Everglades History and Hydrology Lesson Plans

This topic submitted by J.P. Oehrtman ( coachjpo@aol.com) at 9:14 PM on 6/11/03.

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Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

When discussing the Everglades and the restoration of the ecosystem there are many diverse topics that need to be covered. I am using the research that I have done in order to develop a thematic unit investigating ways to improve them that should take anywhere from a week to a week and a half. This unit will be designed for an ecology course or a biology course. However it should be stated that I am developing this for a block schedule that consists of classes that last about 90 minutes. If this were to be modified to fit a 45 minute schedule the unit will take longer. Also, I believe strongly in student inquiry based learning as opposed to lecture based learning so therefore much of the instruction here is self-directed. I will also include an ongoing intensive lab activity that simulates much of the Everglades.

Day 1: The History of the Everglades
Objectives: The student will be able to:
Describe the water flow through the Everglades
Describe the ecosystem of the Everglades
List some natural fauna of the Everglades

Materials: Each student will require:
Access to the internet
10 gallon glass aquariums
Plaster of Paris
Aquarium plants
Cereal bowls
Plastic sheets

Evaluations: Internet search
Aquarium model set-up
Report on water flow

Assignments: On this day the student will observe the first part of a web field trip (found at http://taxodium.env.duke.edu/wetland/ftbegin.htm) in which they answer a question sheet that directs their learning. The second part of the class will be spent developing a model that simulates the original water flow through the Everglades. The lab will begin by:
1. placing sand in the aquarium
2. placing the bowl to simulate Lake Okeechobee
3. Use plaster of paris to develop the Kissimmee river
4. use aquarium plants to simulate the Everglades
5. place the plastic sheets to simulate the Florida Bay
6. fill the lake, river and bay with water
7. observe the flow of water through the ecosystem
The student will then write a detailed report describing the flow of water through the simulated model.

Day 2: Central and South Florida Project
Objectives: The student will be able to:
Explain the objectives of the C & SF Project
Discuss the ways the C & SF project was developed
Demonstrate the objectives of the C & SF Project

Materials: spoons
Plaster of paris

Evaluations: discussion on the Central and South Florida Project
Everglades model
Written comparison

Assignments: The teacher will give a power point presentation on the Central and South Florida Project. The students will then independently research the C & SF project and apply their knowledge to the model by “digging” the canals and levees with spoons and build them with the plaster of paris. They will then observe the new flow of water through the ecosystem. The student will then write a comparison on the new water flow in relation to the previous days observations.

Day 3: The Effects
Objectives: The student will be able to:
Explain the effects of the Central and South Florida Project

Materials: Internet accessible computer

Evaluations: discussion of the results of the C & SF
Internet assignment sheet

Assignments: The student will observe the second part of the virtual field trip located at http://taxodium.env.duke.edu/wetland/anthro and answer questions. They will then discuss the results of the effects of the C & SF project.

Day 4: Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project
Objectives: The student will be able to:
Discuss the intentions of the CERP
Explain the proposed application of the CERP
Apply the knowledge of the CERP to debate the possible results

Materials: Internet accessible computer

Evaluations: discussion of the CERP
Debate on the results of the CERP

Assignments: The teacher will give a power point presentation on the CERP and its proposed results. The student will then independently or in groups explore the opinions of the CERP and develop their own. They will then debate on both the positive and negative outcomes of the CERP based on their research and opinions.

Day 5: Independent ideas on restoration
Objectives: The student will be able to:
Apply knowledge on the current state of the Everglades ecosystem to develop their own ideas
Use their ideas to model the proposed results

Materials: may vary based on student ideas

Evaluation: Written explanation of individual proposed restoration ideas
Everglades model with proposed ideas in place
Conclusions based on their proposed ideas

Assignment: The student will develop a proposed plan to restore the ecosystem of the Everglades. They must include their objectives and reasoning for their plan. The students will then simulate their plan with their Everglades model (the materials they may use may be vast so this may need to be accomplished early in order to get the necessary materials). The students will then write a detailed conclusion based on the results of their plan and explain what was useful and what could be done to improve on their ideas. Also it may be useful to have a separate group of students or a teacher model apply the ideas of the CERP for a basis of comparison.

Bottcher, A.B. Everglades Agricultural Area(EAA): Water, Soil, Crop, and Environmental Management. Gainsville University Press of Florida. 1994.

Doherty, Brian. "Murky Water." Reason. November 2002. Vol. 34. Issue 6. p. 12-13

"Everglades Hydrology, The." http://www.eng.fiu/evrglads/engineer/hydrolog.htm

“Everglades Virtual Field Trip.” http://taxodium.env.duke.edu/wetland/ftbegin.htm

"FAQ: What You Should Know About the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan." http://www.evergladesplan.org/resources/faqs.cfm

"Going with the Flow." Economist. Jan 18, 2003. Vol. 366. Issue 8307. p. 34.

Hervic, Joelle. "Water, Water Everywhere?" The Florida Bar Journal. December 2002. p. 78-81

"History of the Everglades National Park." http://www.eng.fiu.edu/evrglads/introenp/history.htm

McIntosh, Phyllis. "Reviving the Everglades." National Parks. Jan/Feb 2002. Vol. 76. Issue 1/2. p. 30-35

Scully, Malcom G. "Restoring the Fragile Everglades Forevermore." Chronicle of Higher Education. Jan 12, 2001. Vol. 47. Issue 18. p. B14.

Todd, Kim. "Who Gets the Water?" Sierra. January 2003. Vol. 88. Issue 1. p.10-11

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