Reader's Digest World Presents The Living Edens Palau-Paradise of the Pacific
Aquatic Classroom


Palau, Paradise of the Pacific: Symbiosis: I'll Help You If You Help Me

Objectives of the Lesson
Background Information
Materials Needed For The Activity
Evaluation/Alternative Assessment
National Science Standards
Other Sites on Palau
Other Sites on Coral Reefs

Objectives of the Lesson:

At the completion of the lesson, the students will:

  1. Define the term symbiosis
  2. Identify three cases of symbiosis in The Living Edens: Palau
  3. Describe in an oral class discussion how symbiosis is important in the maintenance of the coral reef community


Background Information:

Symbiosis is an association between at least two organisms where each may benefit from the relationship. The Living Edens: Palau has a number of examples of symbiosis that will bring this concept to the classroom. There are scenes featuring clownfish and anemone, a crab with anemones, and a fish cleaning station. Each of these examples shows a relationship between two organisms where each party benefits. Most secondary level science textbooks have information on symbiosis.

Materials Needed For The Activity:

  1. Copy of The Living Edens: Palau program
  2. Science Journals and pencil/pen
  3. Other Living Edens programs such as Manu, Denali, Patagonia, and Namib.


  1. Ask students to think about a time when they helped someone and it ended up benefitting them as well. Have students write 2-3 paragraphs in their science journal and then discuss these examples.
  2. Introduce the concept of symbiosis. Ask students to research the word in the dictionary or other reference book.
  3. Inform students to be alert for examples of symbiosis in The Living Edens: Palau. Show the program.
  4. Ask students to write examples of symbiosis in the science journals.
  5. Review examples of symbiosis when the program is finished.

Evaluation/Alternative Assessment:

Hold a class discussion and ask students to identify examples of symbiosis in the program The Living Edens: Palau. Relate these examples to the students' personal experiences they shared at the beginning of class.

Ask students to view other Living Edens programs and identify symbiotic relationships. Discuss each of these examples. You may also have class presentations where students form groups for each of The Living Edens programs.

Ask groups of students to choose an organism (plant or animal may be easiest) and identify its needs. Then ask students to brainstorm other organisms which could exist symbiotically with the first organism (each organism's needs are met). (Students may make posters of their organism and its needs and 'travel' around room looking for another group's organism that might match up symbiotically; alternatively, students might create a matching game like Concentration and attempt to match symbiotic organisms, explaining the reasons for their choices.)

This lesson relates to the following National Science Standards:

-communicate scientific procedures and explanations

-develop understanding of regulation and behavior

-develop understanding 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.

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 jeopardize them.
Fisheye View
You'll find an excellent archive of video and still images of corals and fish at this site.

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