STANDARDS

CCSS: 3.MD.C.7.B

TEKS: 3.6C

Big Help for Tiny Turtles

Volunteers save thousands of hatchlings to aid a species in trouble

Courtesy of Steve Ahern

Volunteers safely transport terrapin babies from nesting areas to their marsh homes.

Every summer, diamond-back terrapin mothers leave the safety of their marshy homes for a dangerous journey. They must travel to beaches to lay eggs. They face obstacles like busy roads and open storm drains. Then, after 8 to 12 weeks, the hatchlings must deal with the same dangers to get back to
the marsh.  

Diamondback terrapins live along the east coast of the United States. As the human population has boomed, the terrapin population has shrunk. In 2018, diamondbacks were listed as a threatened species. 

Every summer, diamondback terrapin mothers leave the safety of their marshy homes for a dangerous journey. They must travel to beaches to lay eggs. They face obstacles like busy roads and open storm drains. Then, after 8 to 12 weeks, the hatchlings must deal with the same dangers to get back to the marsh.  

Diamondback terrapins live along the east coast of the United States. As the human population has boomed, the terrapin population has shrunk. In 2018, diamondbacks were listed as a threatened species. 

Susan and Steve Ahern were already on the case. In 2009, they had founded the Sea Isle Terrapin Rescue in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. 

Their volunteers rescue hatchlings that fall into storm drains. They put up fencing on roads and patrol streets to help turtles cross safely. The volunteers also build nesting boxes so the turtles have a safe place to lay their eggs. 

In 2021, these boxes provided protection for 365 terrapin babies. Steve estimates that his organization has helped more than 3,000 diamondback terrapins over the past 10 years!

Susan and Steve Ahern were already on the case. In 2009, they had founded the Sea Isle Terrapin Rescue in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. 

Their volunteers rescue hatchlings that fall into storm drains. They put up fencing on roads and patrol streets to help turtles cross safely. The volunteers also build nesting boxes so the turtles have a safe place to lay their eggs. 

In 2021, these boxes provided protection for 365 terrapin babies. Steve estimates that his organization has helped more than 3,000 diamondback terrapins over the past 10 years!

Turtle Titles

Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins are all reptiles with bony shells, scales, and lungs that breathe air. All are cold-blooded and lay their eggs on land.

Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins are all reptiles with bony shells, scales, and lungs that breathe air. All are cold-blooded and lay their eggs on land.

Shutterstock.com

Turtles

Turtles spend most of their lives in water. They have flat shells and flippers for swimming.

Turtles

Turtles spend most of their lives in water. They have flat shells and flippers for swimming.

Shutterstock.com

Tortoises

Tortoises live on land. They have round shells and stumpy legs for walking.

Tortoises

Tortoises live on land. They have round shells and stumpy legs for walking.

Shutterstock.com 

Terrapins

These smaller critters live both on land and in water. They have webbed feet and claws.

Terrapins

These smaller critters live both on land and in water. They have webbed feet and claws.

Now You Try It

Use your knowledge of area to answer the questions.

Use your knowledge of area to answer the questions.

A. Say volunteers build a terrapin nesting box with a base that’s 3 inches wide and 9 inches long. Label these dimensions on the diagram of the box below.

B. What is the area of this nesting box base?

A. Say volunteers build a terrapin nesting box with a base that’s 3 inches wide and 9 inches long. Label these dimensions on the diagram of the box below.

B. What is the area of this nesting box base?

A volunteer sketches a plan for a nesting box that will be placed at a local beach. The new nesting box will have a base that is 12 inches long and 5 inches wide.   

What will be the area of the new nesting box’s base?

A volunteer sketches a plan for a nesting box that will be placed at a local beach. The new nesting box will have a base that is 12 inches long and 5 inches wide.   

What will be the area of the new nesting box’s base?

Below are the bases of two nesting boxes. Box 1 is 7 feet long and 3 feet wide. Box 2 is 3 feet greater in length  and 1 foot shorter in width than Box 1. 

Which nesting box base has the greater area? By how much?

Below are the bases of two nesting boxes. Box 1 is 7 feet long and 3 feet wide. Box 2 is 3 feet greater in length  and 1 foot shorter in width than Box 1. 

Which nesting box base has the greater area? By how much?

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