We want to help your child become a scientist in his or her own way through the use of problem-based inquiry and hands-on authentic learning activities. The educational resources referenced in the following sections can help students gain life skills in researching issues in a community, classifying information and identifying stakeholders within the context of the Chesapeake Bay or the estuary in your area. We encourage students to become active learners, giving them direct, hands-on experience. Our goal is to provide today’s students with the tools necessary to successfully transform into tomorrow’s leaders by actively engaging them in meaningful explorations of their own communities.

Encouraging elementary school age students to pursue their inherent curiosity about the natural world is an important goal for Expedition Chesapeake. Young children should be supported as they observe the world around them, document observations and ask questions about nature and the environment. Problem-based learning experiences that begin with a basic question or problem and involve hands-on activities are particularly effective for even the youngest learners. Parents can model basic skills of observation, questioning and documenting (by describing or drawing pictures) for young learners. There are a variety of science materials available on line at no cost to parents. For example, the resources provided in the following section for teachers in the elementary grades can be used for home-based learning as well.

Expedition Chesapeake engages middle school and high school students through educational modules that use a variety of teaching methods, from constructing and implementing experiments to collecting and analyzing data and conducting interviews with local residents. By participating in role-play experiences, students gain a greater understanding of the issues within their local communities as it pertains to the health and wellness of the watershed and its inhabitants. While the materials draw from actual events in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, they can be applied to similar circumstances in watersheds across the nation. Interested parents can access the educational modules by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. Access to the modules and all of the related supporting materials (over 400 pages of materials) can be downloaded at no cost.


For teachers in grades K-6, we have compiled a number of excellent resources to expand the learning experience for students well beyond viewing the giant screen film, Expedition Chesapeake, A Journey of Discovery. In recent years, many fine materials on water resources, watersheds, pollution and water conservation have been developed and tested in elementary grade classrooms. In many cases the relevant academic standards are identified in the instructional materials. A quick on-line search for lesson plans on water resources will result in a number of learning experiences for students in all of the elementary grades. The resources identified in the following compilation have been selected from various government agencies or public educational institutions and are available to teachers at no cost. In addition, all of the materials are readily available for printing or downloading to your computer. While we have carefully reviewed these materials for appropriateness in elementary classrooms, we are unable to endorse or verify the effectiveness of any of these materials.

Water Lesson Plans
Penn State, College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management
The lesson plans and publications on this site have been designed by and for teachers for actual use in classrooms or outdoors. They meet many of Pennsylvania's environmental and ecology education standards. Each lesson plan indicates subject matter, grade level and regional applicability.

Protecting Our Water Resources: Student Activities for the Classroom
This activity guide is intended for students in kindergarten through ninth grade to help them understand the definition of water pollution using the basic principles of science and mathematics. The activities focus on the four main types of water pollutants – sediments, nutrients, bacteria and toxins. All of the activities are “hands on” and each activity is divided by classroom level. Each of the activities is organized in the same way - detailing objectives, materials needed and background information.

Drinking Water & Ground Water Kids’ Stuff, For Teachers (Grades 4 – 8), Classroom Lessons (PDF Files)
This site provides a number of lesson plans, classroom activities and instructional games related to water and water resources. The materials are designed for use in upper elementary grades 4 – 8. The materials are provided by the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Drinking Water Activities for Students and Teachers
Resources that address a basic understanding of drinking water terms and the water cycle are available at this site. The materials are grouped by grade level and include some materials designed for middle school and high school students.

Explore Your Watershed, Rangers in the Classroom—Presentation Lesson Plan
National Park Service 
This National Park Service program, designed for fourth through sixth grades students, introduces the concept of a watershed. It provides a framework for understanding the local watershed and how human activity can impact the watershed.

For teachers in grades 7-10, the Expedition Chesapeake educational modules are aligned with the appropriate state academic standards and designed to meet needs of educators in middle school and high school classrooms. We aim to bring rich scientific class materials prepared for an interdisciplinary unit of study that can be used to build skills in other areas to include writing, public speaking, mathematics and social sciences.

We’ve designed these class resources with you and your students in mind. These tools can be used to meet the requirements of your state academic standards in science content in addition to select standards in reading, writing, speaking, mathematics and social sciences. All lessons are aligned to the academic standards of states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and likely meet the standards in states outside the watershed.

We’ve received feedback from current teachers and classroom practitioners within the watershed to determine which educational pieces work the best, and we’re confident that the modules will integrate well with any teacher’s curriculum. Expedition Chesapeake’s educational modules can be accessed at no cost and give teachers access to an incredible amount of resources (over 400 pages of materials) within a single location without the need for additional textbooks. These modules are designed to allow teachers to integrate content and skill development across the curriculum or used exclusively within the science curriculum—the choice is yours.

Expedition Chesapeake’s educational modules can be accessed at no cost and give teachers access to an incredible amount of resources (over 400 pages of materials) within a single location without the need for additional textbooks. These modules are designed to allow teachers to integrate content and skill development across the curriculum or used exclusively within the science curriculum—the choice is yours.


For teachers at all grade levels, particularly those who teach at schools located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Bay Backpack is an online resource that supports hands-on environmental learning. By providing educators with information about funding opportunities, field studies, and curriculum guides and lesson plans related to the Chesapeake Bay, Bay Backpack helps educators find the tools they need to give their students Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences, or MWEEs. Through MWEEs, students of all ages develop a sense of environmental ethics and stewardship that will be essential to the long-term sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay and will serve as the foundation of a lifelong relationship with the environment. Bay Backpack can be found at