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 > Language Arts   > habitat and niche  
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Turtles in My Sandbox Book

Turtles in My Sandbox teaches kids why turtles might be laying eggs in sandboxes rather than on their usual nesting site—the beach –and what some children are doing to help conserve this reptile. The author Jennifer partnered with the Maryland State Department of Education, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, and Department of Natural Resources to create the website that accompanies this book.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Books and Publications
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Keywords: habitat and niche, restoration, wildlife

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Osprey Adventure Book

The heartwarming Osprey Adventure relays the way in which a boy and his biologist father save a large bird of prey from certain death. The tale is based on the work of real Bay hero, biologist Pete McGowan, who has studied these fish hawks for years and believes that most osprey nests unfortunately contain human trash that can be hazardous to the birds.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Books and Publications
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Keywords: habitat and niche, litter, trash and recycling, predator prey relationships, restoration, wildlife

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Baby Owl's Rescue Book

This book is a realistic fiction based on the remarkable work of regional expert Kathy Woods. The tale features a brother and sister duo and their wildlife rehabilitator mom who know just what to do when they find that a baby owl has fallen out of its nest.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Books and Publications
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Keywords: habitat and niche, restoration, wildlife

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Adopt A Tree Lesson

Students will discover the importance of trees by adopting a tree and observing the tree over several visits throughout the year. Students will observe the tree's seasonal changes, discover the life history of a tree, and witness a wide variety of birds, insects and mammals that live in trees.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: forest, habitat and niche, schoolyard habitat

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Surface Water Sourcebook

The Water Sourcebooks contain 324 activities for grades K-12 divided into four sections: K-2, 3-5, 5-8, and 9-12. Each section is divided into five chapters: Introduction to Water, Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment, Surface Water Resources, Ground Water Resources, and Wetlands and Coastal Waters. This environmental education program 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.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, water cycle and movement, wetland, watershed, stormwater, green development, habitat and niche, water quality, water testing, Drinking Water

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Seashell Homes Lesson

During this interdisciplinary lesson, students listen to a story about seashells, discuss shelled animals to gain scientific understanding and participate in a visual arts activity that reinforces the lesson's key concept that shells are made by certain marine animals called mollusks for shelter and protection.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: habitat and niche, wildlife

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Oceans for Life Videos

http://oceanslive.gso.uri.edu/ is a marine science portal that offers live video and special content to educate people of all ages about the ocean, including national marine sanctuaries. Learn more about oceanography, marine life, conservation and preservation, marine research technologies, and the nation's maritime heritage.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Multimedia
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: ecosystem and biomes, habitat and niche, wildlife

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Bay Dreaming Bookstore

Here's a site that lists various books about the Chesapeake Bay's history, conservation, travel destinations, etc.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Books and Publications
Level(s): High School
Keywords: water and energy conservation, habitat and niche, wildlife

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Green Eggs and Sand

Green Eggs and Sand is a Tri-State Horseshoe Crab/Shorebird Education Program. The curriculum, designed for middle and high schools students, was developed by coastal managers and teachers from Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. Teacher workshops are held on the spawning of the horseshoe crab, the interrelationships with other species and how management decisions are made. The first three curricular modules were designed so you can introduce your students to the lives of horseshoe crabs, their extraordinary history, ecological niche, and interrelationships with other species. The fourth and culminating module integrates all this information to prepare students to confront the multi-faceted challenge of managing horseshoe crabs, a natural resource. Parts of this curriculum may be used independently. Optional extension activities are included to increase your flexibility. The curriculum interdisciplinary with lessons that integrate one or more of the following subjects: history, science, language arts, reading, and math.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland, National Science Education
Keywords: food web, habitat and niche, predator prey relationships, restoration, wildlife

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Chesapeake Bay - An Introduction to an Ecosystem Guide

A comprehensive overview of the geology and waters of the Chesapeake Bay, biological communities, living resources and more.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Books and Publications
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: pollution, wetland, watershed, ecosystem and biomes, habitat and niche, restoration, water quality, wildlife

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Build-A-Horseshoe Crab Lesson

Following completion of this lesson, students will be able to: 1)identify and describe three main parts of a horseshoe crab 2)begin to know the history and habits of the horseshoe crab 3)state several reasons why horseshoe crabs are important 4)understand how to properly handle real horseshoe crabs.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: habitat and niche, identification, wildlife

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Bay and Pond Food Webs Lesson

