Learn about the Coral Reef ecosystem, and why some of its creatures are endangered.
- Students learn the components of a coral reef
- Students learn some causes of coral reef endangerment
- Students will model a micro paper reef ecosystem
Ellison Equipment Required
Ellison Prestige Pro
Ellison Prestige SpaceSaver
Original Ellison LetterMachine XL Ellison LetterMachine
Ellison RollModel Machine
Ellison Prestige Select
Ellison Dies Used
Ellison SureCut Die - Coral LG
Ellison SureCut Die - Fish, Tiny TY
Ellison SureCut Die - Fish #5 SM
Ellison SureCut Die - Starfish SM
Construction Paper, 12" x 18" - 50 Pack
Heavy-Duty Coated Paper Plates
Plastic Wrap (blue)
Images of Coral Reef Plants and Animals
Coral Reef Reference Books
SET UP AND PREPARE
Display images. As a group, locate various coral reefs on the map. Provide background information and discuss coral reef ecosystems before beginning the activity.
The coral reef is a balanced living system where its' thousands of plant and animal species depend upon each other. An ecosystem is all about relationships. The reefs themselves have been formed from coral. Living coral polyps, through budding or spawning and dead coral polyps in the form of shed limestone skeletons have both contributed to the development of the reefs. Every plant and animal plays a role in sustaining the reef. Some animals function at night, while others are active during the day. Each has a certain food that it eats, while some species function as someone’s food. Shelter is provided for many animals in this ocean habitat while some animals function as shelter themselves. The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia.
Coral reefs form in warm shallow waters. When waters are too warm, coral bleaching can occur. Coral bleaching is the loss of color. The higher water temperatures causing coral bleaching have been attributed to climate change. Ecosystems are about relationships. Stress on one species or component in the ecosystem can affect the entire ecosystem. Other factors threatening healthy coral reefs including; water pollution, careless collecting of coral specimens, and dredging off the coast.
|Some Coral Reef Animals|
|Clown Fish||Jellyfish||Sea Cow||Sponge|
1. Using a craft knife cut a 6" diameter opening in a heavy-duty coated paper plate for each student (Figure A).
| Figure A|
2. Cut an 8" square of blue plastic food wrap. With the paper plate sitting right side up, securely tape the plastic over the opening and cut off any excess plastic (Figure B).
| Figure B|
Set this plate, the front of the aquarium, aside.
3. Die-cut LG Coral, SM Fish and SM Shells from a variety of colors of construction paper. Each student should decorate the flat bottom of a second heavy-duty coated paper plate, sitting right side up, using the die-cuts as desired (Figure C).
| Figure C|
4. Provide each student with three 6" pieces of white thread.
5. Die-cut Tiny Fish from a variety of colors of construction paper. Tape one end of each piece of thread to a Tiny Fish (Figure D).
| Figure D|
Adhere a second Tiny Fish to the first, sandwiching the thread between the two.
6. Tape the other end of the three threads to the top lip of the paper plate varying the length and placement of the dangling Fish (Figure E).
| Figure E|
Trim off any excess thread.
7. Use glue or double-sided tape to adhere the rim of the front (with the opening) and the back (with the sea scene) together allowing the dangling Fish to swing freely between the two plates.
| Finished Sea Scape|