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Welcome to the Estuary WebQuest!
This webquest is designed to introduce students in upper elementary school to the system of an estuary. Through the explorations in this website, students should be able to describe the structures of an estuary and their functions. They should also be able to identify the inputs and outputs for this system. Finally, they will look at human changes to the estuary system.
The activities on this webquest can be done as a group using a digital projector attached to a teacher computer, individually, or in small groups. In the links section, you will find the webquest lesson plans which include suggested vocabulary, pacing, assessments, and background information.
On this page, I've also included other references, hands-on activities, and information on the standards covered in Washington state.
If you are using the FOSS science kits, these activities would fit in well with the Environments unit.
Meredith Kaupp, 5th grade teacher, Tacoma, WA

Click here to download lesson plan and unit outline

These lessons were created in partnership with the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and a grant from the Russell Family Foundation.

Resource Links:

Hands-On Activities and Lessons:

Washington State's Science Essential Academic Learning Requirements, Grades 3-5:

EALR 1: The student knows and applies scientific concepts and principles to understand the properties, structures, and changes in earth/space, and living systems.

  • 1.2.1: Analyze how the parts of a system go together and how these parts depend on each other:
    • Identify the parts of a system.
    • Describe the function of a part of a system.
    • Explain how one part of a system depends upon other parts of the same system.
    • Predict and explain how a system would work if one of its parts was missing or broken.
    • Describe what goes into (input) and out of (output) a system (what keeps the system running).
    • Describe the effect on a system when an input in the system is changed.
  • 1.3.4: Know processes that change the surface of Earth:
    • Describe how weathering and erosion change the surface of the Earth.
  • 1.3.8: Understand living things need constant energy and matter:
    • Explain how plants and animals obtain food.
  • 1.3.10: Understand that an organism's ability to survive is influenced by the organism's behavior and the ecosystem in which it lives:
    • Describe how an organism's ability to survive is affected by a change in an ecosystem.
    • Describe the path of substances through a food chain.

EALR 3 - The student knows and applies science concepts and skills to develop solutions to human problems in societal contexts:

  • 3.1.1: Understand problems found in ordinary situations in which scientific design can be or has been used to design solutions:
    • Describe how science and technology could be used to solve a human problem.
    • Describe the scientific concept, principle, or process used in a solution to a human problem.
    • Describe how to scientifically gather information to develop a solution.
  • 3.1.2: Understand how the scientific design process is used to develop and implement solutions to human problems:
    • Describe possible solutions to a problem.
    • Describe the reasons for the effectiveness of a solution to a problem or challenge.
  • 3.2.4: Understand how humans depend on the natural environment and can cause changes in the environment that affect humans' ability to survive.
    • Describe how resources can be conserved through reusing, reducing, and recycling.
    • Describe the effects conservation has on the environment.
    • Describe the effects of humans on the health of an ecosystem.
    • Describe how humans can cause changes in the environment that affect the livability of the environment for humans.


Become an Estuary Expert!

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