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 > Science   > Elementary School   > water quality  
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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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Turning the Tide on Trash: A Learning Guide on Marine Debris

Educators, parents, students, and researchers can use NOAA's “Turning the Tide on Trash” as they explore the serious impacts marine debris can have on wildlife, the environment, our well being, and our economy. This interdisciplinary guide can be used as a stand-alone teaching tool, or individual activities within the guide may be used to supplement work in other subject areas. Students searching for science fair projects can also adapt some of these lessons into research projects.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: litter, trash and recycling, restoration, water quality, wildlife, tides

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Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS) - Investigations

Scientists measure Bay water temperatures, turbidity (clearness of the water), and other "indicators" to monitor the health of the Chesapeake Bay. "Indicators" give us information about the quality of Bay waters. If you have ever wondered how muddy waters impact underwater plants in the Chesapeake, or how steamy summer temperatures affect water quality, explore the interactive investigations provided on this NOAA website. These short activities use real-time and stored data from the CBIBS to help you answer these and other water quality questions.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Multimedia, Data
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: weather, water quality

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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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The Water Sourcebook: Grade Level K-2

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): Early Learning, Elementary School
Keywords: water cycle and movement, watershed, stormwater, water and energy conservation, water quality, salinity, Drinking Water

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Groundwater Sourcebook

This source book contains 10 activities covering ground water issues.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: water cycle and movement, water quality

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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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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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Macroinbertebrate Identification

An interactive lesson that helps students identify benthic macroinvertebrates using key characteristics. It also emphasizes the special adaptations each has to its aquatic habitat and demonstrates how macroinvertebrates can be indicators of the health of the stream.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: adaptation, identification, water quality

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Earth's Freshwater: A Guide for Teaching Freshwater in Grades 3-8

This guide was developed to support teachers in teaching topics with real-world context, and provide them with the background to feel competent and comfortable when teaching about fresh water. It provides a solid introduction to fresh water in an accessible and reader-friendly manner. In addition to general information about fresh water, the guide includes numerous education features, such as teaching tips and student thinking, that help to connect the content to classroom practice.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Books and Publications
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: water cycle and movement, watershed, biodiversity, water quality, wildlife

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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: Virginia's Water Resources

Information about river basins, Virginia's water budget, and water quality and protection is provided in this packet. By completing the included lesson plan, students will be able to predict where water will flow in watersheds, describe drainage patterns in watersheds, and identify sources of pollution.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: pollution, watershed, water quality

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

The information provided in this packet helps students learn about what soil is, what soil horizons are, and some of the problems associated with soil (erosion, water clarity, etc). A lesson plan on how soil can filter water and another on how non-point source pollution can be prevented are included.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: non-point source, land use, development, erosion, sediment, soil and rocks, water quality

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Virginia's Natural Resource Education Guide: Virginia's Bay & Coastal Resources

In the lesson plans that accompany the literature included in this packet, students will observe that muddy water blocks sunlight. They will consider ways that soil might get into water and make inferences about its effects on underwater grasses, crabs, and other animals. They will also dramatize connections between the sun, the earth, and eelgrass; and between people on land and blue crabs in an eelgrass environment.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: water cycle and movement, watershed, water quality, water testing

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Understanding Salinity Lab Booklet

This informational booklet contains two activities focused on salinity 1) Measuring Salinity 2)Estuairne Layers.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): New York
Keywords: water quality, water testing, salinity

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Maryland Project WET Training and Curriculum Guide

After completion of a six hour training, educators are given a free Project WET curriculum and activity guide packed with 91 hands-on activities that cross many disciplines in the study of water and water resources - chemistry and physics, life science, earth systems, natural resource management, history and culture. During the workshop educators learn how to incorporate local issues into the lessons. Perfect for 4-H Youth Development, Scouts, and other youth organizations as well, the goal of Project WET is to facilitate and promote the awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources through the development and dissemination of classroom ready teaching aids.

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
Keywords: pollution, watershed, biodiversity, culture and watermen, ecosystem and biomes, water quality, wildlife

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Let's Take A Dip

is a virtual dip netting activity. Students get to "virtually" catch the kinds of organisms they might find when they really dip net. Students will make predictions, collect, organize and compare data and practice the principles of the scientific method.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: identification, water quality

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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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EPA Speakers Bureau

The EPA Speakers Bureau recruits regional employees to speak to academic institutions and professional organizations. The Environmental Education Office assists employees with their presentations by providing the necessary background, ideas, training and materials for their presentations. An effort to accommodate all requests is made. Therefore, please give the Bureau a 4 week lead time to arrange for a speaker. (contact 215-814-5541)

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: pollution, climate change, water and energy conservation, restoration, water quality

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Down the Drain

This Internet-based collaborative project will allow students to share information about water usage with other students from around the country and the world.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Multimedia
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: water and energy conservation, water quality, Drinking Water

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Clarity and Turbidity Lesson

Following completion of this lesson, the students will be able to: 1)Identify possible environmental complications that can be attributed to clarity and turbidity 2) Measure the clarity of a body of water.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): New York
Keywords: pollution, water quality, water testing

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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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Real World: NASA and the Chesapeake Bay

Learn how NASA uses Earth observing satellites to monitor conditions in the Chesapeake Bay over time. Information about pollution, eutrophication, land cover and watershed runoff helps water managers enact policies to improve the health of the Bay.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Multimedia
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: pollution, population growth, land use, watershed, water quality

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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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