For Teachers

Meet the Scientist Program

We at CPI are passionate about engaging students to increase their knowledge of and interest in science.  Given the current times, we have started offering a free, virtual format so we can continue to do so.  Our Meet the Scientist program provides a custom experience for your classroom while addressing an educational standard of your choosing.  We have both premade content (see below) or can meet with you to discuss how we can serve your classroom most effectively.  We can create a video virtual field trip for you to show in your classroom, call in for a video Q&A, or a both!  Alternatively, we can video in to your classroom with more of a slideshow content.  Contact Rebecca ( for questions or to get started.

Content already available:

  • LAFS.68.WHST.1.2 – Video available that provides the content for an informative writing assignment relating to ephemeral wetlands, wetland-breeding amphibians, and longleaf pine forest.

  • SC.K.N.1.4 – Students complete an interactive tutorial called “Crawl on in, Let’s Draw!” housed on CPALMS database through which they learn about striped newts and creating visual representations.
  • Water Cycle (multiple standards) – Video available that discusses the water cycle at an ephemeral wetland.

Lesson Plans, PowerPoints, and Photos
Want to teach about ephemeral wetlands or wetland-breeding amphibians?  Many ecological topics can be taught within the context of ephemeral wetlands.  We have created several lesson plans with associated PowerPoint files that are housed on the CPALMS website.  Feel free to edit these PowerPoints and use the slides or photos for your teaching needs.

  • Exploring Florida Ecosystems (addresses SC.912.L.17.4 and SC.912.L.17.7) – slides and photographs of ephemeral wetlands, biotic and abiotic components of ephemeral wetland ecosystems, ecological processes, and descriptions of variation due to seasons, ecological succession, and climate change.
  • Who’s in My Burrow? (addresses SC.912.L.17.6) – slides and photographs of the longleaf pine sandhills ecosystem including descriptions of various interactions such as competition, predation, mutualism, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism.
  • Describing Populations of Frogs and Salamanders (addresses SC.912.N.1.6 and SC.912.L.17.1) – slides and photographs of ephemeral wetland-breeding amphibians and sampling methodology including discussion of observation and inference.


Need extra content to provide students to reinforce science concepts?  Rebecca has written the content for many science tutorials for Florida State University’s Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (FCR-STEM) program that are housed on CPALMS.  Below are links to some but we encourage you to browse the CPALMS website, too, for the many resources available there!


Interested in incorporating some real world applications to standards you are teaching in your classroom?  Florida State University’s Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (FCR-STEM) program, CPALMS, has developed some amazing Perspective videos to help teachers and students better understand our educational standards.  Here are a few videos created by CPALMS that focus on our ephemeral wetland research:

Data Analysis

Using data from actual research projects engages students in ways that non-contextual information cannot.  These data can be used to compare the differences in means (t-test), calculate diversity indices, and create graphs,  histograms and bar charts.   Use the links below to create a lesson plan that involves reading in content area, data analysis, and using empirical data to devise explanations.  For more information about data analysis methods, see the National Science Teachers Association has a nice publication called The Basics of Data Literacy.

  • Ephemeral Wetland Ecology – excerpt our Final Report “Management Strategies for Florida’s Ephemeral Ponds and Pond-Breeding Amphibians” that includes information about ephemeral wetland ecology and wetland-breeding amphibians
  • Methodology – excerpt our Final Report “Management Strategies for Florida’s Ephemeral Ponds and Pond-Breeding Amphibians” that describes methodology for the drift fence study from which data are provided.
  • Click here for Excel file of raw data and a summary table from our drift fence study of four wetlands in the Apalachicola National Forest.
  • R-fiddle – use the links below to access specially designed R-fiddle sites for analyzing data
    • Difference between means – In this example, we analyze whether the size of adult mole salamanders leaving a wetland (measured as snout to vent length) varied from one sampling year to the next.  If there is a statistical difference in size, as biologists we may want to conduct further experiments to test what variables may impact size.  Presumably, larger individuals are healthier so perhaps prey resources varied from year to year.  What other variables could influence size differences from one year to the next?  Some influences could be a result of sampling error or data analysis error.  For example, what if our drift fence had some holes that allowed smaller individuals to trespass and avoid capture?  What if we didn’t account for sex ratio and caught more males (larger) than females (smaller one year)?
    • Shannon Weiner Diversity Index – the drift fence study investigated four wetlands of varying sizes and hydroperiods (length of time an ephemeral wetland holds water).  One wetland (Pond 53) is only 0.02 acres in size whereas Pond 55 is 2.5 acres.  In conservation, we often think bigger is better.  But does the larger wetland have greater biodiversity?

Lesson Plans and Extension Activities

Lessons and activities that expand on our What Lives in the Wetland? field program.   Click on grade level below to see associated activities.  Most activities are linked to specific Florida or Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.

Preschool – Kindergarten Activities

Elementary-Aged Activities

Middle School

High School

All Ages