Lessons Integrating Information and Communication Technology within a Curriculum Area


Darnell Young (CBVRSB), Bernie LeBlanc (SRSB), Mona MacNeil (CBVRSB)


Field Trip to an Eastern Canadian Shore

Grade Level

Grade 11 Science (This activity can be adapted to suit any grade between 7 and 12.)

Subject Area

Oceans 11 and Biology 11

Overview of unit/lessons/activities (assumptions of prior knowledge/learning)

The materials for this activity were developed for use with students visiting Dominion Beach, in Cape Breton. It should be noted that Dominion Beach has access to a sandy shore as well as a tidal saltwater marsh. Materials may require adaptations for other locations.

Before starting to plan for this field trip, a teacher should first visit these sites:

These sites will help you plan and organize a successful field trip.

This field trip can only be carried out during low tide. To check the tide levels, you can use this website: http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/english/Canada.shtml and select the region you are planning to visit.

This field trip can be adapted for any local environment. Since I go to Dominion Beach in Cape Breton, I show my students an aerial view of the area using Google Earth: (If this is not already on your computer, go to the website http://earth.google.com/ and follow the instructions for downloading and installing this software.)
Go under the HELP file and find "Getting Started" under the Featured help topics. In this you will find any questions you might have with answers under "installing & uninstalling"

Google Earth combines the power of Google Search with satellite imagery, maps, terrain, and buildings to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips.

    • Fly to your house. Just type in an address, press Search, and you'll zoom right in.
    • Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels.
    • Get driving directions.
    • Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings, or look up to explore the sky
    • Save and share your searches and favorites.

Correlations to ICT and curriculum outcomes

Through this assignment, all of the Essential Graduation Learnings can be addressed. The Technological Competence EGL is focused on as students are asked to complete their final report on either MSWord, PowerPoint or by creating a webpage. Students will use the Internet to find information for their project.

The Ocean Field Trip project is an invaluable assessment tool as it gathers information using a full range of students' learning styles. Assessment includes: checklists, anecdotal records, field research, web research, technological competencies, graphing, charting, observations, performance tasks, self-assessments and written assignments.

According to the Draft document for Oceans 11 (1998) outcomes from the following modules are covered; The Marine biome, Aquaculture and Our Coastal Zones-Managing Their Use.

Projected timeline for preparation and for carrying out activities

Spend two or three classes explaining the history of the beach, what students will find there, and explaining the jobs students will do. The field trip will take between two and four hours to complete. Teachers can have students complete the assignment in class, or assign it for homework.

Equipment Requirements: (computers, software, etc)

A suggested list of equipment for the field trip is provided:
           Word format          pdf format

After the field trip, students will need access to a computer with Microsoft Office or another office package for their assignments.
They will specifically be using word processor and presentation software (Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint)

Graphing can be done using EITHER:
Microsoft Excel OR
Create a Graph (http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx) This site is provided through the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. Students seem to find this site less complicated than using Excel.

Teaching materials provided (Blacklines, worksheets, templates, teacher materials)

Printable instruction sheet for the various activities:
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Equipment list:
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Questions for students to answer:
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Rubric for assessment:
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Activity and recording sheets for various activities:

Salt Marsh Sediment Word format pdf format
Salt Marsh Organisms Word format pdf format
Rocky Shore Animals Word format pdf format
Environmental Factors Word format pdf format
Gem Clam Transect Line Word format pdf format
Barnacle Transect Line Word format pdf format


Resources available for teacher/student use (websites, references, etc)

The Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History booklet: "The Northeastern Cape Breton Shore" (part of the Environmental Series, published in 1972). This manual can be used for background information on the species which are present, the ecology and the explorations that students will be conducting.

By the Sea: A Guide to the Coastal Zone of Atlantic Canada (index): http://www.glf.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/os/bysea-enmer/index-e.php

By the Sea (Activities): http://www.glf.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/os/bysea-enmer/activities-activites-e.php (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

The Rocky Shore - NS Museum Info materials: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/infos/rocky/index.htm (NS Museum of Natural History)

Seaside Live Habitats: http://www.seasidelive.ca/oceansliveEnglish/habitat.htm (created by the NS Museum of Natural History for the Virtual Museum of Canada)

Habitats section of publication Natural History of Nova Scotia: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mnh/nature/nhns/habitats.htm (NS Museum of Natural History)

Boston Harbor Seaside Educator's Guide: http://neaq.org/ >> Education and Activities >> Classroom Resources >> Teachers Guides (New England Aquarium)

Tide Tables and Predictions: http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/english/Canada.shtml (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Google Earth: http://earth.google.com/

Citing Sources (APA): http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

Online Citation Creation (MLA or APA): http://www.bibme.org/

Create a Graph: http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx (National Center for Education Statistics)

Biomes of the World: http://www.mbgnet.net/index.html  (Missouri Botanical Garden)


Detailed instructions for each activity or lesson (teacher notes, activity information, learning strategies, teacher role, student roles)

This field trip can only be carried out during LOW TIDE to explore the various tidal zones.

