Teaching Resources

Teaching environmental issues in your classroom is a critical component of providing your students a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience. Discover a wealth Chesapeake Bay related books, multimedia, curriculum guides, individual lesson plans and online data sources.

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Resources > Social Studies   > land use  
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The Water Sourcebook: Grade Level 3-5

This environmental education program from the US EPA explains the water management cycle using a balanced approach showing how it affects all aspects of the environment.All activities contain hands-on investigations, fact sheets, reference materials, and a glossary of terms. Activities are organized by objectives, materials needed, background information, advance preparation, procedures, and resources. This resource is divided into five chapters: Introduction to Water, Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment, Surface Water Resources, Ground Water Resources, and Wetlands and Coastal Waters.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Keywords: pollution, water cycle and movement, acid rain, wetland, land use, watershed, water quality, Drinking Water

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The Good Old Days Lesson

In this lively simulation, U.S. presidents from 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950 and 2006 compare resource use, wealth, health, education and more with some interesting facts and symbols of quality of life. Students participate in a simulation game that illustrates the change in population and wealth in the United States from 1800-2006.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: population growth, land use, development, erosion

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Earth: Apple of our Eye Lesson

A demonstration of worldwide land distribution -- the instructor slices an apple to represent land used for farming.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: land use, agriculture

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A Teachers Guide to Delaware State Parks: Field Trips and Outreach Opportunities

Delaware State Parks are great places for students and teachers to explore nature and history. With 16 parks, five historic sites and many natural areas, Delaware State Parks offer you a comprehensive view of our state’s natural and historical heritage. This resource contains an overview of Delaware State Park field trip and outreach programs, as a printable PDF.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Delaware
Keywords: land use, watershed, wildlife, Outdoor Activity

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Decision Matrix

Teach your students how difficult it can be to be a city planner through this interactive online game. The provided link is for the lesson plan associated with this activity. The module itself is available via the following URL: http://www.cacaponinstitute.org/CILearning/DM/DM.html

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): West Virginia
Keywords: land use, development, green development

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: The Human Footprint in the Watershed

Students explore how humans have shaped the landscape in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Students work with map layers in the National Geographic's FieldScope tool to consider land development patterns and development trends over time, in order to investigate why people settled where they did.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Supplies
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: land use, watershed, development, Geography

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Virginia's Natural Resource Education Guide: Virginia's Public Policy & Environmental Management

Check out these great lesson plans! This information and activity packet discusses the environmental quality and pollution, and the management and public policies that seek to address them. Two lesson plans are also included. In the "Pollution Prevention Audit Activity," students predict types of waste produced and analyze ways to decrease it. In the "Sum of the Parts: From the James River to the Chesapeake Bay" lesson plan, students will map and collate different land uses in a simulation “puzzle” exercise that shows the cumulative effects of each land use on water quality.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: pollution, land use, watershed, air pollution and fossil fuels, litter, trash and recycling, renewable resource, water quality, economics

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Virginia's Natural Resource Education Guide: Open Space & Public Lands

In 1607, when the first European settlers landed on the coast of what would become the Commonwealth of Virginia, the natural resources they encountered appeared to be inexhaustible. In fact, it was almost 300 years before we realized that the natural treasures that made the New World so appealing were not limitless and had been carelessly used. This resource provides information related to the history, current status, and future of land conservation efforts in Virginia. A lesson plan on Invasive Species is also included.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: invasive species, population growth, land use, restoration

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Virginia's Natural Resource Education Guide: Virginia's Agricultural Resources

Students will learn the difference between colonial and modern farming practices in Virginia. They will look at data on farming income, harvesting dates and crop types.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: land use, agriculture, erosion, sediment, soil and rocks

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Global Water Supply: High School Curriculum

Stand-alone lesson plans are part of larger units that cover a broad scope of subjects including English, science and technology, and social sciences like geography, civics and economics. Classroom activities cover everything from poetry seminars and vocabulary-building worksheets to science and math lessons about potable water availability. Activities are aligned to national standards.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, land use, water and energy conservation, renewable resource, water quality, economics, Drinking Water

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Project Learning Tree Curriculum Guide

The Project Learning Tree Curriculum Guide is a collection of 96 hands-on interdisciplinary activities that bring the environment into your classroom. The guide is designed so you can use a single activity or many over the course of a quarter or school year. Each activity includes an overview, background content and a teachers' step-by-step guide. The guide's five main themes are diversity, interrelationships, systems, structure and scale, and patterns of change.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland, Virginia, New York, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware, National Science Education, Pennsylvania
Keywords: pollution, land use, watershed, air pollution and fossil fuels, biodiversity, forest

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Pennsylvania Land Choices - An Educational Guide

Pennsylvania Land Choices is a national recognized award winning educational program developed by the DCNR State Parks to provide professional development for teachers, conservation and community leaders to understand the role of the citizen and local communities in making decisions that benefit conservation and sustainable community character. The program connects social studies and science in the 6 – 12 grades through place-based service learning, conservation and local government. The activities provide inquiry-based opportunities and hand-on activities that encourage service learning for the benefit of students and their community. Lessons are aligned to the Pennsylvania state academic standards and feature SAS protocols.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Pennsylvania
Keywords: nitrogen and carbon cycle, pollution, non-point source, water cycle and movement, population growth, wetland, land use, watershed, agriculture, development, stormwater, air pollution and fossil fuels, water and energy conservation, erosion, green development, transportation, water quality, wildlife, economics, student action

