Plankton Ecology

Grades 6-12


Application opens February 2018


Plankton; Phytoplankton vs. Zooplankton; Taxonomy; Adaptations; Design and Engineering




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Pier 84 Maritime Entertainment District


90 minutes

Through a microscopic analysis of river water samples, students examine the different physical traits that define plankton. Students then get to apply what they’ve learned to design and test their own plankton models.


  • Students will define plankton
  • Students will compare, contrast and categorize phytoplankton and zooplankton
  • Students will explore the different physical traits that phytoplankton and zooplankton have adapted to stay within the photic zone
  • Students will design and engineer plankton organisms out of basic craft materials
  • Students will use microscopes to see plankton up close and identify as phyto- or zooplankton

what teachers say about the program

  • "The program staff at Hudson River Park Trust is absolutely amazing and did an excellent job of teaching content as well as making the experience fun and engaging for everyone involved in the day's activities. We love the plankton building activity!" -8th Grade Teacher, Manhattan