Into the Marsh

Eco-Tours Part Two – Making Comparisons

Students continue a comparison of two ecosystems as they “visit” an alternate ecosystem.

Lesson Overview

What makes a cranberry marsh an ecosystem?

This lesson is a guided comparison between a cranberry marsh and a local site. It extends students’ understanding of the cranberry marsh, and prompts them to appreciate it as an example of an ecosystem. It also provides an opportunity to extend your existing curriculum’s lessons about organisms, habitats, and/or ecosystems.

Whether students live in cranberry growing regions or not, they may be able to make better sense of the marsh study by comparing it to a familiar part of their environment. Therefore, just as “Welcome to the Marsh” asked students to make careful observations of a marsh ecosystem, this lesson invites students to look thoughtfully at their own surroundings in order to compare and contrast the cranberry marsh with their local ecosystem.

In “Welcome to the Marsh,” the computer screen provided a frame around images of the marsh, providing a focal point for student attention. Similarly, in this lesson, students view their real environment through cardboard frames — thereby zooming in one particular “image,” a focal point within the larger site. They then use many of the same  questions from “Welcome to the Marsh” to understand their own ecosystem before completing a Venn diagram about both sites.

Students also record their own free-form notes in a paper journal.