Infusion of Literacy into the Science Curriculum
Book Information:
Copyright Year
Freshwater Alphabet Book
Jerry Pallotta
Charlesbridge Publishing
Come take a swim with 27 freshwater creatures from around
the world. Meet a fish that has no eyes and one that has four!
Get to know an eel that carries enough electricity to light up a
light bulb and a glacier-dwelling worm with blood that works
like antifreeze. This exquisite and fact-filled introduction to
freshwater dwellers features full-color illustrations throughout.
Arlington Central Library; Amazon for purchase
How can the book content be infused into the science curriculum?
Grade Level
Life Processes, Living Systems, Earth Patterns, Cycles,
and Change, Earth Resources
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Life Processes
The student will investigate and understand that
adaptations allow animals to satisfy life needs and respond to
the environment. Key concepts include
a) behavioral adaptations; and
b) physical adaptations.
Living Systems
The student will investigate and understand
relationships among organisms in aquatic and terrestrial food
chains. Key concepts include
a) producer, consumer, decomposer;
b) herbivore, carnivore, omnivore; and
c) predator and prey.
The student will investigate and understand that
ecosystems support a diversity of plants and animals that share
limited resources. Key concepts include
a) aquatic ecosystems;
c) populations and communities; and
Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change
The student will investigate and understand basic
patterns and cycles occurring in nature. Key concepts include
a) patterns of natural events such as day and night, seasonal
changes, simple phases of the moon, and tides;
b) animal life cycles; and
The student will investigate and understand the
water cycle and its relationship to life on Earth. Key concepts
a) there are many sources of water on Earth;
c) the water cycle involves several processes;
d) water is essential for living things; and
Earth Resources
The student will investigate and understand that
natural events and human influences can affect the survival of
species. Key concepts include
a) the interdependency of plants and animals;
Grade 4
Living Systems
The student will investigate and understand how
plants and animals, including humans, in an ecosystem interact
with one another and with the nonliving components in the
ecosystem. Key concepts include
a) plant and animal adaptations;
b) organization of populations, communities, and ecosystems
and how they interrelate;
c) flow of energy through food webs;
d) habitats and niches;
e) changes in an organism’s niche at various stages in its life
cycle; and
Earth Resources
The student will investigate and understand
important Virginia natural resources. Key concepts include
a) watersheds and water resources;
Grade 5
Living Systems
b) classification of organisms using physical characteristics,
body structures, and behavior of the organism; and
c) traits of organisms that allow them to survive in their
Sample Activities:
Grade 3
Grade 4
Salt and Freshwater Animals
Make a salt water solution and dye it with food coloring. Fill the jar half full
of salt solution and then slowly pour plain tap water on top of the solution.
The salt water will stay at the bottom of the solution because it is heavier.
Release a couple of small brine shrimp (check a pet store) and a goldfish
into the solution. The shrimp will go to the seawater bottom while the
goldfish will stay at the top (freshwater).
Create a Wetland Scene
In this lesson, students will learn about the importance of wetlands. They
will learn about the different types of freshwater wetlands, and the things
that threaten their health.
Materials Required:
Computer with Internet access
Crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc.
Pens/pencils and paper
Materials for creating board games (cardboard, construction paper,
Freshwater Alphabet Book
Students will
learn basic information about wetlands;
identify some of the plants and animals that live in a wetland, and
how they have adapted to their wetland habitat;
study a specific type of wetland; and
create a board game to teach other students about wetlands.
A wetland is an area in which water is present at least part of the time,
generally for at least a portion of the plant growing season. In addition, the
soils of a wetland differ considerably from nearby or surrounding uplands.
Hydric soils, found in wetlands, are wet, low in oxygen, and often black
with muck. Finally, wetlands support plants, called hydrophytes, which
have adapted to living in wet, oxygen-poor soils. Together, these water,
soil, and vegetation characteristics make up a broad definition for
wetlands that is used by most scientists.
