Wetlands: Race to Restore


Students are invited to discover earth science, life science, and engineering design through the lens of wetland ecosystems.

Students will connect with scientists from NOAA, The Water Institute of the Gulf, USGS, The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to learn about:

  • Wetland ecosystems and ecology, including ecosystem modeling
  • Physical and chemical properties of water
  • Storm buffering and natural water filtration
  • Economic activity supported by healthy wetlands
  • Geologic processes of erosion, deposition, and subsidence
  • Engineering challenges related to restoring wetland habitat
  • Scientific tools and techniques for monitoring change over time
  • Approaches to recognizing and preserving essential habitats

Appropriate Age Levels:
Innovatively designed to be appropriate for upper elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Rigorously aligned to national and state science standards as well as mathematics, social studies, and English language arts standards, and national curriculum standards, including NCTM, IB, and ISTE.

Students gain access to 3 unique missions, each comprising of written articles, labs, field assignments, interactive games, video, and animations.

Mission 1: Earth Science — Wetland Environments
Two Host Researchers will lead students on this Mission: geologist Rachel Sweeney, Fishery Biologist in the National Marine Fisheries Service at NOAA and wetland scientist Denise Reed, PhD., Chief Scientist at The Water Institute of the Gulf. This mission begins with investigating the mighty Mississippi River system. The Mississippi River not only drains almost half of the continental United States, but also holds the key to the formation of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. Students will join Reed and Sweeney to explore the basic processes by which rivers form wetlands and why Louisiana’s wetlands are slowly sinking.

Mission 2: Life Science — Wetland Ecosystems
Students will join Mark Schexnayder, Marine Biologist at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Jacoby Carter, Research Ecologist at the National Wetlands Research Center in USGS, to answer questions about Louisiana’s diverse wetland. Students will examine ways in which human activities affect Louisiana’s wetlands and the plants and animals living there, and discover how researchers are working to protect and preserve wetland environments.

Mission 3: Engineering Design — Wetland Restoration
Two representatives of Louisiana’s Coastal Planning and Restoration Authority (CPRA) — director Kyle Graham and civil engineer Kodi Guillory — will lead students on this mission to examine the challenges that wetland loss poses for all the inhabitants of Louisiana. Students will examine the effects of vanishing wetlands on the Louisiana region and the United States, identify the effects on industry, food supply, jobs, and the daily life and safety of residents of New Orleans and the entire Mississippi River delta, and discover how people with different interests are working together to restore wetlands through projects both large and small.

Teacher Support Materials:

Specially prepared teacher support materials to support each of the four missions in Tectonic Fury:

  • Pre and Post Tests
  • Data Sheets
  • Lesson Plans
  • A Special Teacher’s Edition
  • Web links and other tools


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Additional information


Base Product, Base + Advanced Certificate Add-On