Merriam Webster defines tide pool as "an area of water that is left on a beach after the tide has fallen." When a student is on an Inside the Outdoors field trip at Crystal Cover State Park, they define tide pools a little differently. It the taste of the salt in the tidal mist. It is the smell of the ocean and the creatures living in the intertidal zone. Its a tiny red crab and a limpet and how animals adapt to live in one of the harshest ecosystems in Southern California.
Inside the Outdoors programs at Crystal Cove bring science to life and connect students to one of the few protected stretches of coastline in Orange County. While at Crystal Cove, students explore the coastal bluffs, examine the sandy beach, and investigate the tidepools. Their textbooks come to life as they become scientists. While at the park, students experience:
Students learn about the environmental factors that affect tidepool organisms. Using clue cards and pictures to find living things in the tidepools, they discover the adaptations of various organisms in the intertidal ecosystem.
Students learn about the major phyla of invertebrates found in tidepools. They classify shells and preserved specimens using common characteristics and learn the life history of some of the animals in the tidepools.
Working in teams, students discover the functions of several organisms in this ecosystem and classify them according to their notes. Students also learn how these animals and plants interact and depend on each other for survival.
Students classify several objects they find on the beach as natural or unnatural and discuss the origin of the materials and their function, if any, on the beach.
Students use their creative talent to build a creature in the sand that has the characteristics of one of the invertebrate phyla.
Many of the students who visit Crystal Cove live a few miles from the beach but have never seen the ocean. Inside the Outdoors programs change that, creating memorable experiences that build the foundation for a life-long love of science and a better understanding of how humans interact with the environment.
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