Hawaiʻi’s Freshwater Ecosystems
A Hands-on Guide to Hawaiʻi’s Freshwater Ecosystems
Grade Level: 7th Grade
Purpose: This curriculum is designed to communicate:
- Environmental conditions that influence species distributions and drive adaptations.
- Specialization between coexisting species.
- Unique characteristics of native and successful invasive species.
Rationale: Growing up surrounded by ocean, Hawaiian students are often well exposed to marine animals and issues. However, the fresh and brackish waters of Hawaiʻi are full of wonderfully adapted native animals as well as noxious invasive animals. These animals and ecosystems, which are found in every student’s backyard and require neither a boat nor a fishing pole to investigate, are an excellent topic to make science relevant and interesting. This curriculum uses inquiry-based lessons to teach important scientific issues, such as experimental design, relatedness between species, and adaptations, within the context of Hawaii’s fresh and brackish water ecosystems.
- Unit Overview
- Lesson 1: Build an Island
- Lesson 2: Freshwater Habitats and Organisms
- Lesson 3: Populations and Life Cycles
- Lesson 4: Species Report
- Lesson 5: Relatives in the River
- Lesson 6: Backyard Scientists
- Lesson 7: Animal Adaptations
- Lesson 8: Brine Shrimp Hatching Experiment
This unit was created and piloted by Jon Eldon, Steve Zeiher, and Kristen Miyazono