Lesson Plan

Marine Ecology - Water Testing Lesson and Experiment

Students conducting water testing experiment with Park Ranger.

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
9-10.RST.1, 9-10.RST.2, 9-10.RST.3, 9-10.RST.4, 9-10.RST.8
State Standards:
The Living Environment Core Curriculum – High School
Additional Standards:
Next Generation Science Standards
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.


Students will be able to recognize the interdependence of cause and effect on their actions within the ecosystem.
• How is water important in the ecosystem?
• Does our local environment support biodiversity?
• How can we test for biotic and abiotic parameters?
• How has urbanization of Brooklyn affected the ecosystem of Jamaica Bay?


This teacher-led classroom program allows students to use scientific tools to describe ecosystems. Students formulate hypotheses, read maps, and collect and interpret data to come to a conclusion. A visit to Jamaica Bay or other local water sources would be an extension that really solidifies the instruction.

There is a four-day experiment and laboratory lesson plan. The fourth lesson should be conducted on site at a park where water samples were collected.


Print lesson plan materials for students.

Project the power point presentation.

Set up experiments with needed materials.



water test kits

tap water

aquarium water (optional)

2nd lesson: water samples from various locations


Liter bottles

masking tape for marking samples


Download Standards Overview and Procedure

Download Presentation

Additional Resources


Related Lessons or Education Materials

Other Gateway National Recreation Area Lesson Plans

Investigating Bird Migration and Climate Change https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/bird-migration.htm

Osprey Migration https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/osprey-migration.htm

Marine Invaders https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/marine-invaders.htm

Marine Ecology – Water Testing https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/ecology-water-testing.htm

Asian Shore Crabs https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/asian-shore-crabs.htm

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Last updated: July 24, 2015