Sea Lion CSI is a hands-on program highlighting the investigative aspect of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Students work in small groups performing mock necropsies on 1/4-size sea lion models. Teams record their findings on data sheets and use that data to construct an explanation for their animal’s cause of death. Each team presents their findings then uses a key to determine the most likely cause of death of each model.

While actual necropsies are rarely so cut and dried, this activity helps students understand some of the challenges faced by marine mammals in a coastal environment while utilizing the science practices of asking questions, using models, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating and communicating information.

Sea Lion CSI is available as a kit. Rates are $20/day plus shipping. The Kit contains:

  • Five 1/4-size California sea lion models, each with a different set of symptoms,
  • A teacher packet containing copies of the lesson plan, student worksheets and the evaluation, and
  • A flash drive containing digital copies of all the materials.

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