image: tidal marsh.

A lesson plan for grades 9-12


As a former North Carolina Sea Grant – North Carolina Space Grant Graduate Research Fellow, Allie Best researched the tidal marshes of Hyde County, N.C. She focused on the habitat of swamp sparrows, which occupy the “high marsh,” an irregularly flooded marsh zone. As sea level rise accelerates, these marshes will migrate, shrink, or even disappear.

Based on her research, Best created a lesson plan for high school students that includes an interactive slideshow, map, worksheets, and more. The full lesson plan includes learning objectives and guiding notes for educators.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this lesson plan include the following biology and earth/

environmental sciences standards in the NC Standard Course of Study:

Lesson Summary

This lesson plan is for grades 9 through 12 and covers the importance of tidal marsh ecosystems, the threats they face, and potential strategies to protect these habitats and their species. The lesson plan includes an introductory video, a slideshow, interactive maps, and an assessment worksheet.


the full lesson plan

the pre-class video on the Danner Lab and the saltmarsh sparrow

the slideshow and story map

NOAA Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts

an interactive map of Hyde County

student worksheet

teacher worksheet

If you’ve taught this lesson or plan to do so, please let us know, using this form.



Allie Best on her study of saltmarsh sparrows

Coastwatch Classroom, lesson plans and resources for educators

Coastwatch on sea level rise and climate change

“Ice to Ocean: From the Sources of Sea Level Rise to the Coast of North Carolina” 


lead image credit: UNCW’s Danner Lab.

from the Spring 2024 issue