Resource Image Estuaries
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Type of Resource: SciGuide
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 5 reviews
Publication Title: None
Grade Level: High School


SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

Estuaries are bodies of water and their surrounding coastal wetlands typically found where rivers meet the sea. Estuaries harbor unique plant and animal communities because their waters are brackish—a mixture of fresh water draining from the land and salty seawater.

Estuaries are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Many animal species rely on estuaries for food, places to breed, and migration stopovers. Human communities also rely on estuaries for food, recreation, jobs, and coastal protection.

Of the 32 largest cities in the world, 22 are located on estuaries (e.g., New Orleans, London, etc). Not surprisingly, human activities have led to the decline in the health of estuaries, making them one of the most threatened ecosystems on the Earth. NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System in partnership with coastal states monitors the health of estuaries and helps communities manage their coastal resources.

Ideas For Use


Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Food web
Population dynamics
Environmental change
Nonrenewable resources
Human population growth
Intended User Role:High-School Educator, Learner, New Teacher, Professional Development Provider, Teacher
Educational Issues:Achievement, Assessment of students, Careers, Curriculum, Educational research, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Integrating technology, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 23 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 23 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Life Science
    • The characteristics of organisms
      • Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met. (K-4)
      • The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms. (K-4)
    • Organisms and environments
      • An organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment.
      • Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.
    • Populations and ecosystems
      • A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. (5-8)
      • All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem. (5-8)
    • Diversity and adaptations of organisms
      • Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. (5-8)
      • Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment (5-8)
    • Interdependence of organisms
      • Estuaries are among the richest ecosystems on Earth. (9-12)
      • Human beings live within the world's ecosystems. (9-12)
      • An example of habitat destruction is the draining and clearing of wetlands for farms, residential or commercial development. (9-12)
    • Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
      • The distribution and abundance of organisms and populations in ecosystems are limited by the availability of matter and energy and the ability of the ecosystem to recycle materials. (9-12)
  • Science as Inquiry
    • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    • Characteristics and changes in populations
      • Human populations include groups of individuals living in a particular location.
      • One important characteristic of a human population is the population density--the number of individuals of a particular population that lives in a given amount of space.
    • Changes in environments
      • Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad.
    • Natural hazards
      • Internal and external processes of the earth system cause natural hazards (disasters), events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property, and harm or kill humans. (5-8)
    • Natural resources
      • Increasing human consumption places severe stress on the natural processes that renew some resources, and it depletes those resources that cannot be renewed. (9-12)
    • Environmental quality
      • A factor that influences environmental quality is overconsumption. (9-12)
      • A factor that influences environmental quality is the capacity of technology to solve problems. (9-12)
    • Natural and human-induced hazards
      • Human activities can enhance potential for hazards. (9-12)

State Standards Correlation

Use the form below to view which of your state standards this resource addresses.

User Reviews

I love SciGuides!
  Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA) on September 16, 2014
  SciGuides are really fantastic.When it's time to teach about bodies of water/wetlands, I can be confident knowing I'll have the Estuaries SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide.

  Whitney A on April 15, 2013
  This SciGuide is very informative about estuaries. Being that estuaries are commonly inhabited by large populations, it behooves students to learn about them. I enjoyed the lesson plan on Oil Spill Response and the NERRS. For my AP Environmental Science class, I think it is a good resource because we discuss many different land and water biomes. It is an interesting part of coastal environments that is often overlooked but is fragile and sensitive to pollution. This SciGuide is beneficial also for teachers who are unfamiliar with coastal environments.

A great overview
  Whitney A on December 28, 2012
  This SciGuide is very informative about estuaries. Being that estuaries are commonly inhabited by large populations, it behooves students to learn about them. I enjoyed the lesson plan on Oil Spill Response and the NERRS.

Nice guide!!
  Omayra Gorgas (San Juan, PR) on June 19, 2007
  Es excelente que hayan guias como estas para maestros. Yo soy maestros de ciencias superior y tengo dos años de experiencia.

  Dan Carroll (Arlington, VA) on February 9, 2012
  Very nicely organized. They did a good job splitting up the resources int multiple categories. Seems like plenty of stuff for all ability levels. Great resources