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Lesson Plans on Watersheds, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Stormwater, the Water Cycle, etc.


EnviroScape teaching resources

Directions for model set-up and clean-up

EnviroScape water pollution lesson plan

Tips for model use


Our Water” suggested lesson plans, some with service-learning components

Grade Level




Aqua Bodies

Students consider how long humans can live without water. Students compare weights of dried and fresh food. Students trace their bodies and color portions to represent the amount of water their bodies contains.


Thirstin’ Builds an Aquifer
in a Cup

This class activity will have the students make an "Aquifer in a Cup" or "Aquifer on the Go". The students will learn how water is stored in an aquifer, how groundwater can become contaminated, and how this contamination ends up in a drinking water source.


Global Water

Not all drinking water comes from the same source. In this lesson, students will collect data on their household water use and calculate how many gallons of water a person uses per day.


Research Your Watershed

Students will take on research projects to learn more about their watershed and surrounding community.


School Yard Rain Garden

Students will work with the school administration and maintenance staff to design and implement a school-yard rain garden. The rain garden can eventually serve as an outdoor learning lab for younger students.


Hazardous Waste Disposal

While studying the effects of industrialization on the environment, students will launch a campaign to get other students to safely dispose of household hazardous products from their home.


Stormwater Savvy

Students will create a campus storm water policy to guide students, faculty, and the administration in adopting storm water-friendly behaviors while exploring chemistry and environmental concepts.


Websites with additional Lesson Plans on Watersheds, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Stormwater, the Water Cycle, etc.




Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA website with pdf version of The Water Sourcebook which includes lesson plans (K-12) on general water topics.


Great Lakes Information Network

Includes teaching plans tailored to meet Michigan education benchmarks.  Both free and purchasable lesson plans for specific grade levels in K-12 curriculum.  These are focused more on great lakes ecology and invasive species, not so much watershed specific.


Lower Grand Watershed Interactive Tool

The Lower Grand Watershed Interactive Tool (WIT) was created by the Annis Water Resources Institute, part of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.  Free lesson plans, great resource for teachers.


MDEQ– Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support (MEECS)

Curriculum units designed for the MEECS include units on air quality, ecosystems, energy resources, individuals’ impacts on the land and water quality.  Units are targeted to science and social studies for middle school students (Grades 4-9). 


Michigan Tech, Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences

Teaching units for grades 5-12 set to state benchmarks dealing with forest ecology.


Michigan.gov, History, Arts and Libraries

Michigan History Lesson Plans set to state benchmarks include
Lesson Plan – When Glaciers Covered Michigan


North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)

NAAEE’s links page provides numerous links to places offering free lesson plans related to environmental education.


Project Flow – Fisheries Learning on the Web

Offers a comprehensive curriculum about the Great Lakes ecosystem.  Lessons are geared to upper elementary and middle school students and align with state and national curriculum standards.  Lesson plans focus on the Food Web, Water and Fish. 


Project Webfoot: A Ducks Unlimited Wetlands Education Program

Offers a teachers kit of learning materials intended to “help bring the world of wetlands to life” for 4th-6th graders.  Curriculum materials are created with an interdisciplinary approach to learning and can be used for a variety of subjects including science, reading, art and social studies.


Project Wet

Website has a link to the Project Wet store with numerous educational materials for sale including teacher’s guides, student workbooks and water testing kits.  This project is in partnership with the “Healthy Water, Health People” website at (www.healthywater.org) and Tribal Waters, a program geared toward the Native American approach to water cycles.



For additional resources with background information and materials related to water education, click on these links.




Oral Presentation and Writing Prompts

A list of potential student presentation/project topics and writing prompts.

PDF document

Literature and Films

A list of suggested literature and films about water for various ages.

PDF document

Science Fair/Project Ideas

A list of potential student science project ideas.

PDF document

Cranbrook Institute of Science – Distance Learning, Virtual Fieldtrip

Using the latest, High Definition videoconferencing technology with chroma-key effects, Cranbrook Institute of Science brings quality science programs direct to your classroom!  Study your school's watershed using maps and other scientific tools. Students will gain appreciation for nature and our most precious resource, water, through this investigative program.


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Find your watershed and more information about it from the EPA



Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Watershed Academy Web”

Extensive modules on watersheds and their management.


MSU Extension – Water Quality Materials

Online tip sheet style publications dealing with septic tanks, maintenance dealing with exotic species, home water treatment, water conservation in home and yard, etc.


North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)

Great resource for all types of environmental education resources/materials/links.  The page linked to here provides links to numerous websites with water related educational materials.


Ohio Watershed Network – Virtual Fieldtrip

Leave your canoe in the garage and float down a virtual stream while you learn about watersheds, their components, their importance, and what you can do to protect them.  While this tour is set in Ohio, it provides a good overview of watersheds if you aren’t able to take your students on a boat.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Adopt Your Watershed: Educational Resources for Students and Youth

Information for teachers and students including video/interactive materials, resources by EPA and other federal agencies, other resources for students and teachers and top-rated water curriculum by others.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Nonpoint Source Pollution

Articles and Activities for Middle School Students.


United States Geologic Survey - USGS and Science Education

Selected online resources, including lessons, data, maps, and more to support teaching, learning, education (K-12), and college inquiry and research.


United States Geologic Survey - USGS Water Science for Schools

Does not contain lesson plans, but has many useful educational materials about water including access to maps, data, pictures and quizzes to test your water knowledge.





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