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Freshwater Biome Project Ideas

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes provide unique environments where certain plants and animals thrive. These projects support learning about freshwater biomes through hands-on experiences.

Freshwater Biome

Students of all ages enjoy learning about plants and animals. These projects help students learn about the algae, aquatic plants, crustaceans, insects, and other living organisms that inhabit the freshwater biome. Students will be actively engaged in creating their own freshwater biome, as well as working collaboratively with their peers to create visuals.

Freshwater Biome Projects

Biome in a Bottle

In this project, students will create their own self-contained biome within two-liter bottles.

Grade Level: 3rd - 10th

Length: one week or longer

Materials needed: empty (clean) 2-liter bottles, sponge, substrate (or pond mud), sand, aquatic gravel, filtered water, pond weed, cherry shrimp, Malaysian snails, funnel

Divide students into pairs. Provide each pair with materials.

Have students put substrate in the bottom of the bottle.

Have students put plants in substrate.

Then cover the surface lightly with sand and gravel.

Have students pour water into the bottle filling it half-way. Students should then set aside their biome overnight.

Have students add 1-2 shrimp and 1-2 snails.

Have students plug the top of their container with a sponge.

The biome should be placed near a window that does not receive direct sunlight.

Monitor and adjust as needed according to the following guidelines:

  • Unhealthy plants or cloudy water may need more sun.
  • Algae growth may mean too much sun or not enough animal life.
  • Unhealthy animals might need more plants.

Have students monitor their biome through the use of a daily science journal.

Freshwater Biome Mural

This project enables students to work collaboratively to create a visual.

Grade level: K-6

Length: 45-90 minutes

Materials needed: butcher paper, crayons/markers, computer/internet/printer, construction paper, glue

Divide students into small group.

Have each group choose which type of freshwater biome they want to learn more about: pond, lake, river, stream, wetlands.

Have students research their biome while asking themselves the following questions:

  • What is the climate in my biome?
  • What plants, animals, insects, and other organisms live in this biome?
  • Where is this biome?
  • Who are the consumers, producers, and decomposers?

Have students design and create a mural that describes their freshwater biome using printed pictures or sketches that illustrate the organisms and their relationships.

Have students label or write captions that describe the elements of their biome.

Freshwater Biome Trivia Game

In this activity, students will help create and then play a game that will help them learn about freshwater biomes.

Grade level: 4th - 10th

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