Developed by:  Catherine R. Ney
Subject:  Life Science
Unit:  Environment
Grades:  Middle grades:  4-8
Apapted from: Project Aquatic WILD

Effects of Netting Aquatic Wildlife

Objectives:
 1. To observe the effect of netting on aquatic wildlife.
 2. To describe the changes in netting technology from early to contemporary times.

Materials:
 - Various size nets 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, and  1/8 inch mesh (purchased from feed and seed store for potatoes etc.)
 - A 1# bag each of different seeds (sunflower, lima bean, pea, and popcorn) "equally" mixed per group
 - Screw on jar covers without the lids and rubber bands (4 per group)

Procedure:
 1. Before experiment, read John Himmelman's Ibis, true story of a humpback whale impinged in a net.
 2. Children work in groups of "four" to experiment with various size mesh in nets to determine which is "seed safe" (ie, seeds pass through the net without getting caught).  Students within a group, each select a different size net mesh.
 3. Students place the net over a jar cover rim, and attach the net to the rim with a rubber band.
 4. Each group experiments with the four-size mesh nets to determine which is "seed safe".
 5. Record the groups' results on a graph using the mesh size up and down the vertical axis, and the number of beans impinged in the net across on the horizontal axis.  (Option: 4-different colored markers can represent the four types of seeds.)

Discussion Questions:
 1. Discuss methods primitive man used to net fish. Compare their netting practices with the ones used today.
 2. Research "dolphin-free" tuna nets.  Debate whether fishermen's size net mesh should be controlled by law.
 3. Discuss how nets can adversely effect other aquatic wildlife such as sea turtles and birds.

Evaluation:
 1. Check each groups results for accuracy.
 2. Assess students' participation in discussion of netting practices.