Paradise of the Pacific: Home Improvement: Building My Own Coral Reef
of the Lesson
Reference books for coral reefs
Materials Needed For The Activity
National Science Standards
Other Sites on Palau
Other Sites on Coral Reefs
of the Lesson:
At the completion
of the lesson the student will be able to :
Construct coral skeletons
similar to those found on Palau reefs
Create a miniature
Identify species of
corals found on Palau reefs using student models
- Identify types of coral
found on Palau reefs
Corals of the South Pacific
are the most varied and perhaps the most beautiful in the world. Coral
reef species found in the Caribbean Sea are less colorful and less
varied than those of Palau; however, Caribbean coral reef species
may also be created.
For advanced students,
scientific names can be used; other students may be more comfortable
with the common names.
South Pacific corals include:
Specific species can be
found in the reference books listed below.
Reference books for coral reefs:
Campbell, Andrew C. The
Wonderful World of Life In The Sea. New York: Hamlyn, 1978.
Kaplan, Eugene H. Coral
Reefs: Peterson Field Guides. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company,
Torchio, Menico. The
World Beneath The Sea. New York: Bounty Books.
Wood, Dr. Elizabeth M.
Corals Of The World. Neptune City, NJ: TFH Publications, 1983.
Needed For The Activity:
- A copy of The Living
Edens: Palau program
- Plaster of Paris
sufficient for the number of students in class (approximately
1 quart recommended)
- School Paint in a
variety of colors
- Modeling clay (various
colors) for younger students (optional)
- Coral Reef guidebooks
(From media center, public library, the Internet or the Palau
- Disposal area for
excess Plaster of Paris (Do not flush down drain)
- Paint brushes
- Space for drying
- Pencils/pens and
3 x 5 index cards
- Student science journals
- Paper clips for modeling
clay if used (optional)
- View The Living Edens:
Palau. Ask students to sketch select types of coral or take notes
on the corals they see while they view the program. Have the students
use field guides or other resources to learn more about one of
the corals they saw.
- Mix half total amount
of Plaster of Paris to a thick paste.
- Give each student
a palm-sized piece of the plaster. Each student should form Plaster
of Paris into a dome shape or dome with arms. Place on newspaper.
- With additional Plaster
of Paris (mixed to a thick paste), students will create coral
designs on dome shaped Plaster of Paris base. Use Palau program
or coral reference books for design and color.
- Dry Plaster of Paris
coral models on the newspaper for a few days.
- When Plaster of Paris
is dry, paint corals according to color guide.
- Write the name of
the coral (scientific or common name) on an index card. Obtain
these names from the reference books listed above.
- If using modeling
clay, have students form the coral models with the clay and use
paper clips to join corals in the coral reef.
Ask students to study
the coral models and the name tags attached to them. Remove the name
tags and have a contest in class to determine who is able to identify
the greatest number of corals in the model coral reef system.
Ask students to list all
of the corals they recognize in their student science journals and
submit for evaluation.
Using the Palau program,
ask students to diagram and discuss the reproductive cycle of corals.
Display the Palau coral
reef in a display case in your school.
Students may also organize
a "Save the Coral Reefs" project. This can be done by an
organizational meeting where students determine who will establish
the theme, collect relevant facts from different resources and evaluate
the condition of coral reefs around the world. Students can then publicize
the need for protection of the reef environment.
The lesson addresses these National
of structure and function in living systems
of diversity and adaptation of organisms
of populations and ecosystems
Other Sites on Palau:
Maps of Palau, supplied by the University of Texas
Republic of Palau, CIA Factbook
Look here for information on Palau's natural resources, government,
topography, climate, demographics, and economy.
Palau Visitors Authority
The official Palau tourism site supplies information about diving,
culture, history, and travel arrangements.
Beast of Eden
This Discovery Channel site focuses on the occupation of the Palauan
island Peleliu during World War II. Interviews with soldiers, video
clips, a slide show, and military history are featured.
Other Sites on Coral Reefs:
Reefs in Trouble
Mother Jones magazine sponsors this site on the world's endangered
reefs. Learn why reefs are so important and what types of human activity
You'll find an excellent archive of video and still images of corals
and fish at this site.