Educational resources and activities - saltmarsh and tidal flats

Classroom and outdoor activities

The DEP have developed a range of classroom activities and an outdoor interpretive walk focused on saltmarsh and tidal flats with support from the Australian Government's Caring for Our Country. The material is most suitable for primary school students. A single classroom activity or the interpretive walk can be presented alone. However, the material has been designed to complement the interpretive walk, and if delivered together will enable students to gain a good understanding of the ecology and importance of saltmarsh and tidal flats to the broader estuary.

Classroom activities

Saltmarsh introduction (Grades 1 – 10)

The DEP website provides a general introduction to saltmarsh habitats in the Derwent estuary. In small groups ask students to explore the website to answer a range of general exploratory questions.

What animal is that? (Grades 1 - 6)

Students will learn about plant and animal species that are common to saltmarsh and tidal flats, and research the internet to find their niche, relationship with other organisms, and sensitivity to changes in their environment.

Discovery cards (Grades 1 - 6)

If planning an excursion to saltmarsh or tidal flats (Lauderdale Saltmarsh Discovery Trail) undertake this classroom activity before and after the field trip to promote scientific enquiry. Write questions about the habitat to be visited, revisit them in the field, and also when back in the classroom to see if they found the answers.

Create a food web and integrated diagram (Grades 1 - 6)

Within any ecosystem there is an intricate web of relationships between living things. Activity guidelines are provided for different age groups to guide student through the creation of their own food web to demonstrate how energy passes through an ecosystem and the feeding relationships between organisms. Here is an example of a food web diagram.

DEP Information Kit - for loan

Borrow the DEP saltmarsh info kit and engage the class on a discovery of the weird and wonderful world of saltmarsh and tidal flats. Learn about rare moths, secretive birds and mammals, and how plants and animals have adapted to cope with extreme environmental conditions.

The info kit contains:

  • 10 Info cards on biodiversity, unique species and key threats
  • A2 poster- food web and saltmarsh processes
  • A1 magnetic food web game
  • Accompanying teacher notes

Outdoor activities

Lauderdale saltmarsh discovery trail (all ages)

Take the Lauderdale Saltmarsh Discovery Trail – Follow 9 discovery points along a mapped walking trail and read from a detailed information sheet to witness firsthand the unique world of saltmarshes. Discover ancient miniature forests, salt tolerant plants, a diverse invertebrate community, and the threat of sea level rise, all in one short walk. Incorporate the ‘Wildlife Detective’ (coming soon) and ‘Sensory Exploration’ activity to engage students further in this outdoor classroom. Also visit the Dyson Road Saltmarsh, ‘Saltmarsh interpretive sign’ and ‘Coastal erosion interpretive sign’ in Lauderdale.

Sensory exploration (Grades 3 - 6)

There are a number of suggested locations along the Lauderdale Discovery Trail where students/participants should be encouraged to look, listen, smell, and touch but not damage. Follow these guidelines to run an interactive activity engaging as many of the senses as possible. This will broaden ones perspective of a saltmarsh, and how animals live in this environment.

Wildlife Detective (Grades 1 – 4)

On a field sheet students/participants can make sketches and take notes about what they find and where. By being a detective everyone can try and piece together the users of the saltmarsh by the traces they find. Clues may come in the form of footprints, feathers, shells, or maybe animal scats/poo.

Seal pup

Restoring and promoting the Derwent estuary