Exploring the HCP Wetland
Lesson Plan Continued
LESSON 2: Plant Scavenger Hunt
Grade Levels: 1st-4th grade
Objectives for the lesson:
-Basic definition of a wetland
-Understanding of some plants that live in wetlands
-To interpret the pocket wetland on Hudson Crossing Park property

Scavenger hunt sheets, (See Scavenger Hunt Page), Hand magnifying glasses, Colored pencils, and A couple of waders

Background Discussion:

Definition of a wetland: An area that is permanently, temporarily, or seasonally flooded with water which supports plant life that is adapted to living in soil saturated with water

-Many people used to destroy wetlands to build houses and for planting crops
-The U.S. discovered the importance of wetlands and started to pass laws to protect them
-there are 282 million acres of wetland in the U.S. that is almost 8x the size of New York!
-a lot of wetland is being destroyed each year.

Why do we care?
-wetlands help to prevent flooding
-they also help to clean our water
-they are also habitats to many animals and plants, some of which we will investigate in this lesson

Special features of the pocket wetland:
-it is a freshwater wetland (meaning it is not salty water like the ocean)
-it used to be connected to the other larger wetland across the play garden (walk over and show the students the other wetland)


1. Distribute scavenger hunt sheets to groups of two (depending on how many students there are this
number can vary)

2. Ask the students to look over their sheets and study the pictures of the plants

3. Then tell the students to walk around the edge of the wetland and try to identify as many plants that
match the pictures, when they find a match ask them to dry the plant they see in the wetland in the box
next to the picture of the plant

4. When students have found as many of the plants that they can pick a few of the plants to look at as a
group and discuss the special adaptations of the plants to living in water

a. Duckweed: look at with hand microscope

b. Look at a cross section of a cattail stem:

i. point out the single hair-like root
ii. point out the waxy the top of the plant is (to repel water)
iii. also how small and light it is (so it can float on the surface of the water)
i. see the aerenchyma (the air spaces that allow oxygen get to the roots of the cattail; usually plants
take in oxygen and distribute it to the leaves, the opposite in cattails because wetland soil has no
Concluding Questions:

1. What is something interesting you learned today?
2. What is one adaptation of a wetland plant to allow it to live in water?
3. What was your favorite wetland plant and why?

HCP Pocket Wetland Scavenger Hunt Worksheet
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