Amazing Oysters Pop-Up Reef Lesson

July 23, 2010 by Krissy

Oysters are truly amazing creatures.  One mature oyster can filter up to 60 gallons of water a day and oyster reefs provide vital habitat for hundreds of bay critters.

For the same amount of space, oyster reefs can have 50 times the surface area of a flat bottom. These reefs build up, just like coral reefs, to provide nooks and crannies for worms, snails, sea squirts, sponges, small crabs, fish and even baby oysters to live in.

So the oyster reef ecosystem makes the perfect local subject to teach your students about topics like biodiversity, food webs, adaptations and predator-prey relationships.

A great starting point to study oyster reefs is to use the Amazing Oysters educational activity.  In this lesson, your students will construct their very own miniature ecosystem reef.

They will learn about the critters that make the reef their home and why reefs are such a vital habitat.  Students will also discover the threats to oyster reefs including disease (MSX and Dermo), pollution and over harvesting (waterman used to call oysters Chesapeake Gold).

To complete this activity you will need the following materials:
- Copies of the reef diagram
- Construction paper
- Scissors
- Pencils or pens
- Glue
- Crayons, markers or colored pencils
- Rulers

Get started teaching about the Amazing Oyster by downloading a copy of Amazing Oysters (pdf) or for hard copy call (804) 698-4320 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Once you complete this activity with your class let us know how it went or how you would improve the lesson by leaving a comment below.

Additional Resources
Oyster Teaching Resources - Bay Backpack
Oyster Field Studies - Bay Backpack]]>

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dvilleoysters says:

What a great activity! That is one of the most creative ways I have seen to educate children about our favorite animals. Great post!

The Best Chesapeake Bay Oysters are grown on our family farm!

Quality & Sustainability

Noomi says:

I freakin’ LOVE pop up art! I became obsessed with it when I was in Tokyo in 2007 and found myself in this 3 story kirigami/origami book store (don’t ask me where, can’t remember - they’re everywhere though) and bought a whole bunch of them.

If you’re into paper art, Eric Gjerde, a former mathematician is one of the most inspiring origami artists I’ve ever seen. This guy is insane! Google him, I bought his new book and it doesnt disappoint:)