Coastal Resilience Education Toolkit

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Coastal Resilience Education Toolkit cover page
Estuary Explorers Coastal Resilience Education Toolkit
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The Coastal Resilience Education Toolkit has multiple uses and can be utilized as-is or adapted for virtual learning and at-home teaching environments. Parents, educators, and students will discover a myriad of ways to learn about the critical environmental concerns facing coastal or waterfront regions. The seven-part curriculum builds students’ understandings of an urban estuary, the effects of climate change, and what can be done to keep our local waterfronts healthy while we prepare for the future.

With detailed lesson plans, interactive activities, curated links to multimedia resources, and tips for adapting these resources across grades 3 through 12, this resilience education tool kit provides teachers, students and parents with the necessary materials for meaningful environmental education in any setting. The additional multimedia resources included help teach complex topics in a virtual setting.

The Coastal Resilience Education Toolkit guides teachers and students through seven activities that anchor a progressive exploration of our estuary and the means to protect it:

1. The unit begins with The Human Impacts Game, a fun illustration of the interactions of humans with our harbor, customized for an urban estuary. By following game cards to remove or add “fish” on an “estuary” playing board, students think critically about the role our communities play in a healthy ecosystem.

2. After establishing this ecosystem context, students will explore The Mystery of the Disappearing Shells, an activity modeling the effects of ocean acidification, in which greenhouse gases change water chemistry and reduce shell formation, increasing the mortality of many marine creatures.

3. Become an Ecological Engineer gives students several hands-on examples to try for protecting a model shoreline, guiding them to identify the benefits of green infrastructure and draw conclusions about coastal preservation and restoration. The extension links provided encourage young citizens to engage with community leaders.

4. Students evaluate their communities' qualities of resilience in the Neighborhood Water Budget activity. By creating a map of their community, students gain understanding of how their neighborhood can handle flooding and begin to think of ways to improve green infrastructure around where they live.

5. After focusing in on local resilience, students will look through a more global scope with Tallying Up Temperature Rise. This game helps students visualize the effects, however small, our choices have on the growing climate crisis and see how actions collectively affect the world around us.

6. Water Quality Testing at Home focuses the conversation of climate change on the water. Students construct a thermometer to test the temperature of water and a hydrometer to see how salty it is with materials that can be found in the home, By comparing results, they'll see how ocean chemistry plays a role in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary.

7. The Estuary Explorers Waterfront Field Lab Lesson Plan takes learning outside and applies these concepts to the local waterfront. Students measure different parameters of harbor water and evaluate what can make their community more resilient in the wake of climate change.