Environmental Science - 09

8:00 - Opening

8:05 - 8:15 Daily observations #1 GO HERE for Data Entry

Session #1: Penrose Beach Reflections Returned (8:15 - 8:30)

(*) Please keep in mind that the beach sketch was important. Note the part of the instructions where I said someone who has never been to Penrose should be able to use your sketch as a reference.

(*) Notice also the emphasis on naming plants AND animals (plural for both)

(*) Also, please note that in your personal reflection that it is important not only to state why something worked for you or was interesting but that you also need to note WHY that is the case

(*) Same notation for why something didn't work for you too.

SESSION #1: Estuaries (8:15 - 9:30)

Please go get your chromies!

OPENING QUESTION: Work with your group to name at least 5 cities on the WEST COAST of the United States.


  • Estuary (River/Ocean boundary)
  • Brackish (Mixture of salt/fresh water)


Let's take a gander and see if and/or how well Google Earth performs on our chromies (I think it will kinda barf, but let's check for sure)

Go and take a look at each of the West Coast cities you listed in the opening question and:

  • Check to see if a river runs through that city to the ocean
  • Look at the physical characteristics there, is that area a marsh/wetland/delta or is it something else?

I suggested that in Washgington State that at the turn of the LAST century (1890 - 1910 or so) that the prevailing wisdom was that human beings could tame or ever conquer nature... does that seem to apply in the cities you reviewed?

Let's discuss

Now let's take a look at the Missississi River and do a bit of a webquest:

  • Find and sketch into your notes a map of the DRAINAGE area of the Mississippi River
  • "Mississippi" come from a native American term -- find that term and the Native American group/language it derives from
  • Find the average volume of water that flows through the Mississippi River --
    • every day
    • every year
  • Do a bit of research on historic flooding along the Mississippi River:
    • When was the flooding at its most profound?
    • Are there benefits of flooding?
    • Are there problems with flooding?
    • What roll did the Army Corp of Engineers have to do with flood control
    • Is the Mississippi River completely controlled today? (which is to say does it still flood?
      • When? How badly?
  • Evaluate the Mississippi River Estuary system today compared to how it existed in (about) 1850 or so.
    • How healthy is that estuary?
    • Here is a picture of the Mississippi Delta/Estuary system.
      • Work with your group to formulate questions/discussions/comments about what you see there:


STUDY HALL/Retake/Catchup (9:30 - 10:30)
SESSION #2 - Weather (10:30 - 11:30)

OPENING QUESTION: Review this image and be prepared to stand and lead a class conversation of the processes occuring there:



  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air Pressure
  • Energy Budget


Notice that the term of this session is "energy budget" -- how does that term apply to that image?

Do a quick sketch of the topography of Washington State from a side view (show the coast, the Olympic Mountains and other relevent features from west on the left to east on the right.

Indicate areas that get a lot precipitation (rain/snow)

Indicate dry areas

What does that tell us about the direction the wind usually blows?

How do you know?

What typically happens to warm/hot air?

What typically happens to cool/cold air?

Is moist air heavier or lighter (CAREFUL) than dry air?

How does that change things?

With that in mind, develop a BASIC model that explains these patterns:


LUNCH (11:45 - 12:15

CTE With Mr A, Mrs Smith and Mr Wolgemuth (12:15 - 12:45)

All three of us have backgrounds in Science and/or Technology-- give a listen

Please take a National Geographic/Scientific American/Smithsonian magazine from that back shelf.

Also, please be rather intentional this time and choose a magazine that you haven't chosen before -- if you usually review a Nat Geo, take a Scientific American or Smithsonian instead.

Find a picture OR an article that shows or discusses SOME SORT OF field in environmental science or somehow RELATED that you might enjoy actually doing for a job.

If you don't find anything THAT interesting, then find something that you might be able to read about for an hour or two (I won't have you do that though)

Break 12:45 - 1:15


(*) 10:00 AM depart GHHS for Nisqually

(*) 10:45 AM (or so) Arrive Nisqually

(*) 11:00 - 1:00 Boardwalk hike/ programs

(*) 1:00 - 1:20 lunch

(*) 1:20 Depart Nisqually

(*) 2:00 Arrive GHHS

(*) 2:00 - 3:00 Work on Nisqually Reflection

Session #3 - Human Resources #1 (1:15 - 2:00)

Opening Question: How many human beings are currently alive on planet Earth?

Learning Target: I will be able to list 3 main environmental factors that influence human populations

Words O' the Session:


Work O' the Session:

Now let me pose another question to you. What are 3 things that we as modern human beings absolutely, positively MUST have to survive!

Let's spend some time discussion your responses...

My grandmother was born in 1899 (in Seattle!!) and grew up in a mining town (Silverton) in the Cascade Mountains where her father was a miner.

The population of the entire Earth at her birth was approximately 1.75 billion people.... By the by, just how big is one billion?

Let's try this-- work with your groups and see how long it would take you to count to 1 billion if you counted 1 number every second and never took a break: <GO!>


Cleary 1 billion is a very, very big number.

By the time my grandmother was my age (56), the Earth's population had risen to 2.25 billion.

More importantly though, technology had gone from horse and buggy/railroad to the atomic bomb! That's a huge degree of change!

When I was born in 1961, the population of Planet Earth was approximately 3 billion. The current population of the Earth is estimated to be just over 7 billion.

Here's a graph of population growth:



Open your Chromie and do some research (this works best if you divide the task among your group members):

1) How much water does the average American use every day?

2) How much food does the average American consume every day?

3) How much energy does the average American consume every day?

4) How much land does the *average* American family home occupy?

Let's talk about those numbers. We'll need to understand things like kilowatt hours, calories, gallons and such!


Now let's have some fun with that. Grab a poster sheet or tear off a big sheet of butcher paper and do a sketch of the city of Gig Harbor

Here's your tasque o' the session:

1) How much land do we need?

* We'll need farms and room for livestock (cows, chickens and such)

* We'll need room for houses/apartments/stores/school

* We'll definitely need enough water

Work with your group to estimate.

We want our town to be as self-sufficient as we can.

That means our town MUST supply all the energy, water and food for all the citizens of that town along with a place to live.

Talk it up, do some planning first... then give it a go.


If time permits, let's pretend we are water engineers (yes, they do exist!) and our job is to quickly, easily and EFFICIENTLY supply the entire town (shown above) of Gig Harbor with fresh, drinkable water.


FOSSILS (2:00 - 3:00)