Sharks - Keystone Species

40 min.

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Understand role of sharks in the ocean ecosystem

Big Idea

Sharks are critical to the ocean food chain and vital "keystone" species for the health of our oceans.

In building construction, the word "keystone" refers to a large stone that holds the entire structure in place and prevents the building from falling down.

In biology, a keystone species is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.

Pair fiction and non-fiction book about sharks to help students determine facts about sharks.

Fiction resource:

Misunderstood Shark : starring Shark!

Authors: Dyckman, Ame
Magoon, Scott - Illustrator

Title: Misunderstood Shark starring Shark! starring Shark!

Summary: Shark interrupts the filming of Underwater World With Bob, scattering the other creatures (and the audience), but he claims it is all a terrible misunderstanding--that he would never think of eating the fish, the squid, the audience...or Bob.

Non-fiction resource:

Please be nice to sharks : fascinating facts about the ocean's most misunderstood creatures

Authors:Weiss, Matt
Botelho, Daniel - Photographer

Title: Please be nice to sharks -fascinating facts about the ocean's most misunderstood creatures fascinating facts about the ocean's most misunderstood creatures

Summary:Introduces fifteen shark species, sharing information about their size, habitat, and behavior to show why people should be nice to them.

In Misunderstood Shark - a talking shark is interviewed by a jellyfish. The jellyfish interviewer "learns" about shark teeth, shark food, shark senses and that humans pose a real danger to sharks, not the other way around. The interviewer makes the mistake of hugging a shark (not recommended).

In Please Be Nice To Sharks -sad facts revealed that sharks have more to fear humans than the other way around. Scientists estimate that humans kill over 100 million sharks each year. There are many species of shark (with an estimate of 400+) - this book features several key species:

Whale Shark
Bamboo Shark
Hammerhead Shark
Tiger Shark
Shortfin Mako Shark
Blue Shark
Great White Shark
Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Nurse Shark
Caribbean Reef Shark
Wobbegong Sharks
Broadnose Seven Gill Shark
Lemon Shark
Bull Shark

And - Manta Rays (not a shark - but related because they both have cartilage and no bones!)

Watch- Galapagos by Darek Sepiolo. Encourage kids to identify animal they can recognize from the books! (magnificent footage includes diver in relation to whale shark, and more!)

Take the Wonder Quiz to find out how much your students have learned about sharks


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