Idea for Use in the Classroom

Place students in small groups and have them analyze the infographic, The Mangrove Ecosystem, to better understand how mangroves act as an ocean’s nursery and as a barrier against coastal erosion. Have students visit the WWF website on Mangroves and select a mangrove ecosystem from the bottom of the page to learn more about. Through their research, have students identify where the mangrove ecosystem is located, biodiversity features, and the types and severity of threats to the ecosystem.

Introduce students to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as areas in the ocean that are being set aside as sanctuaries for the same reasons that parks are created on land: to protect habitats, organisms, and resources. Have students read The Importance of Marine Protected Areas and Marine park to learn how MPAs can have different rules for use, allowing people to use them in different ways, depending on an MPA's assigned level of protection.

After reading the two articles, have students return to their mangrove ecosystem and decide what type of MPA would help reduce the threats to the ecosystem. Then have students construct an evidence-based explanation to share the reasons why the plan would help support the health of their ecosystem using evidence from their research.



community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

evidence-based explanation

scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.


all related food chains in an ecosystem. Also called a food cycle.


type of tree or shrub with long, thick roots that grows in salty water.

marine protected area (MPA)

area of the ocean where a government has placed limits on human activity.

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