Students will compare the basic needs of a human and a Pinelands fish (the Chain Pickerel).

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"Human and Pinelands Fish Needs" worksheet

In order to aid students in understanding why only certain organisms can live in a particular environment, a comparison can be made between human needs and the needs of aquatic organisms that live in the New Jersey Pinelands.

These needs represent the basic necessities for animal life: food, shelter, and water. Allow the students time to complete the worksheet entitled "Human and Pinelands Fish Needs".

The worksheet is designed to compare the vital needs of a human and a Pinelands fish called a Chain Pickerel. The Chain Pickerel is a common predatory fish found in Pinelands waters. Its diet consists largely of small fish. Worksheet results should show that some needs are the same and some are different. It becomes the task of the teacher to explain why such differences occur. All organisms must adapt to their environment, and these environmental variables create the special differences in organisms. Expand on this concept to explain why there are only certain kinds of plants and animals in the Pinelands water. Refer to the article "Pine Barrens Surface Water" for more information.


Check to see that the answers provided by the students are reasonable and accurate. Check the "compare" questions to make sure that the students understand the concept that the characteristics of a habitat, in this case Pinelands surface water, determine the organisms that can live there.


1. Research what types of plants and animals live in Pinelands water. Try to determine how these plants and animals have adapted to the acidic nature of Pinelands water.

2. Plan a trip to the Pinelands to investigate plant and animal life in the surface water. Use nets and screens to capture and study some common forms of animal life. Observe the different forms of plant life. Develop a data sheet to help the students record their observations. Addition equipment that you might consider bringing to make your experience more effective might include such items as shallow pans and clear jars, magnifying glasses or microscopes, plant and animal identification guides, proper clothing including boots suited for the marshy conditions you might encounter.

This lesson will introduce the students to the following vocabulary words:

adaptation, aquatic, habitat, niche.

This lesson covers the following New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards. Clicking on the standard number will take you to the complete text of the standard. You must use your browser's "BACK" button to return to this page from the linked Core Curriculum Standard pages.

Science standards:

5.1-All students will learn to identify systems of interacting components and understand how their interactions combine to produce the overall behavior of the system

5.2-All students will develop problem solving, decision making and inquiry skills reflected by formulating useable questions and hypotheses, planning experiments, conducting systematic observation, interpreting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating results.

5.6-All students will gain an understanding of the structure, characteristics, and basic needs of organisms.

5.7-All students will investigate the diversity of life.

5.10-All students will gain an understanding of the structure, dynamics, and geophysical systems of the earth.

5.12-All students will develop an understanding of the environment as a system of interdependent components affected by human activity and natural phenomena.

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