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Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 3. Ecology - Activities

1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 7 : 10 acad :: Wetland Habitat)

Purpose: To understand the importance of swamps in an aquatic ecosystem.

What You Need: pen :: data sheet

What You Do:

  1. Read the following paragraph and then answer the questions.

As I sit on a lily pad in the middle of the water, I am amazed with the beauty that surrounds me. I like the trees and plants that live here, because if it were not for them, there would not be such a diversity of wild life. The trees prevent floods during times of heavy rainfall. The swamp absorbs most of the surface water runoff from the land and then slowly releases it, helping to sustain water flow during dry spells. It is a hot day, but the moist air and shade keeps me cool. From this position on my floating raft, I see a small turtle emerge from the dark waters to bask on a log in the spring sunshine. Under a nearby maple tree I see a young deer nibbling on some leaves and a snake silently awaiting his next meal. I must watch out for him but now I am safe on my lily pad. I hear the "jug-o' rum" of the bullfrog coming from the edge of the water. I am surrounded by animals big and small. Insects burrow in the bark and feed on leaves. Woodpeckers knock away at tree trunks in search of food. A beaver swims quietly across the water with a poplar branch clenched between his teeth. I can even see butterflies flying past, stopping to sip the nectar from the bright yellow flowers. How wonderful it is to live in a swamp!


  1. Name 3 animals from the paragraph that use trees for food?
  2. How are dead trees useful in a wetland?
  3. What will happen to the swamp if the trees are cut down?
  4. What can be done to ensure there will always be trees at the swamp?

Click here to see the answers to these questions.
Click here to see the list of activities for this unit.


The Underwater World

Use dramatic story about wetlands and wetland species (consult your schools or local library), and, in the background, play one of the following pieces of music: Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries"; Rossini's "William Tell Overture"; Vivaldi's Spring from the "Four Seasons"; Dvorjak's "New World Symphony"; or Beethoven's Storm from the "6th Symphony".

Ask the students to find a comfortable position, to close their eyes and to listen closely to your voice. Turn down the lights. Ask them to image the setting. Then ask them to imagine that they are an animal underwater during a rainstorm. Ask them to imagine how it would feel to be underwater during a storm.


  1. How and what did the students feel during the guided imagery? Were they frightened? Ask them to write what they felt and saw during the exercise, or draw a picture of the animal they pretended to be and what they experienced.
  2. Ask the students to write a short story using the images they felt in the music.


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