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Database Provider


Friends of Netarts Bay


4th, 5th, 6th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 8 minutes, 3 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Oregon Coast


YouTube Video

What Is an Estuary?

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  • This video gives students a great introduction to estuaries including what they are, where they are located, what animals live there, and their importance as habitat for many species.
  • Students can see the locations of some estuaries in Oregon, learn a number of new terms, and see a demonstration of density and salinity that can be replicated in the classroom.
Teaching Tips


  • This video does an excellent job of defining and explaining nearly every vocabulary term mentioned.
  • Younger students will enjoy the animated Belted Kingfisher that narrates the video.

Additional Prerequisites

  • English language learners or younger students may need some terms defined before watching the video, such as nutrients, high tide, low tide, sediment, adapt, dissolve, buoyancy, and transition.
  • This video may contain ads before or during the video.


  • Science classes can use this video for lessons about habitats, adaptations, and animal behaviors by making a chart of the animal adaptations and behaviors observed in the video for different seasons or conditions.
  • After watching the video, science classes studying properties of matter can conduct their own experiment with water density when different things (like salt) are dissolved into it.
  • After watching this video, social studies classes can use maps to determine the different rivers and streams that feed into estuaries on the Oregon coast or in another location near them.
  • Working in groups, students can construct a model of an estuary habitat using soil and sediment from outdoors and other found objects to represent the animals and plants.
  • English language learners or students who need more time for auditory processing can slow down the video playback speed and/or turn on the closed-captioning feature.
Scientist Notes
In this video, estuaries are introduced and an overview of what they are, why they are important, how they change over the year, and other basic information is explained. Information about the animals, particularly the fish that live in estuaries, are also discussed. Two examples of estuaries in Oregon are shown. Additionally, an experiment about density that can easily be done in class is demonstrated in the video. In the video description, links to other videos and resources are provided. The narration of the video is geared towards younger students, but the video does provide a good general overview of estuaries for any age. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
      • MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
      • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • 5-PS1-4. Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
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