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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, Winter 2011 issue: The Arts of Science: A Search for Visual Ecology

Focus Questions

  • What are some reasons why scientists and artists aren’t working together more often? What are some similarities and differences between the arts and sciences?
  • What are two “hot button” science fields?
  • Name examples of artists and scientists working together. In these examples, what art is used (song, dance, visual, etc.) and what science topics are being expressed?
  • Describe the ACE Basin. Where is the area located and who are the major players in helping to conserve this area? Who is the photographer that has captured the ACE Basin and how has his art influenced this area?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address these South Carolina Standards

5th Grade: Ecosystems: Terrestrial and Aquatic

5-2.2: Summarize the composition of an ecosystem, considering both biotic factors (including populations to the level of microorganisms and communities) and abiotic factors.

5-2.3: Compare the characteristics of different ecosystems (including estuaries/salt marshes, oceans, lakes and ponds, forests, and grasslands).

5-2.4: Identify the roles of organisms as they interact and depend on one another through food chains and food webs in an ecosystem, considering producers and consumers (herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores), decomposers (microorganisms, termites, worms, and fungi), predators and prey, and parasites and hosts.

5th Grade: Landforms and the Ocean

5-3.2: Illustrate the geologic landforms of the ocean floor (including the continental shelf and slope, the mid-ocean ridge, rift zone, trench, and the ocean basin).

5-3.3: Compare continental and oceanic landforms.

5-3.4: Explain how waves, currents, tides, and storms affect the geologic features of the ocean shore zone (including beaches, barrier islands, estuaries, and inlets).

5-3.6: Explain how human activity (including conservation efforts and pollution) has affected the land and the oceans of Earth.

7th Grade: Ecology: The Biotic and Abiotic Environment

7-4.1: Summarize the characteristics of the levels of organization within ecosystems (including populations, communities, habitats, niches, and biomes).

8th Grade: Earth’s Structure and Processes

8-3.9: Identify and illustrate geologic features of South Carolina and other regions of the world through the use of imagery (including aerial photography and satellite imagery) and topographic maps.

9th – 12th: Biology

B-6.1: Explain how the interrelationships among organisms (including predation, competition, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism) generate stability within ecosystems.

B-6.6: Explain how human activities (including population growth, technology, and
consumption of resources) affect the physical and chemical cycles and processes of

B-5.5: Exemplify the various lines of scientific evidence that underlie our understanding of evolution and the diversification of life.

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

9th – 12th: Earth Science (Atmosphere)

ES-4.6: Summarize possible causes of and evidence for past and present global climate

Lesson Links

  • Banana Slugs have just released their newest CD “One Ocean” that teaches students about the ocean through song! Check out their website at and order a copy today. Learn about the “Kingdom of the Crab,” why the “Turtle Ate a Jelly,” and other fun stories about the ocean. This CD is aligned with the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts which can be found at: . (K-12)
  • Combine literature with science and have your students learn about coastal, marine, and other environments through the books found at Sylvan Dell Publishing . By visiting this site, you can access Kevin Kurtz’s book, A Day in the Salt Marsh, and a host of other books. Each book has associated teacher activities designed to emphasize literacy, math, and science. Tap into your student’s creative minds through reading! Check out other book titles such as Where Should Turtle Be, Turtles in My Sandbox, and Octavia and Ocean Seasons. (5th – 12th)
  • Create your own nature journal by visiting this site: to choose from a variety downloadable and printable formats. Purchase your own journal or sketchbook by visiting . (5th – 12th)
  • Marsh Metaphors: This activity combines language arts (metaphors) and salt marsh ecosystems and is a great visual and hands-on activity. This activity can be accessed by visiting the Discover Carolina website: . (5th – 12th)

Other Activities

Journaling and Science Investigations
Part of connecting science and art is through observing your environment. Have your students make daily observations about the environment around them writing descriptions using their five-senses and capturing their observations through sketches. Have students come up with a question about their observations and develop a science investigation to explore.  (5th – 12th)

Shadowbox Showcase
Teach your students how to classify and present science in a creative way! Have your students collect shells from the local beach (or purchase them). In small groups, have the students group the shells together into different categories – this can be color, shape, species, etc. – let the students decide. Once the shells have been divided, have each group explain why they decided to classify their shells a certain way. For older students, have the groups identify the shells and write a descriptive paragraph about their items. Finally, have the students create a shadowbox display. Shadowboxes can be purchased from a variety of vendors or create your own . Put the shadowboxes on display in the classroom or school hallway. (5th – 8th)

Gyotaku: Fish Printing
Gyotaku, the ancient Japanese art of fish printing, historically was used to record the size and species of fish brought in from fishing boats. Fish printing is now a popular art form and can be used to teach students about the anatomy of marine organisms – sharks, boney fish, crabs…you name it! You can use real fish or purchase rubber fish from Acorn Naturalist . See how teachers have used gyotaku in their lessons by visiting . (5th – 12th)

Nature Photography
Have your students observe their school environment by using digital or disposable cameras. Let the students explore school grounds and capture their local environment through photography. Suggested themes to take pictures of include: trees, plants and bushes, insects, evidence of mammals (tracks), and areas where stewardship projects could happen: butterfly gardens, bird sanctuaries, and nature trails. After the students take photos, have them print them out and put the photos in their nature journal (see “Lesson Links” for more information). Assign each student or group of students to identify what is n their picture using field journals and have them write a description (be creative!) of what they discover. For the stewardship option, have the students develop a plan that creates habitat (i.e., butterfly garden) or  educates (i.e., nature trail). (5th – 12th)