NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher : Sea Turtles

Turtles Times Three

Whole Class Introduction to the Lesson

You will need at least one computer with Internet connectivity and a projection device, a classroom with more than one computer, or access to a computer lab.  This introduction will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Project the following video clips for the whole class. View them in order as listed.


Sample Questions:

  • What physical characteristics do you notice about the various turtles that you observe?
  • Describe the different ways that turtles move; how do they use their body parts to help them?
  • Compare and contrast the shells you see in the various species; how do they help each type of turtle to survive?


As part of the introduction, you may want to review some of the glossary terms in advance of students going online. At this point you can launch the WebLesson as whole-class activity using a projection device, or you can assign students to work individually or in teams in a computer lab.



Excellent (30 - 20)

An excellent student response meets all the project requirements and demonstrates that the student absorbed key lesson concepts and gave them thoughtful consideration. The response shows original thinking, creativity, and a strong sense of purpose. Ideas are organized and clearly articulated according to the proper conventions of writing (at this grade level).

Satisfactory (20 - 10)

A satisfactory student response meets most of the project requirements but overlooks one or more important elements. It reflects a general understanding of the key lesson concepts but shows little depth. The response shows little creativity or originality. Ideas are somewhat disorganized and difficult to follow, and there are numerous grammatical and mechanical errors.

Needs Improvement (10 - 0)

The student response is perfunctory, showing little or no effort. It is unclear if the student thought about or even read any of the lesson content. Ideas are scattered or off-topic. If possible, ask the student to revisit the lesson with a peer or mentor and then rewrite his or her response.


WebLesson Sites
Turtles are vertebrates that have been in existence for nearly 230 million years. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Some biologists estimate that there are approximately 245 turtle species.

They live in a wide variety of habitats including lakes, rivers, and swamps, oceans and land environments. They come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes. Their varying body designs allow them to traverse either dry rocky terrains, or zip through fast currents in the ocean, or lurk among the sea grass beds of brackish areas.
As you are learning about turtles, you will have an opportunity to help them by taking what you have learned and helping to educate others about the importance of preservation for the survival of these amazing creatures. Often, turtles are ignored or taken for granted; many people do not realize that they are a threatened animal.
Lesson Pages
Conclusion & Project
Many view turtles as slow, bulky, and unlikely to survive. You now know that turtles are not only built to survive, they are built to thrive.

Whether turtles that live on the land, in the sea, or in quiet gentle freshwater ponds, their bodies range in size, shape, color... all contributing to enhancing their success in their particular habitat.

Observing turtles in their natural habitat is an exciting opportunity. Next time you get to watch one in action, look for the characteristics that you have learned about in your study of turtles!
You have just finished learning about turtles. You have been hired by an aquatic research group to be in charge of teaching the public about sea turtle nesting and the importance of preserving and protecting their habitat. How would you go about doing this in a way that would reach as many people as possible? What are the most important points that you would stress? What facts can you include?
adaptation - An alteration or adjustment in structure or habits, passed down from parents, that improves an individual's ability to survive in its environment
artificial lighting - Light produced by human sources, such as street lights, lights on buildings, and car lights.
beak - The hard covering of the jaws, in turtles consisting of a single plate over each jaw surface.
brackish - Slightly salty, as is the mixture of river water and seawater that occurs at a river's mouth or in a salt marsh.
camouflage - Coloration or patterns that help conceal or disguise something
carapace - The top portion of a turtle's shell.
carnivore - An organism that primarily eats other animals.
clutch - A group of eggs laid at the same time by a single female.
dehydrate - Lose a large amount of water from the body.
ectotherm - An animal whose body temperature varies in accordance with the temperature of its surroundings (cold-blooded).
encroachment - Intruding on, as in humans moving into areas that had been habitat for animals.
endangered - At high risk of extinction.
flippers - The limbs of sea turtles are referred to as flippers, fore (front) and rear (back) flippers.
habitat degradation - Loss of usable living area for animals or plants due to human activity.
hatchling - The stage of life that includes the first several weeks after the turtle leaves its egg, makes its way to the surface, emerges from the sand and crawls to the sea, and begins to swim out into the ocean.
herbivore - An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
hydrodynamic - Having a shape that is easily moved through water.
incubation - The time it takes eggs to develop and be ready to hatch.
invertebrate - An animal with no backbone.
marine - Relating to the sea.
metabolism - The chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.
omnivore - An animal that eats both plants and animals.
plastron - The bottom portion of a turtle's shell.
predator - Any animal that hunts and eats other organisms.
prey - An animal that is hunted and killed by another for food.
reproduction - The act of producing offspring.
scale - The small overlapping plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles, including turtles.
scute - A horny plate that is part of the shell of a turtle.
sever - To separate suddenly.
sexual maturity - Fully developed, adult, old enough to breed.
siltation - The pollution of water by fine particles of silt or clay, often caused by erosion.
temperature dependent sex determination - When the sex of the offspring is determined by the environmental temperature
terrestrial - Relating to land.
thermoregulation - The control of body temperature.
toxin - Poison
traverse - Travel across or through.
vertebrate - An animal (including amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles) with a backbone.