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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Bay Buffer Lesson

In this activity, students are introduced to the role of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay as natural filters for sediment and nutrients that can negatively affect our waterways. Students use what they learn about land cover and human actions to predict where pollution might occur.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Keywords: erosion, forest, restoration, sediment, soil and rocks, student action

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Curriculum - Physical Science Module 3: Human Impacts on Estuaries

In this activity, students make a model of a pollution spill that occurred at Bangs Lake, a tidal lake within the Grand Bay NERR in Mississippi, in April 2005, and measure water quality parameters in their model. Students then study the actual spill, analyzing various forms of data to determine the date of the spill and identify how the spill changed water quality parameters in the estuary during and after the spill. They speculate on how various life forms in the estuary were affected. Finally, students produce a timeline of the spill event with recommendations to the state Department of Environmental Quality about how to prevent large-scale pollution spills like this in the future.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, water quality, student action

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Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide, Second Edition

This “how-to” guide provides the basic steps needed to restore or create wildlife habitat on school grounds. It will take you and your students through each step of the process: planning, installing and sustaining a project. This is not a book about why schoolyard projects are important; this is a guide about how to make the best one for your site. It is also designed to engage students the completion of several tasks that will lead to establishing a schoolyard woodland, meadow or wetland.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: biodiversity, habitat and niche, restoration, schoolyard habitat, water quality, wildlife, student action

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Youth Action Guide for the Study and Stewardship of Community Riparian Areas

Holding onto the GREEN Zone is an Earth Science and life science curriculum with a focus on science inquiry and experiential learning. Using questioning, analysis,observation, and investigation,learners will enhance their knowledge of science, boost their critical thinking skills, learn the importance of preserving and restoring vital riparian ecosystems, and have fun. When young people become involved in investigating the GREEN Zone, they are better prepared to take action on local watershed issues now and in the future. They also gain the opportunity to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens and community members. Both a leader guide and a student action guide are provided. Correlations are provided to National Science Education Content Standards, NAAEE Excellence in Environmental Education—Guidelines for Learning, and 4-H Youth Development Guidelines.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, point source, non-point source, water cycle and movement, photosynthesis, wetland, land use, food web, adaptation, watershed, agriculture, development, stormwater, air pollution and fossil fuels, aquatic grass SAV, ecosystem and biomes, erosion, experiments and investigations, forest, habitat and niche, identification, sediment, soil and rocks, water quality, student action

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Sharing Data in FieldScope

After participating in field study, students will return to the classroom and assess the collected data to produce the highest quality dataset. The class will then use the National Geographic FieldScope tool to upload the data in order to share their findings with the citizen science community.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: stream study, water quality, water testing, student action

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Collecting Data in the Field

Students measure water quality and document local conditions in the field in order to focus on parameters that can illustrate something about the health or degradation of a waterway. Students will be able to record water quality data for later analysis, take notes and other observational data on conditions in the ecosystem and reflect on local and regional environmental factors and how they might be affecting water quality and the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: stream study, water quality, water testing, student action

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Preparing for Field Investigation

Students consider what it means to be citizen scientists, learn how notes and photographs can enhance a field investigation, and review techniques for choosing and recording sampling locations.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: stream study, water quality, water testing, student action

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Are You a River Keeper?

Learners will utilize fundamental techniques to determine the health of a local river. They will collect, compile, display and interpret their data. The students will focus on how water speed affects rates of erosion and deposition. They will focus on the history of, reasons for, and possible solutions to excessive deposition in the southern branch of the Muskegon River or waterway in their community. Through the writing and performing of a short theatrical activity, learners will summarize articles they have read to increase environmental awareness. Learners will become aware of global issues of clean water scarcity. Learners will investigate the many causes of river water pollution and relate them to their sources. Students will then identify four sectors of society and how each can be an agent for change. They will locate and write letters to public service, nonprofit organizations in support of water clarity. After presenting their findings to peers, students will distribute a self-designed pledge, requesting households to commit to positive change.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Middle School
Keywords: pollution, water and energy conservation, erosion, water quality, water testing, student action

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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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Gateways to Conservation Curriculum Guide (Grades 1-5)

Pickering Creek published this guide with the help of the National Park Service's Chesapeake Bay Gateways. Explore 183 pages full of hands-on learning activities and background information to help students and teachers explore the outdoors in conjunction with a nearby nature center, while gaining an understanding of their relationship with the Chesapeake Bay.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: pollution, water cycle and movement, wetland, land use, food web, watershed, agriculture, water and energy conservation, ecosystem and biomes, erosion, experiments and investigations, forest, habitat and niche, litter, trash and recycling, renewable resource, schoolyard habitat, stream study, water quality, water testing, wildlife, 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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Unlocking the Secrets of America’s Wetlands

