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Water Ways Lesson Plan #2: The Seasonal Cycle: Maritime Communities, Nature and the Seasons

Objective: Students will examine the effect of seasons on their own lives, and on the lives of people in Mid-Atlantic Maritime communities and elsewhere. They will explore how such changes as pollution, greater population density of maritime areas, and changing weather patterns effect the seasonal cycle.

Subjects: environmental science, Social Studies, language arts, geography

Tools: Access to Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities on-line exhibition; Seasonal Cycle blank chart (available at the Louisiana Voices web site, in Unit 9, Part 1, Lesson 1, Seasonal Round Worksheet, and see below for link).


1. Ask the students to reflect on what how their own lives are effected by the seasons. Give each student a "Seasonal Cycle" chart (available for print-out at the Louisiana Voices web site at: ) and have them fill it out with their own information, no matter how tentative at this point.

2. Listen to the following audio clip on the Water Ways site:

Pete Ames, recreational fisherman and fishing rod maker (in Recreational Fishing and Boating, Fishing Crafts).

Fill in a "Seasonal Round" chart showing what types of fish are caught off of Long Island, New York throughout the year. How does Pete Ames explain why different fish are caught in different months off Long Island?

3. Pick one of the fish or birds in the "Types of Mid-Atlantic Fish" (under "Commercial Fishing from Water to Table") and "Common Waterfowl" (under "Marsh Life") sections of the Water Ways site. Do more research on the seasonal pattern of this animal?

Think about:

Does this animal migrate? If so, when and from where to where?

How and when does the animal interact with fishermen, hunters, and tourists in the Mid-Atlantic region?

How important is the interaction between this animal and people to the seasonal cycle in the Mid-Atlantic? In what ways (for food, economically, marking the passing of time in the region, etc.)?

Write a paragraph about how the seasons affect the animal and its interaction with fishermen, hunters, or tourists in the Mid-Atlantic region.

4. Listen to the audio or view the video of at least two of the following clips from the Water Ways site. How do the seasons effect fishermen? How have changes in the Mid-Atlantic region, such as over fishing, disease of certain fish, weather patterns, etc. effected the seasonal cycle for fishermen? Compare and contrast what two of the fishermen say about the relationship of their work to seasonal patterns.

*Danny Bowden (Chincoteague, Virginia)
*Carl Tarnow (Tuckerton, New Jersey)
*Randy Rouse (Shore Memories, North Carolina)
*"Pie" Edwards (Rock Hall, Maryland)
*"Binky" Dize (Smith Island, Maryland)

5. Have students research seasonal festivals in the Mid-Atlantic coastal region, and find a Festival for each season.

Clues: Shad Festivals in the Spring, Crab Feasts in the summer, Waterfowl Festivals in the Fall, Oyster Festivals in the Fall/Winter (months with "r" in them)

Explore why these particular festivals are held in this particular time of year.

Write a paragraph of explanation or create a poster for the event that incorporates the reason.

6. Have students return to their own "Seasonal Cycle" charts and fill them out more carefully, thinking about some of the things they have learned. Have each write an essay to explain their seasonal chart, with a paragraph or two discussing changes that have happened in their lives or in their part of the country that have effected the seasonal cycle.


Pick one community along the coast, either using one of the Ports of Call from the Water Ways on-line exhibition, or another community of the student's choice. Research how changes in population density, weather patterns, over fishing, fish diseases, or other changes have effected the seasonal cycle there.

Create the idea for a seasonal festival in your community, or report on a seasonal festival that already happens in your community. See the web sites for the Lambertville Shad Festival or the Core Sound Waterfowl Festival for ideas. Write an essay describing the festival, and what plant, animal, food, etc. is celebrated at the Festival.

Pick another region of the country Research the seasonal patterns of life there. Fill in a Seasonal Cycle chart for this region. Compare the student's own seasonal cycle chart to the seasonal cycle in the other region.

Sample lesson plans:

Where Does Your Fish Come From?
Seasons in Maritime Communities
Weather and the Water

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