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 > National Science Education   > water cycle and movement  
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Watershed Puzzle

This can be used as a stand-alone manipulative that doesn’t require a presenter or as a ‘building block’ by a presenter who will expand upon the concepts introduced by this activity. Participants will learn what a watershed is. Participants will observe and manipulate pieces of a ‘watershed map puzzle’ with political boundaries superimposed upon it. Participants will think about how the ‘pieces’ – the counties, states, rivers, the ocean – included in the watershed are connected.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, land use, watershed

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Density Driven Currents Activity

This activity demonstrates density differences in ocean and coastal waters and how these differences drive currents.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, salinity

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Density and Dead Zones Activity

Students will understand the physical processes associated with dead zones, as well as the concepts of density and stratification. Students will also be challenged to think critically about a simple demonstration, and hypothesize about various outcomes of the demonstration.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, experiments and investigations, salinity, dissolved oxygen

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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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NOAA Estuaries 101 Curriculum - Earth Science Module 1: Observing Estuaries

In this activity, students (grades 9-12)investigate landforms and features associated with estuaries. They begin by taking a journey down a river to an estuary system where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) to investigate how landforms differ between uplands and riverine/estuarine environments. Student teams then use Google Earth and other resources to engage in a scavenger hunt to locate and identify landforms and features of estuaries.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, watershed

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Curriculum - Earth Science Module 2: Salinity and Tides in York River

In this activity, students learn about tides and salinity in estuaries. They observe time-lapse models of tides and salinity distribution in the York River, part of the Chesapeake Bay, VA NERR. Learn how salinity changes with an incoming and outgoing tide, observing the dynamics of the salt wedge at various sites along the river. Students also make predictions about the salinity changes at each site based upon their observations of the animation. They then use salinity data from monitoring stations along the river to see changes during a typical day. And, then describe the patterns of each salinity graph and compare the graphs.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, salinity, tides

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Global Water Supply: Elementary 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): Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, water and energy conservation, water quality, Drinking Water

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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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NOAA Ready, Set, Drift!:Coastal ocean currents lesson

Students will learn how navigators of ships and boats can predict and compensate for the effects of coastal ocean currents in this lesson. Learning objectives include: 1. Students will define and explain the terms set, drift, course over the ground, and speed over the ground. 2. Students will use online databases to recover specific data on water movement for selected geographic areas. 3. Students will use information about currents, winds, and tides to solve practical problems relevant to coastal navigation. 4. Students will demonstrate the use of a maneuvering board in solving problems involving ocean currents and navigation.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, transportation

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NOAA Motion in the Ocean Lesson: Ocean Currents and Waves

In this lesson, students will identify the primary causes for ocean currents and wave, explain how and why ocean currents vary with increasing latitude, explain the cause of the Coriolis effect, and how this effect influences ocean currents, and calculate the magnitude of ocean currents, given data from drifter studies. This lesson can be completed in one 45-minute class period, plus time for student research

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities, Data
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement

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NOAA The Moon Made Me Do It!: The Moon's Effect On Organisms

This lesson focuses on the effects that lunar cycles have on living organisms. The goals of this lesson are for students to be able to explain forces that cause and affect tides, discuss some of the effects in living organisms that have been attributed to lunar cycles, and explain in general terms how these effects might be produced, and describe investigations that could be done to determine whether lunar cycles affect specific phenomena in living organisms. This lesson can be completed in two or three 45-minute class periods, plus time outside of class for research and preparation.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, fish

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NOAA Ups and Downs: What Causes Tides Lesson

In this lesson students will explain and model, analyze variations in tidal patterns and water levels in selected areas, and infer and discuss some conditions that may have influenced these variations. Students will also be able to describe how tides affect our lives and explain the importance of monitoring tides. Part One of this lesson can be conducted in one or two 45-minute class periods. Part Two is planned for two or three 45-minute periods, plus time outside of class for research and preparation.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement

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Ocean Power Activity Guide

Ocean power is divided into three categories: wave energy, tidal energy, and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) Systems. It is estimated that two- to three-million megawatts of power could be produced on our world’s coastlines. The activities are: How can you put the energy of ocean tides to work? How does an OTEC plant work? Can water boil at room temperatures?AND Build a wave energy device

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water cycle and movement, green development

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Contaminants in the Water Cycle Lesson

Students will review the water cycle and investigate how a region's water supply can become contaminated. They will look at a list of the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant levels for drinking water, and sketch the water cycle of a fictitious town that is affected by several pollutants.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, water cycle and movement

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Can We Keep the Lake Clean Lesson

This lesson introduces students to the water cycle by having them help draw a picture of a lake ecosystem, adding human impacts that affect water quality. Students will help fill in the components of a drawing of a water system. They will conclude by creating their own illustrations of human-induced changes to the freshwater habitat of a lake ecosystem.

Subject(s): Art, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, water cycle and movement, water quality, water testing

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