This document provides an overview of the different types of wetlands, habitat and ecosystems, and laws and regulations.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Books and Publications
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: wetland, watershed, habitat and niche, water quality, student action

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Track Your Family's Water Usage

During this lesson, students will examine the amount of water their family uses on a typical Saturday, record the information in a Microsoft Office Excel 2007 template, analyze and compare their water usage to that of others in the class, and suggest three ways to conserve water.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: water and energy conservation, student action, Drinking Water

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Science Fair Central

This website from Discovery Education has a lot of great science fair project ideas for your students to browse through, or that you can re-design into a classroom lesson. It is also a great resource for teachers and administrators looking to plan a science fair.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): West Virginia
Keywords: experiments and investigations, student action

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Think Green Lesson 5: Don't Waste a Good Idea!

Students design a strategy to persuade a person, group or organization to implement a waste management strategy. Students will identify and practice persuasion techniques for an imaginary recycling scenario, summarize waste management responsibilities of several stakeholders, identify one waste in reverse idea that they would like to see implemented in their home, school or community, create an implementation plan for their idea, design a method to persuade the person, people or group that could turn their idea into a reality, and utilize data to support their persuasive argument.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: litter, trash and recycling, student action

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Build-a-Buoy with the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office helps a range of students, from elementary school through high school, build buoys to introduce them to concepts behind observational platforms, to help connect them with their local ecosystem, and to help track measurements in that ecosystem. For older students, this project can enhance outdoor experiences that build upon the NOAA Chesapeake Exploration curriculum or other data-driven meaningful watershed educational experiences, and the data collected by the buoy can be uploaded to the web on sites such as National Geographic FieldScope. Students as young as kindergarteners can learn basic principles of science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as marine navigation and observation, through Build-a-Buoy projects. They love this interactive, engaging activity. This is a great program for all age levels, be sure to check it out!

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: climate change, experiments and investigations, stream study, water quality, water testing, dissolved oxygen, student action

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Clean Water - It's the Law

In this lesson, students learn about local and national laws that regulate pollution created by individuals and businesses.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Keywords: pollution, non-point source, water quality, student action, Drinking Water

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Fish and Pollution

In this lesson, students identify what fish need to survive and learn about how human activity can change aquatic environments in ways that are detrimental to survival of fish and other aquatic animals.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Keywords: pollution, water quality, fish, student action

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Protect the Water

In this lesson, students will learn about the CWA and develop a list of goals to help keep local water clean and healthy. You may wish to conduct some additional research before teaching this lesson to learn about any state or local laws (such as setbacks or zoning) designed to help keep water clean. A good resource to start with is your state's Clean Marinas webpage.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Keywords: pollution, point source, water quality, student action

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Keep it Clean!

This lesson helps students make the connection between their own preference for clean environments and that of fish for clean environments.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): West Virginia
Keywords: pollution, ecosystem and biomes, litter, trash and recycling, student action

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The Chesapeake Bay and Me

Students will be able to distinguish between point and non point source pollutants, predict the outcome on the bay of continued unchecked use of non point source pollutants, generate a list of common sources of pollutants from their home, generate a list of alternatives to these pollutants, and write a proposal to their parents stating the benefits to themselves and the community on using these alternatives.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Pennsylvania
Keywords: pollution, point source, non-point source, student action

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Nutrients and the Bay

In this activity, students will be introduced to the Bay's watershed and related vocabulary, and then watch a series of five videos that show how these nutrients end up in the Bay and what people are proactively doing to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the Bay's water system.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: pollution, point source, non-point source, wetland, land use, agriculture, stormwater, erosion, litter, trash and recycling, restoration, stream study, water quality, student action

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Champs of the Chesapeake

Are your students Chesapeake Champs? They can find out by taking a “Bay-smarts” survey and discover how activities they do everyday can help the Bay and the environment. And, they’ll also explore what other student Champs have done to improve the environmental quality of the Bay.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: student action

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Project Action Guide

The Project Action Guide is a planning tool for teachers and administrators to help analyze and guide students through extended activities and long-term projects related to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The guide offers instructions organizing student teams, selecting a project, and teaching skills related to project success (keeping records, doing research, connecting with businesses, and promoting a project).

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: watershed, experiments and investigations, restoration, schoolyard habitat, student action

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