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Explore the Great Shellfish Bay

  • Before beginning work on the interactive, you may want to review these vocabulary terms.

  • Remember to share the information in the Help Section prior to starting the activity. Students can read and listen on-line, or you could print copies to read before, during, and after their work with this interactive.

  • Print the Explore the Great Shellfish Bay Teacher's Edition. This document is a key to and details the text the students will read.

  • In this interactive, site visitors navigate the Chesapeake Bay, observing it as if they were one of the first explorers in the area. As they move around the map, the story of what a typical explorer of this time may have observed here. By clicking on a bottony (a term in heraldry for a cross whose ends are formed by three buds or buttons), students can read a first-person account by an explorer, learn more about the area, and find out what has happened to that part of the Bay's ecosystem since the first explorers visited here.

  • To help students keep track of their progress as they explore the Bay, print and copy this organizer for their use.

  • You might find it helpful to print this map of the interactive for your own reference.

  • The name of the activity is taken from the Algonquian word that may have referred to the Bay. The term Chesapiooc (or alternately Chesepiook or Chesepiuk,) may have meant Great Shellfish Bay, although no records exist to prove or disprove this.

  • Please make sure that students realize that explorers observed this area well before the first colonists arrived at St. Mary's City in 1634. (For example, sixteenth century Spanish explorers may have been the first Europeans to explore parts of the Bay, which they called Bahia de Santa Maria [St. Mary's Bay]. Others claim that Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian explorer in the 1500s, was the first European to visit the Chesapeake. John Smith led an exploration from the Jamestown colony to the head of the Bay in 1608.)

  • The orientation of the map may seem peculiar to students. Its orientation is east-to-west (as opposed to a north-to-south orientation used on most maps today. This orientation mimics what explorers approaching the are by sea would have observed. You may want to compare this map with a current map of the Chesapeake region.

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