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Sea Otter Savvy

Sea Otter Science And Community Outreach

Kelp Connection Activity: Do it Yourself!

The Kelp Connection activity in action!The Kelp Connection activity in action!

The Activity 

Be part of the kelp forest community! The kelp connection demonstrates organisms are interconnected. Students act as members of the kelp forest community, showing the important role sea otters play in keeping that web together.

The Kelp Connection cardsThe Kelp Connection cardsStudents are given cards with photos of various kelp forest animals including a sea otter, sea urchin, and one for the kelp forest. Give out lengths of cord to link each “animal” to the kelp forest. A cord also links the sea otter to the urchin. If the otter is removed, the urchin population can grow and wipe and destroy the kelp forest, creating an urchin barren. Have the student with the otter card drop their cord. What happens then? The urchin population can grow and destroy the kelp by eating it at the base. Have the student representing the kelp forest drop all the ends of their cords, which leaves the animals because the community is no longer there. Click here for a diagram that should help you visualize the web.

How to make it yourself 

Materials needed for kelp forest activity:

  • Photos of kelp forest residents (click here to use ours!)
  • Printer
  • Good quality printer paper or cardstock
  • Laminator (optional)
  • Hole puncher
  • Yarn, string, or light rope


Print out cards of various animals that use or live in kelp. If the cards are to be reused it is a good idea to laminate them. Alternatively, you can print them on cardstock, but they won't be as durable as the laminated cards.  Punch two holes at the upper side of each card. Run yarn through the holes and tie so the cards hang from the necks of the students like necklaces, with the photos facing out. Cut lengths of cord about 5 feet long. Cut enough so there is one for each “animal” and the kelp forest, plus one extra one for the link between the sea otter and kelp.

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