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 > Technology   > Lessons and Activities  
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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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Rain Barrel Math Activity

Students will use math to determine the surface area of there roof, number of rain barrels that could be filled, and the average rainfall that can be collected to water a garden.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School
Keywords: development, stormwater, green development

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Chesapeake Exploration

NOAA’s Chesapeake Exploration is a new and innovative collection of online activities for middle and high school students that brings the science of the Chesapeake Bay to life. Chesapeake Exploration gives teachers and their students unprecedented access to lessons designed around real-time observational data from the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System. Inside a virtual classroom, Chesapeake Exploration guides students through an engaging investigative process that explores natural and human systems and cycles and the ways in which they interact throughout the Bay and its watershed. Teachers can create a unique online environment for their classrooms, including locking parameters such as date/time so all students use the same data sets and storing student answers online for easy grading. Using Chesapeake Exploration, students can (1) Query observational platforms throughout the Bay from their classroom or home; (2)Use National Geographic's Fieldscope to investigate the natural and human systems in the Bay's watershed and answer geospatial questions; and (3) Populate "dynamic worksheets" that ask them to think through scientific principles related to water quality and weather phenomena using current observation data.

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Data, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: weather, watershed, stormwater, habitat and niche, water quality, water testing, salinity, fish, Geography, Temperature

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Build-A-Pizza Box Solar Oven Activity

Check out this staight forward lesson, that can be adapted for all grade levels, on how to build a solar oven.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Early Learning, Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: water and energy conservation, green development

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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 Curriculum - Earth Science Module 3: Estuary & the Watershed

In this activity, students investigate the nature of watersheds and their relationship to the dynamic changes that occur in estuaries due to drainage and runoff. Students begin by examining the San Francisco Bay Estuarine Research Reserve and tracing the extent of the watershed using Google Earth. Then they identify possible sources of pollution and contamination along the major rivers that feed into the bay. Students also examine water quality data in the San Pablo region of the estuary and identify changes that occur due to a storm event. This activity has 4 parts: (1) Exploring the San Francisco Watershed; (2) What’s Upstream Comes Downstream; (3) Water Quality at the Mouth of a Watershed; and (4) Optional Extension: Mapping Your Local Watershed

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Data, Posters and Maps
Level(s): High School
Keywords: pollution, watershed, stormwater, water quality

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Stream Cleaner

Use different BMP practices to reduce the amount of pollution coming from farms and urban areas into the local stream. (Just click visitor when the site opens). An associated lesson plan and West Virginia standards correlations are available here: http://www.cacaponinstitute.org/PDF/Pollution%20Curriculum%20Lesson%20Plan.pdf

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): West Virginia
Keywords: pollution, non-point source, watershed, agriculture, development, forest, water quality

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Watershed Creator

Learn all about a watershed while creating one virtually. (Just click visitor on the page). An associated lesson plan for using this module with your class is available here: http://www.cacaponinstitute.org/PDF/Watershed%20Curriculum%20Lesson%20Plan.pdf

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia
Level(s): Middle School
Aligned with the following standard(s): West Virginia
Keywords: water cycle and movement, photosynthesis, ecosystem and biomes, forest

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Investigating Nutrient and Sediment Pollution

Students investigate the sources of nutrient and sediment pollution in a sub-watershed of the Chesapeake Bay. Students will be able to identify the sources of nutrient and sediment pollution in a watershed, read pie charts and relate them to geographic areas on a map, and consider the effects of different land uses on the watershed and estuary ecosystem

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: nitrogen and carbon cycle, pollution, watershed, sediment, soil and rocks, water quality, Nutrients and Eutorphication

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Dissolved Oxygen in the Chesapeake Bay

Students analyze how dissolved oxygen conditions change in the Chesapeake Bay over the course of the year and learn about the danger of low dissolved oxygen conditions to underwater habitats. Students will be able to understand how dissolved oxygen levels change throughout the Chesapeake Bay over the course of a year and identify factors and inputs affecting dissolved oxygen levels in the Chesapeake Bay.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: watershed, water quality, dissolved oxygen

