Unit

Oyster Tank Investigation

Grade

6-8th

Class Periods

2

Setting

Classroom

Subject Areas

Science, Math


Summary

Students measure the size of the oyster spat and water quality data for the classroom tank.

Objectives

  • Measure at least one component of the regular tank monitoring. 
  • Describe the significance of at least one component of monitoring the tank.
  • Design a plan for the regular maintenance of their oyster tank.

Materials and Resources

Supplies

    • 10 calipers

    • 5 small containers (for water samples from tank to test)

      • Thermometer
      • Dissolved oxygen kit

      • hydrometer

      • pH kit

      • ammonia test strips

      • nitrate test strips

      • phosphate test strips

      • turbidity tube

      • shallow pan (to catch water from turbidity tube)

      Before you get started

      Tips for Teachers

      • Make sure you read the Oyster Tank Guide in preparation for this lesson.

      • Ideally, the students who help set up the oyster tank will also help monitor it throughout the year.  If this is not possible, consider ways to keep your students informed as to the progress of the tank and health of the oysters.

      Preparation

      Decide if you want to add “associated oyster reef organisms.”  These are organisms found in your ORS that you are able to keep alive and transport back to your classroom.  If you do not have time to add organisms during this lesson, we suggest you add them at a later date, as they can make for a very rich and dynamic oyster tank experience.

      Instruction Plan

      Explore

        1. In this lesson, the students will measure oyster spat on each oyster clump and monitor the tank water.  This will provide baseline data.
        2. Ideally, students should be in 10 groups (5 groups measuring oysters and 5 groups doing water quality testing).
        3. Each group gets the necessary monitoring equipment (see table below).
        4. Each group gets a copy of the relevant protocol and data sheet sections from the BOP Field Science Manual (either the Oyster Measurements or Water Quality section).
        5. Students complete their measurement task and fill out the relevant sections of their data sheets.
        6. Students return to the Oyster Tank Analysis worksheet and complete the “Monitoring the Tank” section.
        7. Facilitate the students’ sharing their monitoring results, discussing the significance and making some predictions. 
        8. Ask questions such as: 
          • Will the parameters change?  How much?  On what time scale?  
          • Will it matter if parameters change?  Why?
        9. Post the students’ baseline monitoring results in the classroom in a poster format where future monitoring could be recorded and compared. 
        10. Students return to the “Making Predictions” section of their Oyster Tank Analysis worksheet.
        11. Consider handing out the Oyster Tank Topic Library for a deeper dive and to give students ideas to complete the worksheet.
        12. Consider posting students’ predictions next to the tank.  
          • Their own predictions tend to make students very invested in finding out what will happen over time!


        Group

        Task

        Tool

        Notes

        1

        Measure oysters

        calipers

        oyster clump 1 & 2

        2

        Measure oysters

        calipers

        oyster clump 3 & 4

        3

        Measure oysters

        calipers

         oyster clump 5 & 6

        4

        Measure oysters

        calipers

        oyster clump 7 & 8

        5

        Measure oysters

        calipers

        oyster clump 9 & 10

        6

        Temperature

        thermometer

        Test the temperature directly in the tank.

        7

        Dissolved oxygen

        DO kit

        Use a clean cup to remove water from the tank.

        8

        pH

        pH meter

        Use a clean cup to remove water from the tank.

        9

        Nitrate/ammonia/phosphate

        Test strips

        Use a clean cup to remove water from the tank.

        10

        Turbidity

        Turbidity tube

        Use a clean cup to fill up the tube.  Use a shallow pan to catch water released from the bottom of the tube.

        Standards

        NYC Science Scope & Sequence - Units

        • Grade 6, Unit 4

          • Interdependence
        • Grade 7, Unit 4

          • Dynamic Equilibrium: Other Organisms