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Where Do We Grow From Here

Where Do We Grow From Here, produced by the State of Maryland, is a teacher’s resource guide on growth and its impacts in Maryland. This package of resources and lesson plans was developed to support social studies and science teachers in integrating these topics within the regular curriculum. The guide includes a discussion of issues-based instruction; sample lesson plans; additional resource materials; and examples of action or service learning projects. It is accompanied by a website that contains the text of this guide, an electronic copy of Picture Maryland, as well as the data, maps, and other resources referenced in each lesson.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: pollution, population growth, land use, air pollution and fossil fuels, water and energy conservation, renewable resource, smart growth, student action

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"Be Part of Something Big!" Curriculum

This curriculum guide, produced by Maryland DNR, is designed for Grades 3-8 and provides educators and students the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences with water quality monitoring. This series of activities is designed to help your class or student group learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Topics addressed defining and identifying watersheds, the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary streams and rivers, problems associated with excess nutrients, chemical and biological characteristics of stream, and how to assess the health of a local stream. The curriculum guide also includes action strategies students can take to improve water quality in their local streams, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay such as trash clean ups, stream buffer plantings, and personal conservation measures.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: point source, non-point source, land use, watershed, water and energy conservation, habitat and niche, litter, trash and recycling, restoration, water quality, water testing, student action

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TEAM DNR

TEAM DNR is a volunteer program, organized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, that is dedicated to educating elementary and middle school students about the Chesapeake Bay and other natural resource issues in Maryland. TEAM DNR currently offers schools four different classroom programs and one outdoor program. Each program has pre and post visit activities to enhance the experience of your students. These programs are available upon request of the classroom teacher or school administrator.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: pollution, point source, non-point source, population growth, land use, watershed, oyster, culture and watermen, experiments and investigations, habitat and niche, predator prey relationships, restoration, stream study, water quality, water testing, wildlife, fish

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Website

Explore National Geographic's interactive online map of the Chesapeake Bay. Learn about land use by exploring real-time data and interactive map layers. Your class can also conduct stream studies and enter their data online to use some cool analysis tools, and to share data with other schools.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Multimedia, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: pollution, population growth, wetland, land use, watershed, agriculture, development, ecosystem and biomes, forest, water quality, water testing

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Captain John Smith's Map of the Chesapeake Bay Lesson

Students will learn how to interpret a primary sources, John Smith's map and excerpts from Smith's journal. They will then identify places on a map that show John Smith's routes and identify map elements. Keywords: John Smith, history, map

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: land use, John Smith and colonial times, Native American

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Captain John Smith 400 Project: Curriculum Guide

In conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Geographic Alliance, the Sultana Project has developed a curriculum unit based around the history of John Smith's 1608 voyage and the world of the early 17th century Chesapeake. The Captain John Smith Curriculum Unit consists of eight separate lesson plans designed for 4th and 5th grade students. The unit is aligned with goals and outcomes from the Maryland State Department of Education's voluntary state curriculum.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: population growth, land use, development, ecosystem and biomes, forest, John Smith and colonial times, Native American, renewable resource, water quality, wildlife

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A Changing Landscape Poster

This poster will show your students how Jamestown has changed over the years.

Subject(s): Social Studies
Type(s): Posters and Maps
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: land use, John Smith and colonial times

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NOAA Do You Have Change?: Coastal Change Analysis Lesson

In this lesson students will learn how scientists can monitor changes in the ways land is used in coastal areas. During the lesson, students will explain how satellite imagery can be used to monitor land use change, construct a change table to summarize land cover information, and use a change table to make inferences about land use changes in a coastal region.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities, Data
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: population growth, land use, development

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Waterways: Roads in the Water

In this lesson, students will create a model waterway and observe ways that they can modify the waterway to allow a boat to travel more easily along the water.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Keywords: boats, canoes and kayaks, land use, watershed, transportation

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Captain John Smith's Chesapeake Bay Lesson

Students will compare and contrast the Chesapeake bay of today verses the Chesapeake bay of John Smith's day. They will read excerpts from Smith's description of his exploration of the Bay and its rivers and analyze Smith's map of the Chesapeake.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: land use, watershed, culture and watermen, John Smith and colonial times

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Rivers: Lifelines of the Land

This lesson introduces students to river ecology and addresses the societal and environmental impacts associated with dams and their construction. By understanding dams and their effects on the environment, students will propose the construction or abolition of a dam in their hometown or other geographic area. They will think objectively and critically about real issues affecting the future of rivers.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: land use, development, water quality

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A River Runs Through It Lesson

Students will explore the impact land use can have on rivers by assessing the impact of a variety of land use scenarios on the health of an imaginary river. They will recommend changes that reduce the impact that each land use scenario has on the river and assess the impact of land use in their schoolyard.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: land use, watershed, development, stream study, water quality

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What's in your river?

By assembling a “river” from puzzle pieces, students will develop awareness of how people and wildlife use and depend on rivers; how actions within a river system can affect the entire system; and that people need to take action to maintain the vitality of river systems.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Keywords: pollution, non-point source, land use, watershed, development, stormwater, litter, trash and recycling, water quality

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