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Inquiry Images - Educator's Guide

Curriculum Integration

In a one computer classroom, you can use the Inquiry Images as a whole class guided inquiry activity. The images can also be used to generate discussion and debates on environmental issues. Some of the questions are open-ended. There are no right or wrong answers.


The can found in the marsh has living organisms on it. What should be done with this can? Should it be recycled? Should it be thrown back into the water?
Suggested answer(s): This is an open-ended question. The can is a habitat to the organisms that have attached themselves to the can. Removing the organisms from the can may harm them. The can is a pollutant and is unsightly.

Here is an aerial photograph of Middle Marsh. Do you think this photograph was taken at high tide or low tide?
Suggested answer(s): This is an open-ended question. This is a difficult question to answer without prior knowledge of what Middle Marsh may look like at low or high tide. Since sand bars are visible, one might assume that this photo was taken at low tide.

This is the root mass of a marsh plant. What do you think makes up this root mass?
Suggested answer(s): This root mass is made up of muds which contain silt deposits.

These sandbags are placed here to prevent erosion. How long do you think these sandbags can stay intact? What else might be done to protect these houses?
Suggested answer(s): This is an open-ended question. Sandbags may last one to two years. These houses could be protected by relocating them further away from the beach.

This is a photograph of a runnel. How do you think runnels form? What purpose do they serve?
Suggested answer(s): Runnels are formed after a storm event. A runnel provides a pathway for water to "drain out" away from the beach into the ocean. Runnels leave a distinct pattern on the beach.

How do you think these palmetto trees ended up on the beach?
Suggested answer(s): These palmettos are on an island that is migrating landward. Some time in the past, these trees stood in a maritime forest.

You are looking at a groin at the base of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. How has the groin affected the beach?
Suggested answer(s): The groin has cause erosion on the downdrift side of the groin.

This aerial photograph is of the spit at Cape Lookout. In which direction is sand being transported? Why do we see different colors in the water?
Suggested answer(s): Sand is being transported to the left in this photo. Different colors in the water are due to the ebb and flood waters in the inlet.

How do you think this escarpment formed?
Suggested answer(s):The sediments that form this escarpment are dredge spoil. The escarpment forms by the back and forth wave movement against a large dredge spoil mound. The top of the escarpment contains poorly sorted shells, sand, and armored mud balls.

Educator's Guide | Carolina Coastal Photojournal | The Shell Island Dilemma | Inquiry Images | Coastal Research Technology | Relocating A Lighthouse

Carolina Coastal Science

©1999, Alec M. Bodzin for the Science Junction, NC State University. All rights reserved.

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