Beach Explorations:
A Curriculum for Grades 5-10

Vertical Zonation
(Optional, Grade 6 and Up)

The problem with the preceding methods is that there is no way to measure vertical height above a set point. Such transects can never be compared to each other. For example, if we have two different beaches, very different results would be obtained:

To make comparison, the slope (or vertical height) of the beach must be measured for each station. This information can be collected by one group of three students and used during the graphing of the data from different transects.

1 spirit level
1 "Gradient Data Sheet"
1 transect line (marked in meters)
1 clipboard
2 1x2-inch sticks, 1.5 meters long, divided into tenths of a meter, or simply use a tape measure on a stick.

  1. Stretch a transect line (rope or tape marked in meters) from the low tide zone to a location high on the shore. Set up stations equal distances along the transect line.
  2. Divide the class into teams of three or fours students. Each member of the team should be assigned one of the following tasks:
    a. Recorder. Takes down the data on the "Gradient Data Sheet."
    b. Surveyor. Holds the stick with the spirit level.
    c. Assistant. Hold the stick without the spirit level.
Preview Pages


overview of each chapter
page 13, 14

sample lesson, tidal pools
page 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189

sample lesson, adaptations of surf-dwelling rocky shore animals,
page 222, 223, 224, 225

sample lesson, vertical zonation,
page 202, 203