Wetlands support a vast number of plant and animal species adapted to
live in a soggy and oxygen-poor environment year round, as well as some
wildlife species that spend part of their time there, seeking food, water,
cover, or places to raise young—crucial elements of habitat.
While scientists classify wetlands in a number of ways, two major divisions
of wetlands are saltwater and freshwater wetlands. Plants and animals in
saltwater wetlands must deal with the constant movement of tides and the
associated fluctuations in salinity, or level of suspended salt in the water.
Examples of saltwater wetlands are salt marshes, tidal flats, and
mangrove swamps.
In this lesson, students will be learning about freshwater wetlands. There
are many types of freshwater wetlands. The most widespread of all
wetlands are the freshwater marshes, which can be found throughout the
United States. There are different types of freshwater marshes,
determined by the depth of their waters. Many scientists believe
freshwater marshes are the most productive ecosystems on Earth; they
provide food, water, and shelter, and act as nurseries for young fish, birds,
insects, amphibians, and so on.
Three more types of freshwater wetlands are bogs, swamps, and vernal
pools. Bogs are full of peat, which is a thick layer of organic material that
forms when plants and other organisms die and fall into the water.
Sphagnum mosses often cover the top layer of bogs, and cranberries can
be found growing in bogs. Pitcher plants and sundews compensate for the
difficulty in absorbing nutrients and acidic, slowly decomposing bog soils
by capturing and digesting insects. Moose, bear, deer, and many other
animals visit bogs at different times of year for food, water and cover.
Swamps are either forested or shrubby areas whose soils are covered
with standing water during the winter, but may dry out during parts of the
growing season. Bald cypress and tupelo trees are often found in
southern swamps. The plants in shrubby swamps may vary, but include
willows and buttonbush. Alligators and cottonmouth snakes live in
southern swamps, and panthers, foxes, deer, and raccoons find many
habitat elements in swamps.
Finally, vernal pools are temporary wetlands that appear with snowmelt or
rainfall in the spring and fall, but often vanish as the summer months
arrive. Their vegetation varies greatly, and they are crucial habitat for
many amphibians.
Ask students what they think of when they hear the word "wetland." Ask
them if they have ever visited a marsh, swamp, or bog, or have ever
watched tadpoles swim in small puddles. Ask them what they think some
of the things are that make a wetland a true wetland? (Wetlands are
covered in water at least part of the year, they have special soils, and
support certain kinds of plants that can live in these conditions.) Write
some of their answers on a chalk or dry-erase board. Discuss their
answers as a class.
Show photographs or drawings of different kinds of wetlands from the
following Web sites: eNature: Wetlands Life Zone
MBGNet: Biomes—Wetlands
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Wetlands
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: National Image Library (search for
Ask if students recognize any of the plants or animals in any of the
pictures. Help students identify the plants and animals in different scenes.
Ask what differences they see between these wetlands. What are some
similarities? Explain that saltwater wetlands are near the ocean, so are
saltier and experience tides, while freshwater wetlands are inland and
contain water that many plants and animals can use easily.
Have students break into small groups. Have each group choose a
different type of wetland (it can be a freshwater marsh like the one in the
story, but they shouldn't use all the same organisms described) and
research on different plants and animals found there, including
adaptations the animals have for dealing with wetland conditions (talk
about adaptations ahead of time if students are unfamiliar with the
concept). Students may use regional field guides or the following Web
resources to help in their research:
eNature: Wetlands Life Zone
Enchanted Learning: Freshwater Marsh Animal Printouts
New Hampshire Public Television: Freshwater Marshes
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Wetlands
USGS: Florida Ecosystems
Each group should create visual displays for a presentation of a trip
through the wetland they are discussing. They will then lead the class on
an imaginary trip through their wetland, stopping to explain how at least
five plants and/or animals have adapted to the different conditions of the
Ask students what they have learned about wetlands. Why are they
important? Why should we work hard to save them? What kinds of things
might threaten wetland.

Freshwater Alphabet Book - Arlington Public Schools