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   > Curriculum Guide  
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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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EPA - Turning the Tide on Trash: Marine Debris Curriculum Guide

The three units in this learning guide are designed to increase students' awareness of the impacts of marine debris and teach them pollution prevention techniques. At the same time, the activities strive to inspire an appreciation of the ocean. This guide may be used as a stand-alone teaching tool or individual activities may be used to supplement work in other subject areas.

Subject(s): Art, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: pollution, water and energy conservation, litter, trash and recycling, tides

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Earth: Apple of our Eye Lesson

A demonstration of worldwide land distribution -- the instructor slices an apple to represent land used for farming.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: land use, agriculture

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Check Up Maryland Teacher's Guide

Check Up is a teacher's guide for grades 6-12 that provides teachers and students with information to enable them to identify and implement natural resources planning and management strategies that are both environmentally sensitive and economically sound. Students conduct natural resource assessments at their school and learn first hand how to better live in harmony with the natural environment by conserving energy and water, and reducing waste.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: water and energy conservation, litter, trash and recycling, renewable resource, restoration, schoolyard habitat

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Catch A Wave Curriculum Guide

Catch A Wave uses online real time data to guide student discovery of the causes and effects of ocean waves and tides. The Earth's oceans are in constant motion and through this project, students will discover the causes and effects of the movement of the water on the shoreline and humans. Students will use real time and archived data from the internet and monitor water height all over the country. Students are challenged to think critically and creatively about the effects of ocean waves and tides.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: water quality, water testing

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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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Eyes on the Bay Curriculum

These resources and lesson plans were developed to support science and environmental studies educators in integrating these topics within the regular curriculum when studying Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bays. The goal is to integrate student learning of science concepts with the use of technology and current scientific data. In this lesson series, the Eyes on the Bay website is used to gather information and interpret data. Each lesson can be used individually or as a complete package to teach water quality concepts. Educators may adapt any of the lessons to meet their specific needs. Lessons focus on salinity, dissolved oxygen, and harmful algal blooms and are aligned to Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum (Grades 6-8 & Grades 9-12).

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Maryland
Keywords: experiments and investigations, water quality, water testing, salinity, fish, dissolved oxygen, Geography, Temperature, Nutrients and Eutorphication

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"On the Air" Curriculum Units 1-7

The On the Air curriculum facilitates the understanding of air pollution by studying: Criteria Air Pollutants, the Air Quality Index, Ozone, Particulate Matter, the Health Effects of Air Pollution, Community Sources and Solutions of Air Pollution and Climate Change. Each unit consists of the following: activity description, curricular ties, time needed, learning objectives, materials needed (kit), teacher preparation, teacher background reading, teacher demonstration procedures, activity procedures, technology connections, student handout, student packets and student worksheets.

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): Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia
Keywords: climate change, acid rain, air pollution and fossil fuels

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Middle School Curriculum - Activity 4: Estuary Food Pyramid

In this activity, students will construct an example of a food pyramid for estuary organisms and examine this flow of energy. Students will understand that: (1) there are three major categories of living organisms in an ecosystem (producers, consumers, decomposers) and each has a special role; (2) the food energy produced by producers is cycled through the ecosystem through food chains and complex food webs by way of a series of energy levels called trophic levels; (3) energy is lost as it flows through the ecosystem. A food pyramid reflects fewer and fewer organisms at each level, supported by larger numbers of organisms at the trophic level just below; and (4) climate change has the potential for far reaching affects within marine food webs

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School
Keywords: climate change, food web, wildlife

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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 - Physical Science Module 2: Dissolved Oxygen in the Estuary

In this activity, students (grades 9-12) learn about dissolved oxygen(DO) and its effects on life, with a focus on the chemistry. First, they are introduced to, and analyze data gathered from, water quality sensors in Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), observing how DO and chlorophyll-a change from the surface to the bottom and considering the relationships between DO and temperature. Then, in the unique environment of Azevedo Pond in the Elkhorn Slough NERR, CA, they analyze DO data and speculate about how hydrodynamics, abiotic factors, and biological processes cause extreme fluctuations in DO in the pond.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: watershed, aquatic grass SAV, water quality, water testing, dissolved oxygen

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NOAA Estuaries 101 Curriculum - Physical Science Module 1: Chemistry in an Estuary

In this activity, students (grades 9-12)investigate water quality parameters to study the nature of, and the cyclical changes inherent in, the chemistry of estuarine water. Students study key water quality factors at several stations in a single reserve over time — current, daily, and yearly time scales. Students also compare water quality values over a yearly time scale in three different estuaries within NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR) —South Slough NERR, Oregon; Delaware NERR; and Old Woman Creek NERR, Ohio. Then students take water quality measurements at a site near them and compare their data to the water in the three geographically diverse NERR estuarine environments.

Subject(s): Science
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities, Data
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: watershed, water quality, water testing, salinity, dissolved oxygen

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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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The Water Sourcebook: Grade Level 9-12

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): High School
Keywords: water cycle and movement, acid rain, watershed, water and energy conservation, water quality, Drinking Water

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The Water Sourcebook: Grade Level 6-8

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): Middle School
Keywords: pollution, water cycle and movement, acid rain, wetland, watershed, stormwater, water and energy conservation, water quality, Geography, 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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Environmental Analysis of Watersheds: A Unit for Grades 9-12 Environmental Studies Classes

The Watershed Module is a unique opportunity for high school students to learn science and mathematics in a context of real-life environmental issues. The lessons integrate mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering, environmental science, computer science, and the social sciences in a series of exercises dealing with the environmental health of a watershed and its associated streams. The lessons are designed to provide an experience in evaluating impacts of human use on a watershed and its streams. The lessons range from work on the Internet using telemetry data downloaded from a satellite, to field exercises, to an environmental hearing on construction of a new sewage treatment plant.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Type(s): Curriculum Guide, Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): New York
Keywords: pollution, watershed, water quality

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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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