Billion Oyster Project

NY Harbor Oyster Population Decline Part 2


Teacher-Authored Lessons



Class Periods




Subject Areas

Science, Social Studies


This lesson is a continuation of the previous lesson "NY Harbor Oyster Population Decline Part 1." The room has been split into 6 groups- 2 groups for each photoset (oyster harvesting, industrial pollution, and sewage.) In this lesson, students will become teacher assistants and present their posters to the two groups that did not see their photo set. During their presentations, students are required to take notes. 


Students will present and discuss their groups historical photos, maps and other resources that point at some of the causes of oyster decline in New York.

Students will create a DSET about oyster population decline by using data from their classmates photo sets.

Before you get started

Tips for Teachers

  • For students who struggle to take notes on their own, give them the CESR graphic organizer to fill out the evidence and scientific concept sections during presentations

    • While writing the CESR, have students peer review each others work.
    • Have students practice writing a DSET/CESR by writing their conclusion in DSET form on their photo set handout.


    • Students have completed part 1 of this lesson.


    Students completed part 1 of the NY Harbor Oyster Population Decline. Students have made posters with their predictions, and their annotated photo set. Students have their posters made with all members photo set worksheets.

    Instruction Plan


    Engage sections in part 1 of this lesson.


    Engage sections in part 1 of this lesson.


    1. Students are given an opportunity to review their posters with their groups for five minutes.

    •  Instruct students that they must explain the title of their photo set, descriptions of the photos, and how these issues have negatively impacted the Harbor.

    2. The room is broken into two halves- 3 groups on each side of the room. Each side has one group from each photoset.  Students are instructed that they will have 5 minutes per group to present their posters. While the groups are presenting, all students must take notes on their peers projects. They will use this data/information later.

     3. Student presentations last about 15 minutes. 


    1. Students will individually create a DSET (CESR) using the CESR planning page and pocket guide. 

    • Students will write a DSET on ANOTHER groups information. 

    2. Students will peer review one a partners DSET and leave post it's on the sections that need to be edited. 

    3. Students revise their DSET and copy it onto loose-leaf.


    NGSS - Cross-Cutting Concepts

    • Cause and Effect

      • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.
      • Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.
      • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems.
      • Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.
    • Energy and Matter

      • The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system
      • The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a natural system.
    • Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

      • All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.
    • Patterns

      • Graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data.
      • Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.
    • Stability and Change

      • Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.
    • Systems and System Models

      • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions.
      • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy and matter flows within systems.

    NGSS - Disciplinary Core Ideas

    • LS1.A: Structure and Function

      • Within cells, special structures are responsible for particular functions, and the cell membrane forms the boundary that controls what enters and leaves the cell.
    • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

      • Growth of organisms and population increases are limited by access to resources.
      • Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors.
    • LS2.B: Cycle of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems

      • Food webs are models that demonstrate how matter and energy is transferred between producers, consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact within an ecosystem. Transfers of matter into and out of the physical environment occur at every level. Decomposers recycle nutrients from dead plant or animal matter back to the soil in terrestrial environments or to the water in aquatic environments. The atoms that make up the organisms in an ecosystem are cycled repeatedly between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.
    • LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

      • Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

    NGSS - Science and Engineering Practices

    • Analyzing and Interpreting Data

      • Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
    • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

      • Construct an explanation that includes qualitative or quantitative relationships between variables that predict phenomena.
    • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

      • Construct and present oral and written arguments supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.

    NYC Science Scope & Sequence - Units

    • Grade 6, Unit 4

      • Interdependence