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Educational Programs

A description of each of our classroom programs is available below. To review our field trip offerings, please click here. To request an educational outreach presentation from a member of the MES Outreach Staff, please click here. The Port of Baltimore Environmental Education Teacher's Guide can be downloaded here.

Classroom Programs

How The Port of Baltimore Is Helping The Diamondback Terrapin

Turtle Recommended Age: Grade 3 and up
Curriculum Topics Covered:

Grade 3: 1.D.1.
Grade 4: 1.D.1., 2.A.2., 3.F.1., 6.B.
Grade 5: 1.D.1., 3.A.1.a.b., 6.B.2.b.
Grade 6: 3.F.1., 6.B.
Grade 7: 6.B.
Grade 8: 6.B.
Grade 9: 3.5.3.,
Grade 10: 3.5.3.,
Grade 11: 3.5.3.,
Grade 12: 3.5.3.,
Social Studies Grade 3: 3.A.1.c., 3.C.1., 4.B.1.b.

Length: 30 minutes
Required equipment: Computer and Projector

In this classroom presentation students will explore the relationship between the Maryland Port Administration, habitat restoration in Maryland and the diamondback terrapin by answering the question, “How did your shoes help create diamondback terrapin habitat?” The format for this program is an engaging PowerPoint presentation that guides students through the process of dredging and the restoration of Poplar Island. We can also give a presentation about the history and construction of our other Dredged Material Containment Facilities: Cox Creek, Hart-Miller Island, or Masonville.

Video Clips

Recommended Age: All Ages
Length: varied
Required equipment: Computer and Projector

  • Experience dredging from the equipment operator’s point of view in video clips of the actual dredging process taking place in the Chesapeake Bay.

  • In a USFWS video, students are introduced to the many other species living on or around Poplar Island including the state listed threatened least tern and endangered common tern.

  • See inside a diamondback terrapin nest as Ohio University researcher Dr. Willem Roosenburg uncovers a Poplar Island clutch and removes the eggs for data collection.

Hands-On Time With The Terrapins

Turtle Recommended Age: Grades 3 and above
Curriculum Topics Covered:

Grade 3: 3.A.1.d., 3.B.1.a.c., 4.A.1.b.
Grade 4: 3.A.1.a.b., 3.B.1.a.
Grade 5: 3.A.1.a., 3.B.1.a.
Grade 6: 3.B.1.a.

Length: 30 minutes
Required equipment: Running Water for Handwashing

We bring diamondback terrapins to your classroom for this activity. Students are divided up into small groups to allow time for one-on-one handling of the turtles.

  • Proper technique and safety precautions for handling reptiles.

  • Learn to read notch codes and use a table to identify each turtle.

  • Use scales and calipers to weigh and measure the terrapins and record the data in this STEM-based activity!

  • Learn how real scientists collect data, make observations, and follow the rest of scientific method.

Felt Board Storytelling: Dredging and Habitat Restoration

Recommended Age: Grades K-2
Curriculum Topics Covered:

Grade K: 6.B.1.
Grade 1: 6.B.1.
Grade 2: 3.F.b.

Length: 30 minutes

In this presentation students learn about the connection between dredging in the Chesapeake Bay and the restoration of Poplar Island, Hart-Miller Island, Masonville Cove, or Swan Creek Wetland through interactive felt board stories. In classroom presentations, videos can also be shown to reinforce the concepts of dredging and habitat creation.

Design a Diamondback

Turtle Recommended Age: Grade K-2
Curriculum Topics Covered:

Reading/Language Arts:
Grade K: 1.D.2., 2.A.1.b., 6.A.1.a., 6.A.2.C.e., 7.A.1.a., 7.A.2.a.b.
Grade 1: 1.D.2., 2.A.1.a., 6.A.1., 6.A.2.a.
Grade 2: 1.D.1., 6.A.1.
Science Grade
K: 1.D.1.c., 1.D.2.c., 3.A.1.
Grade 1: 1.D.1.c., 1.D.2.c., 3.A.1., 6.B.1.
Grade 2: 1.D.1.c., 1.D.2.c., 6.B.1.

Length: 30 minutes

In this popular activity students learn about turtle adaptations as they “design” a diamondback terrapin using a volunteer as a life-sized model. The entire class is involved as students read aloud adaptations from flashcards to build the terrapin piece by piece.

Students will explore:

  • Characteristics of turtles vs. other animals.

  • Adaptations of turtles in general.

  • Adaptations of diamondback terrapins.

Terrapin Show and Tell


Recommended Age: Grades K-2
Curriculum Topics Covered:

Grade K: 1.A.1.a.b.
Grade 1: 1.A.1.a.b., 6.B.1.c.
Grade 2: 1.A.1.a.b.

Length: 15 minutes

We bring diamondback terrapin hatchlings for this activity. Students are divided up into small groups to observe these small turtles and look for the adaptations that help the terrapins survive.
Note: students younger than 3rd grade may not touch the turtles.

Terrapin Travels

Turtle Recommended Age: Grades 3-5
Curriculum Topics Covered:

Grade 4: 3.F.
Grade 5: 6.B.1., 6.B.2.a.b.

Length: 30 minutes
Requires a large playing field (gym or playground)

Terrapin Travels is a life-sized board game that challenges students to survive as a diamondback terrapin. Students roll the die and travel block to block as they face challenges such as predation, habitat loss, and inclement weather.

Poplar Island Pop-up Book

Recommended Age: Grades Pre-K and K
Curriculum Topics Covered:

Grade Pre-K: 3.A.1.c.d.
Grade K: 3.A.1.a.c.d., 3.F.1.

Length: 15 minutes

The Poplar Island pop-up book takes the concepts of dredging and habitat restoration and explains them through large, colorful, moving pages of a storybook.

Wetland Parachute Activities

Parachute Activity
Recommended Age: Grades Pre-K-2
Length: 20 minutes (can be extended)
Requires a large playing field (gym or playground)

The Wetland Parachute provides students with the opportunity to learn about the different plants and animals living on Poplar Island, in the wetland habitat, and their special adaptations. Students will identify native Poplar species and then use the parachute to act out their unique adaptations in this hands-on and active learning experience.

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