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Changing Turbidity

Students explore the effects of turbidity on Chesapeake Bay ecosystems and learn about the driving forces behind high turbidity levels in Chesapeake Bay estuary waters. Students will be able to understand how turbidity varies by location, understand how turbidity changes over time, analyze graphs to understand the conditions affecting turbidity levels recorded at buoy monitoring stations throughout the Chesapeake Bay, and analyze student-input data on turbidity and compare the data to buoy monitoring data from NOAA

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: watershed, sediment, soil and rocks, water quality

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Changing Temperatures in the Estuary

Students consider how water temperature changes with different parameters by examining factors such as time, depth, and location in the estuary. Students compare their data to data from professional monitoring systems.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: watershed, stream study, water quality, water testing, Temperature

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Sharing Data in FieldScope

After participating in field study, students will return to the classroom and assess the collected data to produce the highest quality dataset. The class will then use the National Geographic FieldScope tool to upload the data in order to share their findings with the citizen science community.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: stream study, water quality, water testing, student action

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Collecting Data in the Field

Students measure water quality and document local conditions in the field in order to focus on parameters that can illustrate something about the health or degradation of a waterway. Students will be able to record water quality data for later analysis, take notes and other observational data on conditions in the ecosystem and reflect on local and regional environmental factors and how they might be affecting water quality and the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: stream study, water quality, water testing, student action

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Preparing for Field Investigation

Students consider what it means to be citizen scientists, learn how notes and photographs can enhance a field investigation, and review techniques for choosing and recording sampling locations.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Data
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: stream study, water quality, water testing, student action

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Pollution in the Watershed

In this activity, students are introduced to the role of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay as natural filters for sediment and nutrients that can negatively affect our waterways. Students use what they learn about land cover and human actions to predict where pollution might occur. Students will use National Geographic FieldScope mapping tools to explore the spatial distribution of wetland habitats throughout the watershed and predict areas where pollution will occur based on the surrounding land cover.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: pollution, wetland, watershed, water quality, Geography

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Take a Trip Down Your Tributary

In this activity, students work with National Geographic FieldScope to begin to build their identity as citizens of a vast and ecologically important watershed. Students will trace the tributary network path that connects their location to the Chesapeake Bay, adding key information to a watershed profile along the way.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: watershed, Geography

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: The Human Footprint in the Watershed

Students explore how humans have shaped the landscape in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Students work with map layers in the National Geographic's FieldScope tool to consider land development patterns and development trends over time, in order to investigate why people settled where they did.

Subject(s): Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Supplies
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: land use, watershed, development, Geography

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Define Your Watershed

Students work with National Geographic's FieldScope map layers and tools to delineate watersheds. Students will consider the scalability of watersheds and begin to think about watershed management.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia, Posters and Maps
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: watershed, Geography

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Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Activity: Investigating Water Flow Patterns

Students explore diverse landscapes and water flow paths by zooming in on specific areas of the watershed using National Geographic FieldScope. Students will be able to understand how the physical geography of a region affects water flow patterns and compare water flow patterns in diverse landscapes across the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Multimedia
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Keywords: water cycle and movement, watershed, Geography

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Leaf Pack Network Database

Student collected data from leaf pack experiments that assess stream health by using aquatic insects as their indicator species. Data is available for the Susquehanna, James and Patapsco Rivers.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities, Data
Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Keywords: stream study, water testing, wildlife

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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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Building the Basic PVC Wind Turbine Lesson

This lesson plan shows how to make a rugged and inexpensive classroom wind turbine that can be used for lab bench-based blade design experiments. While a few specialized parts are needed (a hub and DC motor), the rest of the components are easily found at most hardware stores.

Subject(s): Science, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): Middle School, High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): National Science Education
Keywords: water and energy conservation, green development, renewable resource

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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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A Scientific Cleanup Lesson

Students will learn about problems associated with litter and marine debris. They will design an experiment to investigate litter distribution, make predictions of litter distribution, and participate in a cleanup at the site. Based on the data students collect, they will make conclusions relating litter to the local ecosystem as well as human health and safety.

Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Type(s): Lessons and Activities
Level(s): High School
Aligned with the following standard(s): Virginia
Keywords: experiments and investigations, litter, trash and recycling, stream study, water quality

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