Students will examine the food web of aquatic and estuarine ecosystems by acting out the Bay food web and diagramming the flow of energy through it. Students will also discuss the impact of pollution, loss of underwater grasses, and over-fishing on the Bay's animal resources.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: wetland, food web, habitat and niche, stream study, wildlife

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BayQuest: Exploring Ecosystems

Students will explore plants and animals in the Bay’s eight main habitats and determine the importance of various organisms on the Bay’s eight ecosystems.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: invasive species, food web, adaptation, biodiversity, ecosystem and biomes, habitat and niche, identification

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Stream Creatures: Clues to Stream Health Lesson

Students will investigate the relationship between the health of macroinvertbrates and the health of the streams. Students will study the adaptations of some macroinvertebrates that enable them to spend part or all of their life cycle in a stream ecosystem and observe the effects of erosion and other pollution on stream macroinvertebrates and infer pollution's effects on the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. Keywords: stream, water quality, habitat, macroinvertebrate, adaptation, pollution, erosion

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: habitat and niche, stream study, water quality, wildlife

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Native vs. Non-Native Species: Who Will Win Lesson

Students will explore the effects that human introduced non-native species have on estuarine ecosystems. Students will research non-native species that have caused problems in water and land habitats of the Chesapeake Bay, and classify them by habitat and by Kingdom. Students will then predict the percent of non-native plants in the schoolyard, identify plants, and classify them as native or non-native.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: invasive species, ecosystem and biomes, habitat and niche

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Bay-B-C's Guide

This booklet is a compilation of Bay related activities and lesson plans for K to 3rd grade students.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities, Books and Publications
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Keywords: pollution, wetland, watershed, habitat and niche, restoration, water quality, wildlife

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What's Dancing in the Water Lesson

Students will complete a comprehension activity using the “Watersheds and Wetlands” booklet from the PSU Cooperative Extension and spend time observing and journaling at a pond or stream.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Pennsylvania
Keywords: water cycle and movement, wetland, watershed, habitat and niche

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Your Own Freshwater Aquarium in the Classroom

Learn how to study aquatic ecosystems in your classroom by maintaining an in-classroom freshwater aquarium.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Pennsylvania
Keywords: experiments and investigations, habitat and niche, identification, stream study, water quality, fish, student action

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Fish Fact Rummy Lesson

Using cooperative learning, students will compare and contrast characteristics of Pennsylvania game fish environments.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Pennsylvania
Keywords: habitat and niche, wildlife, fish

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The South Atlantic Coast and Piedmont Book

This literary field guide for kids and families features the region’s natural heritage, from Maryland to Florida, and from the coast to the foothills of the Appalachians. The book’s stories, poems, essays, and historical accounts were specifically chosen because they feature the region’s habitats, plants, critters and weather.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Books and Publications
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: culture and watermen, ecosystem and biomes, forest, habitat and niche, wildlife, fish

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Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children Activity Guide

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Early Learning
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: ecosystem and biomes, habitat and niche, wildlife

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Stream Releaf Exemplar Unit - Forest Buffers

Students engage in the preparation phase of a student service learning project. Students learn about riparian forest buffers, and examine the importance of these buffers to their local community environment. Students use the information to create a riparian forest buffer checklist and evaluate a potential reforestation site. They decide if the class will replant the area as a student service learning project and, individually, write a letter to the local forester informing him/her about the decision.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: erosion, forest, habitat and niche, water quality

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Maryland Environmental Education ToolKit

This Environmental Education Toolkit provides grade-specific resources for PreK-8 teachers. The toolkit links you to lessons connected to Maryland State Standards. Topics cover a wide range of environmental subjects.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: pollution, water cycle and movement, climate change, population growth, wetland, land use, food web, watershed, agriculture, development, biodiversity, culture and watermen, ecosystem and biomes, experiments and investigations, habitat and niche, renewable resource, water quality, wildlife

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Restoring a Stream Lesson

Students will learn the practical steps needed to protect and restore the habitat at a local stream. Student will identify a local stream that needs protection or restoration and plan an action project to protect and restore the stream. Students will Use photos and journal records to document and share progress of restoration project.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: habitat and niche, restoration

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Project WILD Curriculum Guide

The Project WILD Curriculum Guide emphasizes aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecosystems. Each Project WILD Aquatic activity contains all the information needed to conduct that activity including objectives, method, background information, a list of materials needed, procedures, evaluation suggestions, recommended grade levels, subject areas, duration, group size, setting, and key terms.

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: adaptation, biodiversity, water and energy conservation, habitat and niche, predator prey relationships, schoolyard habitat, wildlife

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