"Be Part of Something Big!" Curriculum

Illustration of girl along streamside with "Be Part of Something Big" written in the streamThis curriculum guide 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. It does not need to be conducted in any particular order; however, some activities do build on one another. Topics addressed include:

  • What is a watershed?
  • How do you identify your watershed?
  • How does water flows through the watershed?
  • How do nutrients impact the Chesapeake Bay?
  • What are the problems associated with excess nutrients?
  • Learn about streams and tributaries.
  • What are the chemical and biological characteristics of a stream?
  • How can you assess your local stream?
  • 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.

We hope that upon completion of the activities, students will be able to connect science concepts with their actions and that everyone will become active stewards of our watershed.

Thank you for taking the time to teach youth about our rivers, streams and Chesapeake Bay. It is an important part of our lives and heritage. So, get out there and Be Part of Something Big!

Click here to download the complete
Be Part of Something Big! Teacher's Guide
(PDF file - 3.7 MB)

or, click on the links below to download Be Part of Something Big! Teacher's Guide by topic.

  • Preparing for Streamside and Outdoor Activities - (.pdf file - 95 KB)
  • Be Part of Your Watershed - (.pdf file - 558 KB)
    Activity 1 - We're on the Map!
    Activity 2 - What is a Watershed?
  • Nature's Water Recycling Program and How People Change It - (.pdf file - 132 KB)
    Activity 3- Water Cycle Theater
  • Where Does the Rain Go? - (.pdf file - 36 KB)
    Activity 4 - Soak it Up!
    Activity 5 - Nature's Sponge
  • Too Much of A Good Thing - (.pdf file - 115 KB)
    Activity 6 - Algae Soup!
  • Helping Restore Our Stream: Streamside Activities - (.pdf file - 147 KB)
    Do's and Don'ts by the Stream
    Activity 7- Design Your Own Stream Study Kit
  • What's a Healthy Stream? - (.pdf file - 804 KB)
    Activity 8 - Portrait of Our Stream

    Task A: How Our Stream Measures Up
    Task B: Stream Temperature
    Task C: Stream pH
    Task D: Stream Banks and Bottoms
    Task E: The Bug Test
    Task F: Who Lives in the Stream?

  • Trash is Worse Than Ugly - (.pdf file - 88 KB)
    Activity 9 - Stream Clean Up
  • The Neighborhood and the Stream - (.pdf file - 335 KB)
    Activity 10 - Neighborhood Survey
  • Trees Are a Stream's Best Friend - (.pdf file - 188 KB)
    Activity 11 - Tree Planting
  • It's All Connected - (.pdf file - 323 KB)
    Activity 12 - Storm Drain Stenciling
  • Are YOU a Water Waster? - (.pdf file - 405 KB)
    Water Wonders
    Activity 13 - Water Use
  • Resources:

  • Local Environmental Education Resources - (.pdf file - 461 KB)
  • Online Environmental Education Resources - (.pdf file - 113 KB)
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    Environmental Literacy

    Environmental Literacy Correlations - Icon
    • Indicates that the program is now aligned with Marylandís new Environmental Literacy Standards!


    • Cindy Etgen
      Aquatic Resources Education Section Chief - Chesapeake and Coastal Service
      MD Department of Natural Resources
      580 Taylor Ave., E-2
      Annapolis, MD 21401