Make your own free website on
Life Zones of the Rocky Shore
To introduce this section we began by discussing the four ecosystems found in Rhode Island, the salt pond, rocky shore, salt marsh and barrier beach.  For more information please see the wonderful site that the University of Rhode Island has put together.

Activities preceding a field trip to the rocky shore and barrier beach:

We divided the class into small groups and handed out index cards with vocabulary relating to the rocky shore written on the top.  At the local library students answered the following questions for each vocabulary word.

Independent Ocean Research
Answer the following questions for each item.

1. What does it look like?

2. Where is it found?

3. What does it eat?

Anyone who has the vocabulary word lighthouse needs to answer the following questions.

1. Where are lighthouses found?

2. What is the function of a lighthouse?

3. Find where Beavertail Lighthouse is located on Jamestown, RI.

Put your answers on the file cards.

After doing this research in the library students returned to class and shared their findings with each other.  This was a very successful activity.

We also used the printout found on the University of Rhode Island (Life Zones of the Rocky Shore) website to discuss and identify the flora and fauna found on the rocky shore.  This was a very good precursor to our field trip to the Jamestown and Colt State Park rocky shores.  After this discussion we then constructed a replica of the rocky shore life zones on the classroom wall.  Students worked in groups.  Each group was responsible for either drawing or finding pictures of the flora and fauna for their particular tidal zone.  This activity afforded an opportunity for students to discuss and analyze the material.

The main activity of the field trips to the rocky shore was the following handout.  We divided the students into groups and supplied them with buckets and plastic bags.

Scavenger Hunt
As you walk along the rocky shore and barrier beach, collect or observe as many of the following items as you can find.

1. limpet
2. rockweed
3. clam
4. crab (green, hermit or fiddler)
5. barnacle
6. oyster
7. quahog
8. mussel
9. bivalve (two-shelled)
10. eel grass
11. kelp
12. byssal thread
13. dog whelk
14. pyrite (fool's gold)
15. silver fish
16. sea star
17. mermaid's purse (egg case)
18. periwinkle

As you walk along the areas we visit, observe the different eco-system types and answer the following questions.

1. Make a list of man-made pollutants you can see are harmful to fragile eco-systems.

2. List ways in which the rocky shore is different from the barrier beach.  List ways in which the rocky shore is different from the salt marsh.

The most significant field trip of our summer science unit was a trip to Mystic Seaport Aquarium.  The work we had done during the course of the unit enabled our students to benefit from the many different exhibits. For more information on this wonderful resource please click on the following link Mystic Aquarium.

Rhode Island residents can refer to the following website when planning class field trips.

Back to Main Page