Intro to Freshwater Habitats
This learning block represents one week’s work. Aim to watch at least one video and choose at least one activity or project to complete.
There are two videos to choose from about freshwater habitats. The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!
Now choose an Activity
Wetland in a Bottle Project
Did you know that a wetland is like a sponge, a nursery, and a filter, all in one? In this project, you will explore the benefits of wetlands using a cool experiment!
First: Watch the first video to learn how wetlands are SUPER important for humans and other creatures.
Next: The second video will show you how to make your own ‘wetland in a bottle’ to filter dirty water and make it clean! Amazing!
You will need:
– 2-litre plastic soda bottle with the bottom cut off (ask an adult for help!)
– 2 jars: 1 clean, 1 filled with dirty water
– large rocks
– small rocks
What happened when you filtered the dirty water through your wetland?
You can try making your water extra dirty and pouring it through. Is the result any different? Do you need to filter the water more than once to get it clean? What happens if you change the order of the rocks, dirt and sand in your wetland? Does it still filter as well as before?
Don’t forget to document your project for your portfolio!
Go Pond Dipping
A Pond is a freshwater habitat where the water does not flow. Ponds have amazing wildlife! Watch the video above to see what it’s like to go POND DIPPING. These kids are carefully collecting live animals in containers of water to observe. Notice how they keep the animals in water and just look at them before returning them to their habitat.
– What did you learn?
– What surprised you?
– Do you feel inspired to give pond dipping a try?
If you live near a pond or a lake, you may like to go dipping yourself! Always handle wildlife with care, check on local regulations, and bring your adult with you!
Pond Art Project
In this video, you will learn to draw a freshwater habitat!
You will need:
– white paper
– black marker
– colouring supplies (coloured pencils, crayons, etc.)
Feel free to add in any creatures you have learned about that live in freshwater habitats!
When you are finished, add it to your portfolio!
BUILD A RIVER PROJECT
Another type of freshwater habitat is RIVERS & STREAMS. These bodies of water FLOW, usually from high to low, and often end up draining into an ocean, sea, lake, or even another river! In this project, you will create your own model of a river and watch its flow.
You will need:
– aluminum pan or shallow dish
– sand, pebbles, woodchips, or whatever you have to form the river banks
– bottle with a narrow opening
– aluminum foil
– small bowl
– book or box
– paper towel
– food colouring (optional)
– small sticks and leaves
Step 1: Watch the video above and follow the directions to make your river model.
Step 2: Play with your model. What happens if you change the angle of your river to be more or less steep? Pour the water through again. Can you change the way the water flows?
Step 3: Now try adding some of your rocks here and there in the river. Pour the water through again. What do you notice about the flow this time?
Step 4. Watch the video below about how beavers build dams. Imagine a family of beavers has moved into your river! In nature, they usually choose slow-moving streams for their dams, so adjust the angle of your model so that the water flows gently. Using sticks, mud, and leaves, try to add your own beaver dam to your model! Pour the water once more. What do you notive this time?
Keep experimenting with your model as long as you like! Can you think of any other changes to try?
Remember to take photos and add them to your portfolio!
OUR PLANET: Freshwater Documentary
This documentary discusses a range of freshwater habitats, the species who inhabit them, and threats to their continued health and survival. As you watch, think about the questions below. You will choose ONE and write your response in a paragraph or record it in a video. You may need to go back and rewatch the video more than once. Jot down some notes as you listen; this will help you when writing/planning your final piece.
1. Think of one freshwater species that particularly surprised or intrigued you from the video. Explain what you learned about it in as much detail as you remember, in your own words.
2. Consider human impacts on freshwater habitats. Using what you learned in the video, describe a case where people have caused harm to one of these important ecosystems. Explain what you learned about it in as much detail as you remember, in your own words.
3. Freshwater is important for many species, and humans are no exception. We depend on safe and abundant freshwater for survival. Think about what you have learned about the security of our freshwater sources. Do you feel concerned for human water supplies around the world? Why or why not?
When you are finished, be sure to add your piece to your portfolio!
Books About freshwater habitats
Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library.