Maryland Streams – Teaching Resources
Lessons and tools for classroom and field study of streams
A complete investigation of stream health could include all of the below sections, and lead to a meaningful student action project. Any of the sections could also be done alone. A combination of classroom and field experiences should be part of a sustained program over time that includes time for student reflection, allowing them to focus on the question, problem, or issue.
Components of a “Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience” include background research and investigation, field experiences engaging them in making observations and collecting data, and syntheses and conclusions resulting from analysis of their data; followed by actions that address an issue, whether through on the ground projects or outreach within their community.
In October, teachers received a full day of professional development -- provided in four regional locations by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and numerous partner organizations -- and supported by the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Biologists and environmental education specialists led them through streamside activities: identifying stream-bottom aquatic insects, sampling chemical water quality, and observing conditions in the surrounding habitat. These features can be used to determine the health of the stream, including the amount of pollution or other ecological problems.
At the recent workshops, teachers also learned how to guide their students in entering their data and observations into National Geographic’s online mapping tool, FieldScope.
Learning continues into the classroom, as students will use the new Maryland FieldScope to help analyze their findings and compare it to that of others. Students will determine how conditions and activities in their school and surrounding community (i.e., their “schoolshed”) are affecting their stream, and devise an action project they can undertake this spring.