Plants: Students will mark off one meter quadrants in areas of plant growth (each square should be representative of the plants growing in the area). Students will identify each plant and record its frequency in their area of study. Students should be shown examples of the plants they will encounter before the field trip so that they can identify them. It may also be a good idea to provide students with a field guide of plants. If students are unable to identify a plant they can ask the instructor, or take a piece of it back to the school and identify it later. Students should also walk the shores looking for samples of seaweeds.

Salt Marsh Sediment: Students will need a 2ft x 2ft strainer and a shovel. When digging in the sand you should look for areas of dark discoloration (this means that a filter feeder is living in the sand nearby).

Salt Marsh Organisms: Students will need to wear flip-flops, old sneakers or high rubber boots. You will need to have at least on 2ft x 2ft strainer. If a teacher is unsure of the different fauna then a field guide will be useful.

Rocky Shore Animals: The focus of this study is on periwinkles (common, northern rough and dwarf species) and the organisms occupy this same habitat. Have the students break the shore into three zones (upper, middle and lower shores) and have them count the number of each type of periwinkles in each zone. Also, have the students count the number of dog whelks in each zone (a natural predator of periwinkles). Students will graph their results and try to explain why periwinkles are distributed between the three zones of the shore.

Environmental Factors: Ensure you have discussed weather conditions with students prior to going on the field trip. A complete weather forecast should be reviewed. Students should record environmental factors such as the temperature of air, water, and soil for the various parts of the beach being studied. They should also record cloud conditions, the presence of pollutants or litter, and the presence of other forms of life, particularly mammals and birds.

Gem Clam Transect Line: The teacher should make marks in the sand at every meter. Students will take a small scoop of sand from each marking and drop it into a spaghetti strainer. When the sand it sifted (it will need to be done in water) the gem clams appear. This activity can be the most time consuming so start it first. Have students use buckets of water to prevent them from walking to the shore to sift after every scoop. It is a good idea to have two or three students digging and alternating between marks in the sand to shorten this task.

Barnacle Transect Line: In this case, the sampling should be done as barnacles per square metre, and you should have some method of measuring the area quickly. The transect line should go directly from the low tide mark to at least the high tide mark. Have students count the number of barnacles found in each of the zones on the shore. The results will be graphed and explained in their final assignment.

Student products expected

Students are expected to pass in a completed assignment to answer the questions given:
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Students will then work in groups of 2 to 3 to create a PowerPoint presentation about the information learned as part of the field trip. This presentation should incorporate the information they collected, along with photographs of the site and specimens gathered. Any information included in the presentation should be carefully researched and all references should be cited correctly.

Each teacher may choose to set limits or specific requirements for the presentation, or it could be assigned as a presentation to include all information gathered at the site and all answers to the questions addressed in the assignment.

Samples (include teacher notes, assessment information, student work if available)

Logistics (organization, grouping, management issues, access to technology)

Before the field trip students should be broken into groups that will be responsible to complete one of the above mentioned tasks. Upon completion of the field trip students will submit their data to the teacher, who will then photocopy it and pass it out to all students. Students can now work on the final assignment independently or with partners (at the teacher's discretion).


  1. THINK ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE: What are your objectives? How can you integrate your field trip into a larger inquiry? What frameworks and standards are you addressing?

  2. CHOOSE AND SURVEY A SITE: Choose a habitat to match your learning objectives. Select a specific site. Consult a tide chart. Contact the site. Survey the site yourself. Determine travel logistics.

  3. SELECT ACTIVITIES AND EQUIPMENT: Plan classroom and site visit activities. When selecting gear, "less is more." Bring the basics: small buckets, hand lenses and field guides. Supplement with items chosen for specific activities.

  4. PLAN FOR GROUP SAFETY AND SITE STEWARDSHIP: Have a group management and safety plan. Consider low impact exploration policies.

  5. PREPARE STUDENTS AND CHAPERONES: Incorporate pre-visit activities and skills into your curriculum. Create an itinerary for the day of the site visit.

  6. ORIENT THE GROUP TO THE SITE WHEN YOU ARRIVE: Provide a habitat overview. Review safety, site stewardship and animal handling procedures. Set boundaries.

  7. IMPLEMENT IN-THE-FIELD TEACHING STRATEGIES: Explore in small groups. Regroup and focus with stations or worksheets. Pay attention to group energy and needs.

  8. MODEL INQUIRY: Share your excitement and curiosity, it's contagious! Foster close observation skills. Ask lots of questions. Be willing to admit that you don't know all the answers.

  9. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: Have a bag of tricks to fill time or deal with contingencies.

  10. CONCLUDE WITH A WRAP UP: Allow time for closure and/or follow up. Inventory equipment, count heads and survey the site for gear and trash before you leave.

    Taken from http://neaq.org/scilearn/teachers/seaside.html which can be adapted to suit the class or the sites.

Assessment information (e.g., rubrics for products and/or process)

See rubric provided.
        Word format        pdf format

Possible extensions

This assignment covers topics that include: tides, marine ecosystems, food chains, wave and beach erosion, currents and sea shore lands forms. At the end of the field trip teachers can provide the students with garbage bags and have a beach sweep.

Adaptations for students requiring additional support

The questions for the assignment can be adapted to any grade level, and teachers can assist students to answer the questions to fit with the academic ability of the class.

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