The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Wetland Ecosystems

Are you an upper elementary science teacher who ends the year with a unit on wetland ecosystems? If so, this blog post is for you! Here are my top 4 tips for launching a successful wetland ecosystems science unit.

Start with Literature! 

There are some amazing books out there about ecosystems, life cycles, food chains, decomposers and more. 

One of my all time favourite books to launch a Wetland Ecosystems unit is with “How to Survive as a Firefly”. This book covers concepts such as life cycles, scientific diagrams and metamorphosis. Plus, it is a beautifully illustrated hybrid text (fiction and nonfiction). I love it so much that I have created an Interactive Read Aloud unit to accompany it. You can check it out on TPT by clicking HERE

How to survive as a firefly interactive read aloud worksheets and activities

If you want more book suggestions, click HERE to read about my Top 5 Books for your Wetland Ecosystems Unit. 

The 5 best books for your ecosystems unit

Go on a Wetlands Scavenger Hunt!

One of the best ways to help kids fully understand and appreciate wetlands is visiting one. But it isn’t good enough just to walk to a local pond. Students need to know what they are looking for! 

This is where a scavenger hunt comes in! Ask students to take pictures of a variety of items such as living things, nonliving things, water, plants floating on the surface of water, etc. 

Upon returning to school, have students compile their images into a Google Slides presentation to demonstrate their knowledge.

Don’t have time to create your own scavenger hunt and slides templates? Check out the one that I have already created for you by clicking HERE!

wetland scavenger hunt for kids

Watch a Video!

One of my all time favourite wetland ecosystems activities is to watch the Magic School Bus! The episode that fits beautifully into your science unit is “The Magic School Bus Gets Swamped.” You can find it on Netflix Canada! It is in season 4. 

Not only will students be exposed to a ton of new information about wetlands, the episode really highlights the importance of wetlands. 

I suggest doing a KWL chart while watching this video. Before watching, ask students to jot down everything that they already know about wetlands. Then ask them to jot down a few things that they wonder about wetlands. Finally, after watching the video, ask students to jot down anything that they learned or any learning that was confirmed after watching. 

I prefer this KWL activity over a comprehension worksheet because I am not so concerned with whether or not kids get every word of the video but rather if they understand the big ideas. 

If you use JAMBOARD for this activity, students can all work collaboratively on one document and you can easily see at a glance how the learning of the class is evolving. 

wetland KWL chart on digital jamboard

Review with a Virtual Escape Room! 

Have you tried digital breakout rooms yet? If not… what are you waiting for? They are the BEST way to help students review concepts before a summative assessment. 

Students have to answer questions about wetlands in order to escape. There are 15 different puzzles that test their understanding of food webs, life cycles, interactions between living and nonliving things, types of wetlands, adaptations and more! 

Best of all, since this escape room utilizes Google Forms, there is NO MARKING for the teacher! Plus, it will only take you around 5 minutes to get the entire activity assigned in Google Classroom or shared with students! Talk about a low prep activity. Click HERE to find it on TPT.

wetland digital escape room with google slides

What are your favourite activities to incorporate into a Wetlands ecosystems unit? Send me a DM on instagram to let me know!

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