Surf Clams: Latitude & Growth

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2 Explore: Students plot the growth data (age vs. length) and model outputs from 50 minutes growth curves. Make Sense: Students use model outputs from different regions of the mid- 20 minutes Atlantic to observe differences in growth with respect to latitude. Total: 80 minutes Audience Late elementary and middle school students (5 th -8 th grade). New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards - Science East Coast MARE Grade Content Statement CPI# 6 The number of organisms and populations an ecosystem can support depends on the biotic C.2 resources available and on abiotic factors. 8 Evidence is generated and evaluated as part of building and refining models and B.1 explanations. 8 Mathematics and technology are used to gather, analyze, and communicate results B.2 8 Carefully collected evidence is used to construct and defend arguments B.3 8 Scientific reasoning is used to support scientific conclusions B.4 8 Science involves practicing productive social interactions with peers, such as partner talk, whole-group discussions, and small-group work D.1 Preparation (15 minutes) 1. Write the motivating questions on the board: How do scientists observe changes in the population with respect to geography? How does latitude affect a how individuals grow? 2. Make class copies of student worksheets for each student (at the end of this write-up). 3. Make copies of the different surf clam sampling areas map (at the end of this write-up). 4. Make or project the Class Surf Clam Data Table on the board: Maximum Length (how big) Maximum Age (how old) Off New Jersey Southern Delmarva Peninsula 5. Make or project the graphs on the board, but make sure it is hidden from the students. 2

3 3

5 Q. What patterns do you observe in the data? East Coast MARE Q. Is there a relationship between age and size of Atlantic surf clams off of New Jersey? How old do they get? How big do they get? 5. After a few minutes, have the students come back together and share their observations as a class. Make sure to have the students support their statements of the patterns and trends by stating what evidence they are using. 6. As the conversation is winding down explain to them that scientists use this data to create a model of how surf clams grow. Show them the graph entitled 2008 Surf Clam Data and Model Output (Off New Jersey) with the predicted growth curve line. 7. Explain to the students that in order for scientists to understand differences within a species across an area they must take samples of the animals in different locations. The fisheries scientists that collected these data off of New Jersey also collected samples off of the southern Delmarva Peninsula. 8. Have the students work with a partner to plot the southern Delmarva Peninsula data from the data table. Remind them that their graphs should look similar to the New Jersey graph you discussed as a class. They should plot each individual clam by putting Age (Years) on the x-axis and Length (mm) on the y- axis. 9. When the partner groups are done plotting the data, have them find another partner group and share their graphs. While they are comparing their graphs, have them talk about: Q. What patterns a can you observe in the data? Q. Is there a relationship between age and size of Atlantic surf clams off of the southern Delmarva Peninsula? How old to they get? How big do they get? 10. After a few minutes bring the students back together as a class to have them share with one another what they found in their graphs of the southern Delmarva Peninsula. Make sure to have the students support their statements of the patterns and trends by stating what evidence they are using. (Note It would be helpful to project the S. Delmarva graph above at this point for the students to all look at together.) Make Sense (20 minutes) 1. After a few minutes of discussion about the graphs from the southern Delmarva Peninsula, tell the students that we are going to interpret and analyze the data from both locations together as a class. 2. Project the 2008 Surf Clam Growth Model Data graph on the board. Explain which lines are from which locations. (Note It might also help to show the students the map of the study locations as well.) 3. Have the students discuss with a partner what patterns they observe in the data using the following discussion prompts: Q. Compare the two locations, what patterns a can you observe in the data? Are they similar? Are they different? Q. Is there a relationship between age and size of Atlantic surf clams throughout the mid-atlantic? Is it the exact same relationship at different locations or are there differences? 4. After a few minutes, bring everyone back together as a class to discuss that patterns they observed. Make sure to have the students support their statements of the patterns and trends by stating what evidence they are using. 5. As the conversation slows, ask the students to determine the maximum age (how old) and maximum size (how big) the surf clams get to be for both off of New Jersey and the southern Delmarva Peninsula. As 5

7 Surf Clam Sampling Areas & Data Tables East Coast MARE Figure 1. Sampling areas (strata) of surf clams off of New Jersey (21) and the southern Delmarva Peninsula (9) from NOAA Fisheries Federal Stock Assessment Surveys. 7

8 Table 1. Data of surf clams age and size from samples collected off of New Jersey (stratum 21) from NOAA Fisheries Federal Stock Assessment Surveys. Age (Year) Length (mm)

9 Table 2. Data of surf clams age and size from samples collected off of southern Delmarva Peninsula (stratum 9) from NOAA Fisheries Federal Stock Assessment Surveys. Age (Year) Length (mm)

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