S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Coastal Heritage Curriculum Connection

Explore Curriculum Connection guides, which are written to accompany each issue of Coastal Heritage, a quarterly publication of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Coastal Heritage, Fall 2008 issue: Exploring Early Carolina’s Natural Riches

Focus Questions

  • Who were the naturalists who studied the flora and fauna located in South Carolina? Of these naturalists, who were colonists? Who were British citizens?
  • What contributions did the naturalists’ findings make to South Carolina, America and/or their home country?
  • What were some of the challenges that each naturalist faced?
  • What was the accepted view of evolution prior to Darwin? What contributions did Darwin make to support evolutionary theory? What arguments are made against this theory? What are the 4 key parts to his evolutionary theory?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address these South Carolina standards

Standard 3-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the structures, characteristics, and adaptations of organisms that allow them to function and survive within their habitats. (Life Science)

3-2.1: Illustrate the life cycles of seed plants and various animals and summarize how they grow and are adapted to conditions within their habitats.

3-2.2: Explain how physical and behavioral adaptations allow organisms to survive (including hibernation, defense, locomotion, movement, food obtainment, and camouflage for animals, and seed dispersal, color, and response to light for plants).

3-2.3: Recall the characteristics of an organism’s habitat that allow the organism to survive there.

3-2.4: Explain how changes in the habitats of plants and animals affect their survival.

3-2.5: Summarize the organization of simple food chains (including the roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers).

Standard 6-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of structures, processes, and responses of plants that allow them to survive and reproduce. (Life Science)
6-2.2: Recognize the hierarchical structure of the classification (taxonomy) of organisms (including the seven major levels or categories of living things—namely, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species).

Standard B-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of biological evolution and the diversity of life.

B-5.1: Summarize the process of natural selection.

B-5.2: Explain how genetic processes result in the continuity of life-forms over time.

B-5.3: Explain how diversity within a species increases the chances of its survival.

B-5.4: Explain how genetic variability and environmental factors lead to biological evolution.

B-5.5: Exemplify scientific evidence in the fields of anatomy, embryology, biochemistry, and paleontology that underlies the theory of biological evolution.

B-5.6: Summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.

B-5.7: Use a phylogenetic tree to identify the evolutionary relationships among different groups of organisms.

Lesson Links

Ask an Expert: The South Carolina Native Plant Society

The South Carolina Native Plant Society provides an in-depth look into the native flora in South Carolina. Now, imagine you are new to the area and do not know how to identify the surrounding wildlife. Find a plant that you do not know, take a picture of it, and write a description (early naturalists had to rely on sketches, verbal descriptions, and collected samples to correctly identify the wildlife). Submit your picture and description to the Native Plant Society’s “Plant ID” section to hear back from an expert! (5th – 12th)

Evolution Library

Charles Darwin is heralded as being the first proponent of the theory of evolution. Visit PBS’s Evolution Library to see a wealth of information on pre- and post-Darwinism. The site has videos, activities, additional links, and images pertaining to evolution. (9th – 12th)

Activity: Bird Beak Buffet

Every animal and plant is adapted to survive in their surroundings. This activity is designed to demonstrate the reason a bird’s beak is shaped a certain way. (5th – 12th)

Activity: Fashion-A-Fish

Scientists are discovering new species all the time and everywhere – the ocean is no exception! In this activity you discover a new fish and decide if and how it is adapted to its surroundings for survival. (5th – 12th)


  • Explorers and naturalists often had to depend upon their visual observations, drawings, and photography to capture the wildlife in order to later identify and catalog it. Pretend that you are an early explorer – take your camera, sketchbook and pencil, and walk outside. Find a plant or animal (such as a bird) that you do not know what it is. Take photos and/or make sketches of distinctive features and jot down words that describe it. Take your photos and sketches inside and try to identify the animal or plant you observed. Give its complete taxonomy beginning with Kingdom and going all the way to Species (or Sub-species if possible). Suggested field guides: National Audubon Society or Peterson’s Guides. (5th – 12th)
  • Develop a promotional brochure about a specific plant or animal – what features make it unique? How does this plant or animal fit into the food chain? (5th – 12th)

A Better Look: Travel Destinations

  • Middleton Place contains a copy of Catesby’s literary work – one of only 50 original copies. Teachers: Make an appointment to visit the plantation and museum to see first-hand his drawings and descriptions. What species in the lowcountry do you recognize? Are there any species you did not know existed? (9th – 12th)
  • South Carolina Audubon at Francis Beidler Forest provides a perfect opportunity to have your students become engaged in the outdoors. The extensive curriculum offerings can be viewed at http://sc.audubon.org/Centers_FBF_Educators.html . (K-12th)