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 > Mathematics   > National Science Education  
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What Affects Dead Zones Activity

Students will explore scenarios in real datasets to investigate how physics and biology interact to produce Dead Zones of various sizes and durations. Further questioning will challenge students to apply their new knowledge of Dead Zones to real life questions.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, habitat and niche, water quality, dissolved oxygen

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Curriculum - Life Science Module 1: Survival in an Estuary

In this activity, students investigate the range of conditions that selected animal and plant species need tosurvive in an estuary. They examine data for abiotic factors that affect life in estuaries—salinity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and pH. Students use archived data (trend analysis graphs) and real-time conditions at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) to predict whether a particular animal or plant species could survive in an estuary.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: ecosystem and biomes, water quality, salinity, dissolved oxygen

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Dead Zone Model Activity

Students will understand the biological processes associated with dead zones, as well as how human activities impact the severity of dead zones. Students will also collect and plot data and use scientific equipment. Students add fertilizer to pond, river, or estuary water and compare to a control treatment to simulate how algal blooms and dead zones occur in bodies of water.

Subject(s): Mathematics
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: pollution, experiments and investigations, water quality, water testing, dissolved oxygen

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Be the Particle Activity

This activity will show students how sea grasses are important in settling sediment and other particles suspended in the water.

Subject(s): Mathematics
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: aquatic grass SAV, sediment, soil and rocks

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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 Middle School Curriculum - Activity 3: Water Going Up, Water Going Down

In this activity, students will examine the effects of tides on estuaries, and look at real data to understand the effect on dissolved oxygen levels before and after a mouth closure. They will learn that both lunar tides and wind-driven seiches affect water levels in estuaries, that the movement of sediment at the mouth of an estuary will either open or close the estuary’s access to its lake or ocean, and that tides vary throughout the day from location to location. Students will also understand that lack of tidal flushing can cause water conditions in a lagoon to deteriorate and potentially harm aquatic life inside the estuary, that if an estuary mouth is unable to open naturally it is sometimes necessary to open the mouth artificially by dredging, that there is a distinction between global sea level trends and local sea level trends, and that sea levels provide an important key to understanding the impact of climate change on estuaries.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities, Data
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: climate change, tides

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Middle School Curriculum - Activity 2: Seasonal Swings

There is tremendous variability in the physical conditions between and within estuaries. Factors such as air and water temperature, water salinity, and dissolved oxygen can also vary seasonally at the same location. Students will learn about the NERRS System using an online map that has a brief description about each of the 28 Reserves. By comparing and contrasting specific data from two of those Reserves, students will come to understand that extreme air and water temperature differences found in the Reserve estuaries are related to their geographic location, particularly their latitudes relative to each other.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: dissolved oxygen, Geography, Temperature

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Middle School Curriculum - Activity 1: Where Rivers Meet the Sea

This activity contains 3 exercises, in which students are introduced to the Estuaries 101 Middle School program and website, take a short online quiz to check their initial estuary knowledge examine Mobile Bay as an example of an estuary, and practice identifying four different types of estuaries. In the second exercise, students study a world map to examine the global distribution of estuaries and examine global sea surface temperature map to learn about the effects of location on ocean water temperature and of ocean water temperature on water temperature within the connected estuaries. Finally, students will look at the entire NERR System by visiting Reserves using an online interactive map. Students will adopt and research a NERR site and present their findings to the class in the form of a travel brochure.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: watershed, Geography, Temperature

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Curriculum - Life Science Module 2: Nutrients in an Estuary

In this activity, students model estuaries, artificially enriching both fresh and salt water samples with different amounts of nutrients and observing the growth of algae over a several weeks. They relate their results to the phenomenon of algae blooms in estuaries. They then analyze data for different sites at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve(GTMNERR) in Florida to discover the relationships between nitrogen, chlorophyll, and dissolved oxygen. Finally, they study how nutrients cycle through an estuary and suggest recommendations for reducing nutrient inputs to estuary waters.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: nitrogen and carbon cycle, pollution, point source, non-point source, photosynthesis, development, stormwater, water quality, dissolved oxygen, Nutrients and Eutorphication

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

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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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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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Alternative Fuels Used in Transportation Activities

The projects included in this resource are designed to give students the opportunity to create their own investigation and test alternative fuels to discover how they influence transportation. The projects included will fit easily with regular classroom lessons surrounding scientific inquiry and the scientific method.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: air pollution and fossil fuels, water and energy conservation, transportation

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Think Green "What is in our Trash?" Lesson Plan

Students begin the lesson by examining items to determine what they are made of—glass, paper, plastic, or metal. Next, students collect data to determine what types of trash they produce at lunch time. After making a class graph of this information, students discuss what happens when trash is thrown away and discover four strategies for using resources wisely (reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover). After learning more about recycling by exploring the ThinkGreen website, students display their new learning on a mini poster. Finally, the lesson is extended to the home, where students analyze the trash they produce and brainstorm strategies for reducing the waste.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: litter, trash and recycling

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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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Nitrogen Footprint Calculator

Most people are aware of the dangers of releasing CO2 into the environment, but do your students know that it can be just as dangerous to release too much nitrogen? Humans use nitrogen through agriculture, energy use, resource consumption and more, but once it is lost, nitrogen can cascade through the environment and cause smog, acid rain, forest dieback, coastal “dead zones,” biodiversity loss, stratospheric ozone depletion and an enhanced greenhouse effect. The Nitrogen Footprint Calculator, created by the University of Maryland and University of Virginia, measures the amount of reactive nitrogen released to the environment as a result of human activities. Incorporate this free, online tool into high school lessons about the nitrogen cycle, eutrophication, human impacts on the environment, the Chesapeake Bay, and more.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: nitrogen and carbon cycle, acid rain, aquatic grass SAV, water quality, dissolved oxygen

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Think Green Lesson 3: Focus on Recycle/eCycle

This lesson focuses on recycling, with an emphasis on how recycling saves energy and the importance of e-cycling, commonly referred to as eCycling. Students will assess their current knowledge of recycling in the US, calculate the environmental impact of their personal recycling efforts, examine the life cycle of a cell phone and apply that life cycle to environmental decisions, and design an e-cycling plan for home and school electronics.

Subject(s): Mathematics, 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

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Save the Beach Activity

Students will compete with other teams to construct the best “barricade” that prevents sediment from spreading in a container during a “hurricane.” The components of the barricade will represent the parts of seagrass. Students will gain a better understand of the following ecological service provided by underwater grasses: underwater grasses help stabilize sediments.

Subject(s): Mathematics
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: aquatic grass SAV, sediment, soil and rocks

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What Does the Sun Give Us Guide (5 Activities)

Where does the energy to build, light, and heat our houses and schools come from? The sun has actually created almost all of the energy we use today. If we want to find more energy, we can look back to the sun itself. All the light and heat we feel is energy that we might be able to use. How much energy could the sun give us? How much would this energy cost us? How can we capture the energy and use it for our needs? This lesson has five experiments that will begin to answer these questions.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water and energy conservation, green development

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Exploring Solar Energy Teacher and Student Guides (7 Activities)

These seven activities are hands-on explorations that teach the scientific concepts of solar energy and photovoltaics.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: green development

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Energy From the Sun Teacher and Student Guides (7 Activities)

These hands-on explorations introduce the scientific concepts of solar energy to elementary students.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: green development

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