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Activities and Lesson Plans

Cover-Wondrous Wetlands

Related 4th Grade TEKS


4.3 B: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning. The student adds and subtracts to solve meaningful problems involving whole numbers and decimals. The student is expected to: (B) add and subtract decimals to the hundredths place using concrete objects and pictorial models.

4.11 A, B: Measurement. The student applies measurement concepts. The student is expected to estimate and measure to solve problems involving length (including perimeter) and area. The student uses measurement tools to measure capacity/volume and weight/mass. The student is expected to: (A) estimate and use measurement tools to determine length (including perimeter), area, capacity and weight/mass using standard units SI (metric) and customary; (B) perform simple conversions between different units of length, between different units of capacity, and between different units of weight within the customary measurement system.

4.14 A Underlying processes and mathematical tools. The student applies Grade 4 mathematics to solve problems connected to everyday experiences and activities in and outside of school. The student is expected to: (A) identify the mathematics in everyday situations.

Language Arts

9: Reading/Comprehension of Text/Independent Reading. Students read independently for sustained periods of time and produce evidence of their reading. Students are expected to read independently for a sustained period of time and paraphrase what the reading was about, maintaining meaning and logical order (e.g., generate a reading log or journal; participate in book talks).

11 A, C: Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Expository Text. Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about expository text and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to: (A) summarize the main idea and supporting details in text in ways that maintain meaning; (C) describe explicit and implicit relationships among ideas in texts organized by cause-and-effect, sequence, or comparison.

18 A i, ii, iii: Writing/Expository and Procedural Texts. Students write expository and procedural or work-related texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to: (A) create brief compositions that: (i) establish a central idea in a topic sentence; (ii) include supporting sentences with simple facts, details, and explanations; and (iii) contain a concluding statement.


9 A, B: Organisms and environments. The student knows and understands that living organisms within an ecosystem interact with one another and with their environment. The student is expected to: (A) investigate that most producers need sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make their own food, while consumers are dependent on other organisms for food; and (B) describe the flow of energy through food webs, beginning with the Sun, and predict how changes in the ecosystem affect the food web such as a fire in a forest.

Social Studies

24 A, B: Social studies skills. The student uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others, in a variety of settings. The student is expected to: (A) use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution; and (B) use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision.

Discussion Questions

  1. What happens where water, soil, and plants meet? What are the two basic kinds of wetlands in Texas?
  2. Why is life good for animals in wetlands? What does "diversity" mean?
  3. Describe how a food chain works. What does a food chain have to do with diversity? What does it mean when we say that wetlands are like nature's best supermarkets?
  4. What is "detritus" and what does it have to do with wetlands?
  5. What are some ways that wetlands benefit us?
  6. What's the difference between freshwater and coastal wetlands? What are some animals that live in each?
  7. What are vernal pools? Where can we find vernal pools with fairy shrimp in central-Texas?
  8. CHALLENGE QUESTION: Some people think of wetlands as wastelands because they can be the kinds of places that attract mosquitoes or have unpleasant odors due to standing water. How could you explain to these people how important wetlands really are?

It's No Fairy Tale!

Now that you know how to do decimals, wave your magic wand and figure out these fairy shrimp problems. What?! You don’t have a magic wand? Well, then use your wonderful brain instead!

  1. You have 3 fairy shrimp. One of them is .80 inches long. One of them is .43 inches long. One of them is .65 inches long. How many total inches do they add up to altogether?
  2. The 2 fairy shrimp in the vernal pool at Enchanted Rock measured 1.67 inches altogether. But one of them got eaten by a bird! The one that is left measures .96 inches. How many inches did the one that was eaten measure?
  3. Write your answer to #1 in word form: __________
  4. Write your answer to #2 in word form: __________

Make a Fiddler Crab

Make your own fiddler crab using the customary and the metric system. When you make half the crab's legs, use the metric side of your ruler to measure them. Then use the customary side your rule to measure and make the legs for the other half. What was different about measuring with the two systems?

Wetlands Crab


Your crab will look something like this when you’re done:


Lake Waco Wetlands

If you were to make your own food web using the animals on this website - - how do you think it would be organized? Which animals would be producers? Consumers? Decomposers? Which animals would be at the bottom of the food chain? Which ones would be at the top? By the way...which animals did you enjoy learning about the most?

Wastelands or Wetlands?

Some people think of wetlands as wastelands because they're often the kinds of places that attract mosquitoes or have unpleasant odors due to standing water. That is why so many wetlands have been destroyed. Look around where you live. Try to identify an area that used to be a wetland. What are clues that you can find to indicate this?

Map the Flow – Oh, No!

One thing wetlands do is provide places for extra water to go when there is a storm. Locate a wetland near you. Pretend it has disappeared. Where would the water from a storm go instead? Into your house? Your neighbor's house? The stores nearby? Draw a map showing where the water would flow.