Under Stress
Discuss with students if animals can feel stress.  What might cause stress for animals?  How would you know if an animal is stressed?  Could you measure the stress of an animal?  Why would it be important to know if an animal is stressed?
Objectives
  • Increase understanding of how marine organisms may serve as early indicators of pollution.
  • Provide an opportunity for students to use authentic research tasks.
  • Students can make connections between environmental health and water quality and the health of living organisms.
Materials
Headline of Washington Post:  Pollution, Algae Leave Chesapeake Life Gasping
Headline of The Sun: On Bay, 'dead water' surges

Procedure
1.  Discuss the following headlines with your students to access their prior understanding of the health of blue crabs and conditions in the Chesapeake Bay this past summer.

2. Give each student one of the articles to read.  See Lesson Resources or the articles can be found online at:

Headline of Washington Post:  Pollution, Algae Leave Chesapeake Life Gasping
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25784-2003Aug6.html

Headline of The Sun: On bay, 'dead water' surges
http://www.sunspot.net/news/local/bal-md.oxygen07aug07.story

3.  Discuss the readings with the students.  Use the following questions to guide the discussion: Define stress.
Why was this (past) summer particularly stressful for blue crabs?
What conditions cause stress for blue crabs?
What are the possible effects of stress on blue crabs?

References
Headline of Washington Post:  Pollution, Algae Leave Chesapeake Life Gasping
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25784-2003Aug6.html

Headline of The Sun: On Bay, 'dead water' surges
http://www.sunspot.net/news/local/bal-md.oxygen07aug07.story
State Standards
3.5.1- The student will analyze the relationships between biotic diversity and abiotic factors in environments and the resulting influence on ecosystems.
3.5.3- The student will investigate how natural and man-made changes in environmental conditions will affect individual organisms and the dynamics of populations.
Lesson Resources
Dead water article
Pollution article