScope activity folios are written by teachers for teachers. They use the video microscope nicknamed "Scope-On-A-Rope" (SOAR) in science lessons on aquatic organisms.
- Looking for Ol' Crusty - Students create a slide show using technology, gather data, write stories and poems, and choreograph an original dance to depict the crawfish.
- Trailing the Snail Addendum: When Ordering Snails for the Classroom - Snail behavior and
characteristics are observed.
- Secrets of Sand - Students are introduced to the physical properties of sand.
- Mosquitoes: Their Place on the Planet - Stages of mosquito metamorphosis are observed and recorded.
- Squidology - Students learn how squid have evolved for survival in the sea by observing, measuring, making hypotheses, and recording data.
"Scope-On-A-Rope" (SOAR) units can be borrowed at no cost to Louisiana teachers. Visit the SOAR
website, http://www.scopeonarope.lsu.edu for details.
Plants and Animals of the Louisiana Wetlands
This site offers several links that provide lists, location, habitats, size, life span, pictures, etc. of a multitude of wetland plant and animal species. Links include information on:
- Food Chains / Webs
- Hydrophytic Plants
- Habitats and Diets
- American Alligator
Wetlands Animals – Quiz (CWPPRA/USGS)
Clues are given about an animal that can be found in the wetland area.
Louisiana State Plants – Lists (DOT)
A comprehensive list of all the plants found in Louisiana with their scientific names.
Bird Identification – Quiz (CWPPRA/USGS)
Identify common birds of Louisiana. A multiple choice format using pictures.
Wings over the Wetlands – Video (BTNEP)
Examines the importance of South Louisiana's wetland habitats to the many birds that either call this region home or who depend on it as they pass through during migration. Runtime: 27 minutes. Worksheet online. Order from BTNEP: http://btnep.org. Grades 5-12. Free upon request.
EstuaryLive! – Activities (BTNEP)
Investigates the rich bounty of organisms in the Barataria-Terrebonne ecosystem, the delicate balance between the natural environment and human impacts, and the estuary’s importance to the
- Consider the Crab – A graph is analyzed to discover important facts about the blue crab
- Birds: Beautiful Migrants – Maps and text explain the importance of the estuary to seasonal
- Coast Birds PowerPoint Presentation – Images of estuary migrant birds.
- Brown Pelican – A Recovery Success Story – A graph and thought questions about
Louisiana’s state bird.
- Fiddler Crabs of the Joyner Nature Preserve at Pelotes Island – Describes the life habits of
the Fiddler crab and shows a video of how the animal moves.
Haunted Waters – Video Clips (BTNEP)
An award winning documentary on the cultural, geologic, and environmental history of the Barataria- Terrebonne National Estuary System. These clips describe the history of hunting in the bayou and the importance of careful management of these natural resources.
- Hunting (Clip 10)
- Muskrats (Clip 11)
- Harvesting Alligators (Clip 14)
- Life from the Water (Clip 15)
Vanishing Wetlands, Vanishing Future – Video Clip (BTNEP)
This video on BTNEP’s seven priority problems is in the style of Bill Nye the Science Guy and is best suited for middle school, though the vocabulary is applicable to high school topics.
- Oyster Industry (Clip 7) - Discusses commercial impact of oyster industry to the Barataria-Terrebone region.
Rescuing the Treasure – Video Clip (BTNEP)
A sequel to “Haunted Waters, Fragile Lands,” this video describes the importance of estuaries and restoration techniques.
- Wildlife (Clip 3) – The lives of the estuary residents are intimately tied to the creatures that live there.
Counting FishStix – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
Students learn how scientists estimate the population size of different fish groups by collecting and analyzing data from surveys they conduct in the classroom.
Spirit of the Estuary: Using Art to Understand Ecology – Curriculum (BTNEP)
Addresses wetland environmental issues through the integration of fine art, language art, science, and social studies. Grades 6-12.
- Be Instrumental (Activity1-9 ) - Students learn about the natural products of wetlands that humans used to create instruments; create their own instruments from the wetlands; create their
own chant to tell the story and importance of wetlands.
- Birds of Paradise: Protect My Home (Activity 1-10) - Students list threatened/ endangered
birds; examine and describe the role of humans in threatening, endangering and protecting the
birds; and create a postcard urging people to protect the birds of the Barataria-Terrebonne
- A Handful of Estuary Critters (Activity 2-1) - Students list a minimum of 10 critters of the
Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary; select one critter and research, observe and describe it; paint as
realistically as possible one critter on their partners’ hand using craft paint or tempera paint; and
photograph and display their work.
- Natural Notes (Activity 2-2) - Students understand the importance of sound in the natural world and wetlands in particular; mimic the sound made by their chosen animal; and understand its
- This is Driving Me Buggy ... So Let's Wrap it Up! (Activity 2-3) - Students research common
insects of the BTNE; sketch outlines of insects or find patterns of insect shapes; make potato
prints or Styrofoam stamps; and design and print wrapping paper with an insect pattern.
ACES – Curriculum (NOAA)
An expansion of “Signals of Spring,” an award-winning, classroom-based curriculum program in its 10th year, where in addition to learning formal science concepts, students use Earth imagery to
explain the movement of animals that are tracked by satellites. The ACES curriculum also introduces
environmental issues the animals face, and the environments of the NOAA National Marine
Sanctuaries. Students learn science within the context of the ocean, with high-quality curriculumbased
activities, as they use NOAA remote sensing data to develop authentic inquiry skills. Must
register for full access.
How to Hide in the Ocean – Lesson Plan (SEA)
Observe and discuss the advantages of camouflage, then try designing a well-camouflaged fish. Grades K-8.
Sinking Races – Lesson Plan (SEA)
Build plankton models and compete to see which sinks most slowly. Grades 2-8.
Wetland Inhabitant Word Search – Activity (EPA)
Search for the types of animals found in wetlands.
Fisheries – Activities (NOAA)
Explains what fisheries management is, why fisheries management is important, and how fish
populations are managed.
Fisheries Learning on the Web – Activities (NOAA)
Comprehensive curriculum about the Great Lakes ecosystem. Each lesson is aligned with national
and state curriculum standards for science and social studies and features a hands-on classroom
activity. FLOW was selected “Teachers' Top Web Picks” (BRIDGE Web site) for Sea Grant Ocean
Science Center Education. Grades 4-8.
Weather Information – Booklet (NOAA)
Provides students research and investigation experiences using on-line resources on El Niño,
hurricanes, and weather.
Turtle Trouble – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
Understand the job of aquatic scientists and the roles they play in influencing public policy.
Participation in a mock community environmental forum teaches the importance of community
involvement and working within the law to have a positive impact for the community and for wildlife.
Marine Activities, Resources & Education – Activity
Drawing of several coastal plants and wetlands provides examples of coexistence between plants
and animals of the wetlands.
Climate Change, Wildlife and Wetlands – Activity (EPA)
Printable cards of plants, animals, and ecosystems that may be affected by climate change.
Fisheries at the Galveston Laboratory – Activities (NOAA)
View, copy, or download 3 different educational activity books developed by the lab's education staff.
How do biologists research and keep track of sea turtle populations in order to save them? Learn
about wildlife and why caring for their wetland habitat is not just about them. Think like a shrimp
fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico.
Local Fisheries Knowledge Project – Activities (NOAA)
Through interviews with local fishermen, and others in fishing-related industries, explore the
connection between fisheries, their communities, and our lives. Students document and preserve the
rich knowledge and experiences of these individuals for future generations. Grades 9-12.
Louisiana Animals – Activities
Web resources on animals of Louisiana. Grades 1-5.