Learn where different shoreline organisms live when you comb the beach and make a map of the results. You'll be surprised at what you find with this scientific beach activity.
What You'll Need:
- Tide table
- Large ball of string
- Adult partner
- Brightly colored bandannas or scraps of cloth
- Graph paper
Step 1: Get a tide table from a sporting goods store or the Internet and look up the next convenient low tide. Arrive at a rocky shoreline an hour before low tide.
Step 2: Find a spot above high tide where you can tie one end of a string to a rock, tree, or a stake. Tie a bandanna to the spot so it's visible.
Step 3: Run the string toward the ocean, stopping as close to the water as you can safely go. Use a rock to hold down the other end of the string.
Step 4: Starting at the upper end, furthest from the water, write down the
most common organisms you see. Work your way slowly down the string. When you see different animals, stop at that spot and mark it with another bandanna.
Step 5: Look back to the first marker and estimate how far down you've dropped in elevation. (Estimate the vertical drop, not how far you've walked.) Continue down the string, adding a bandanna each time you see a different organism.
Step 6: When you reach the end of the string, wind the string and retrieve the bandannas. As you wind, measure the distance between markers and write that down in your notebook.
Step 7: Get a large piece of graph paper. Let each square represent one foot of shoreline. Use your measurements of vertical distance and the distance between markers to help you draw the shoreline. Then draw in the animals of each zone.
You can use the same mapping techniques to map sandy shores. Rather than using a string, mark a straight line in the sand.
Not all the animals you can spot along the shore are tiny. Keep reading to learn how you may be able to see some of the largest creatures on the planet!